Archive for October, 2017
Have HR attitudes and processes adjusted to the new reality?
Human services providers are currently experiencing a veritable workforce crisis with some agencies literally unable to find applicants, let alone to fill vacancies. Current outcomes are unsatisfactory and unlikely to improve without solving this workforce crisis.
Quality of care is unacceptable as incidents of theft, abuse and neglect are too frequent and often frighteningly severe. Medicare and Medicaid expenditures are unsustainable as the US debt now exceeds $20T with no end in sight. The 2016 NCI study indicates direct support staff average compensation is at $10.71 per hour, a below minimum wage in many jurisdictions.
Several states assert it is a full-blown workforce crisis. “A perfect economic storm of increasing demand, a shrinking workforce and low wages threatens the care of one in 10 Massachusetts residents who rely on human service providers…” Pennsylvania is facing a crisis because government funding for Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages has flatlined for 10 years.
You know that real estate markets cycle from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market and back again. So too the labor markets shift between an employer’s market to an applicant’s market. Given the industry claim of crisis, providers must rethink their attitudes and processes to cater to the applicant.
This workforce crisis is not the applicant’s problem. It is yours.
Workforce Crisis: You can’t train your way out of a bad hire
You can’t teach duck to hunt mice, and you can’t teach a turkey to be a Direct Support Professional.
OK. You are now targeting all labor pools with upgraded, effective messaging supplemented with great visual stimulation. And, you have dramatically increased applicant flow. And, you have a written recruiting plan that includes radio, print and online advertising, new events, job fairs, campus recruiting, structured referral programs, and other nifty innovations.
And, you have completely redesigned your applicant experience so that it is a fast, pleasant and effective experience. You have the applicant’s contact information and you have secured limited but critical information on the applicant. All done!
Not on your life.
If you are going to break the cycle of recruit, hire, train, fire, etc. you have to find a way to identify those applicants who are inherently well suited to direct support. Your “gut instinct” and unstructured interviews is no match for the inherent, subjective, well-documented human bias in selection. This is a foundational truth if you are ever to build a culture of purpose driven direct support.
You need the cost savings derived from a purpose driven direct support staff to cope with current and future financial restraints. You need reductions in the frequency and severity of incidents to meet your quality of care goals. You need purpose driven direct support to meet your customer satisfaction targets.
How is high tech affecting your applicant experience?
Every CEO is well advised to periodically apply for a direct support position at her agency. By “walking in the moccasins of your applicant” you will get a good sense of how difficult or how easy an applicant can navigate your process.
Many agencies, particularly the larger ones, have invested in high tech Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that are in fact counter-productive. They drive many applicants away; one authority reports a 60% abandon rate after three clicks.
Whether the applicant journey begins on a job board or at your website career page, and whether or not they are pushed through an ATS, your first objective is to get a job application completed. Big mistake!
Google states that “their client” in job search is the job applicant, not the employer. They will rank “good” applicant experience higher than poor experience. Perhaps more importantly, the best applicant experience will always yield the highest applicant flow, a critical component of selection success.
We developed an applicant experience audit to help you measure the applicant experience. Some of the many content considerations include the job description, the location of each specific job, transportation options for that location, specific compensation, motivational messaging and images, redundancies, irrelevancies, etc.
Some of the technical considerations include the number of required clicks, text boxes, question difficulty, time required, required interruptions to retrieve requested data, etc.
How much grief do you impose on an applicant for a relatively low paying job? How much grief does your process generate compared to McDonald’s or other competitors in your local labor market?
Get your Applicant Experience Audit to find out steps you can make sure your applicant experience is the best it can be and where you may be losing applicants and not even know it. The answers might surprise you!