Tampa Bay Business Journal Feature Article- People company keeps itself populated

LARGO — Hiring is almost constant at Bayshore Health & Homemaker Services.

It’s a fact of life in Florida’s highly competitive home care industry in which businesses draw from the same pool of potential employees, particularly the ranks of good certified nursing assistants.

A key to Bayshore’s growth is its strategy to reduce turnover and instill loyalty in its employees who are the faces of the company in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

“Recruiting is a constant thing for us,” said Suzanne Johnson, who with her brother Todd Atkinson, owns the company.

“It’s a challenge to build employee loyalty when there is so much competition. I think holding our employees to a higher standard helps rather than hurts.”

The company has five area offices. Its 200 employees include field nurses, home health aides and administrative staff.

Keeping it fresh

Bayshore integrated some new tools this past year to raise the level of hiring practices and reduce the turnover rate.

The company implemented lunch and learn programs to help with re-education, compliance and motivation. It put hiring decisions in the hands of managers, instituted an occupational assessment test for new management staff and now celebrates employee birthdays.

Some of the practices help create an appreciative and family atmosphere, which is natural since the company is family-owned. Bayshore’s turnover rate has dropped from around 50 percent to 35 percent.

Among the main sources of potential employees are the certified nursing assistant training programs offered by the American Red Cross, Johnson said.

The agency has one of the oldest, lowest-cost certified nursing assistant programs, according toPeggy Kirk, director of nurse assistant education in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough.

She has met with Bayshore’s owners and would recommend the company to students who might be looking for a job.

“They are a company that strives to provide better service,” Kirk said. “They’re a company I would be glad to work for.”

Bayshore also recruits from AARP retraining programs to find employees to provide clients with home companionship and services such as cooking.

The company offers homemaker/companion services, nurse advocate services, geriatric care management and home health care.

Home care is Bayshore’s largest market segment and consists of mainly private pay clients, Johnson said.

“We pick up where Medicare stops and allow people to age in place at home,” she said. “We are seeing more and more long-term care insurance.”

One thing Johnson believes sets Bayshore apart from most similar businesses is the company’s a staff of 10 full-time registered nurses to train and supervise the certified nursing assistants in the field.

Bringing the backgrounds

Johnson and her brother self-financed a buy-in into the business their parents started and then took over.

They are very “hands-on” in managing the company, she said.

Johnson has a business degree in management and marketing, and Atkinson has a degree in finance.

As owners, the partners can make company decisions quickly, which is an advantage, she said.

One of Bayshore’s biggest hurdles is understanding and complying with ever-changing regulations.

“We’re state-licensed so it seems there’s always a new set of hoops to jump through,” Johnson said. “ A lot of times this has involved high cost.”

The company’s greatest overhead is the cost of workers compensation and liability insurance, and Bayshore focuses on reducing compensation claims, she said.

Bayshore’s strategy keeps its book of business growing as does the area’s aging population. It makes the company a target for acquisition.

“We get offers all the time,” Johnson said.

What Others Are Saying About Bayshore Home Care

  • I was apprehensive about engaging a service here not being familiar with the companies and concerned about my wife’s care while I was away working but it has worked out beyond our expectations. We both felt 100% secure and confident that [our caregiver] would properly…

    Lorenzo P.

  • To our friends at Bayshore: Congratulations for being among the best Tampa Bay companies to work for! We are on the receiving end of your great company and very much appreciate the care you provide.

    Rebecca J.

  • There is just no way that I can express my appreciation for what you have done for my Aunt over the years. With me being out of state, I cannot tell you what a Godsend you all have been and how you have cared for…

    Barbara C.

  • I want to thank you for making it possible for my mother to live at her home. Your caregiver made sure my mother took her medication, got nourishment, and made sure she was safe and comfortable.

    John V.

  • I want to thank the staff of Bayshore for the fine service provided to my father over the past four years while he was in his home and then a resident in an assisted living facility. Everyone was very responsive to my requests and always…


  • Whether our residents need help with medications, bathing, companionship or just someone to lend a loving ear, the entire Bayshore team always responds promptly and has proved to us time and time again that they truly care.

    Senior Living Community
    Executive Director

  • Without Bayshore Home Care and the care and companionship they provided, I fear that my client would have been institutionalized. Your caregivers enabled my client to live in her home and enjoy a greatly enhanced quality of life as she was provided with the proper…

    Elder Law Atty.
    Pinellas County

  • Thank you so much for the caregivers you have provided for us. As you know, my husband had a very difficult post- operation period. I think that he has turned a corner now and is improving daily. The care that your staff provided made a…

    Janice M.

  • I really value the fact I do not have to worry about my mom while she is in your care. I also really value the socialization she is getting from your caregivers.

    Dean W.

  • The caregiver you sent us is a great communicator and provides a great loving environment for my Grandparents.

    Stacy M.