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!
One CEO complains, “We recruit, hire, train, fire, recruit, hire, train, fire, etc.” How can she break the cycle?” Another CEO says, “I’ll take her cycle, because I can’t even find applicants, let alone hire, train and fire.”
It has been observed, in conversations with many providers across the country, that the overwhelming majority of provider resources are concentrated on recruiting applicants through passive recruiting. Passive recruiting relies almost exclusively on processing applicants gleaned from job boards and the career page on the provider website.
Innovative providers are going to reallocate precious, limited resources to include proactive recruiting strategies, which will begin to target hidden labor pools, refine messaging, and utilize multiple media to get their message out to new audiences.
Proactive recruiting includes social network marketing as well as structured referral programs, special events, campus recruiting, job fairs, open houses, online, radio, and print advertising, etc. Proactive recruiting should be continuous, should be tracked, and may require adding new skill sets in HR.
One provider followed this Rx and increased applicant flow over 300% and observed a higher quality labor pool as well.
Direct support professionals (DSPs) make big sacrifices and put their heart and soul into taking care of people. Here is a letter to the editor that was recently posted on Marshall Independent from a direct support professional (DSP) who works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Download Your Free Case Study: Thriving in a Healthcare Drought
The story of how a California provider managed to cut costs and increase quality as healthcare resources dissipate by implementing new innovative industry research findings.
Any provider that expects to survive and thrive in the future, must ACT NOW to proactively reinvent itself. Implementing these research findings is a practical, established action plan available now to enlightened agency leadership.
Download and read this case study to discover how this California provider:
Drastically cut workers comp premiums
Reduced unemployment insurance costs by 31.6%
Generated over $268,000 in annual savings for workers comp and unemployment insurance combined
Increased hourly compensation for direct support staff competitive with Walmart
Discovered two statistically distinct direct support roles
Cut turnover through improved recruiting and selection processes
CARSON CITY, NV, January 17th, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — An innovative staffing process reduced workers compensation premiums by 45 percent and cut unemployment insured costs by nearly 32 percent for a human-services provider in California. Even better: Consumers and their families raved about the improvement in the caliber of the agency’s direct support staff and the enhanced quality of care the staff provided.
The nonprofit provider in 2011 introduced an applicant pre-screening survey based on five years of industry research. The study identified the measurable traits shared by top performers in direct-support positions, explains Leo Petrini, co-founder of talintel. Talintel used the data to develop an online survey for potential applicants who are scored on the degree that their personal traits match those of top performers in direct support.
“HR professionals have long recognized that applicants whose personal characteristics closely fit the requirements of a direct-support position are more likely to succeed and deliver excellent support,” says Petrini.
Quality of care and reduced costs are even more critical as outcomes-based reimbursements become the dominant model in human-services. The California provider experience shows that agencies can control staffing costs AND improve the quality of care. The agency, which employs more than 200 direct-support staff, experienced dramatically reduced turnover after it began using the talintel system.
Combined savings in unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation premiums totaled more than $268,000 for the agency in 2015. The agency invested a major portion of the savings into raises for its direct-support staff, helping to reduce compensation-related turnover and to enhance their competitive position in the local labor market. Other savings include the optimization of training investments and improved efficiency in recruiting when HR can focus on the most promising applicants.
Petrini, an experienced management consultant who has been focused on the use of psychometric research in employee-selection systems, spearheaded the research study that led directly to the development of talintel. The study involved over 1,000 participants as well as academic researchers from University of Minnesota, University of Nevada and Baylor University.
“The opportunity to enhance the efficiency of staff recruitment while dramatically reducing costs and improving consumer experience in the human-services profession has become my passion,” says Petrini. “And now we are seeing the impact of our research on the visionary agencies that were among the first to implement its findings and see its benefits.”
Contact: Leo Petrini
Contact Title: President, talintel inc.
Tel.: (775) 267-9868
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Leo Petrini at (775) 267-9868, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: You can also download the case study that tells the story of how the California provider managed to cut costs and increase quality as healthcare resources dissipate by implementing new innovative industry research findings. Download Case Study Here or click the button below.
Isabella Springmühl, a Guatemalan designer with Down Syndrome that is taking the fashion world by storm.
Imagine for a moment that you have had a strong unshakable passion for becoming a fashion designer since you were 6 years old. You decide to follow your passion and apply to study fashion design to make your dreams come true. Then imagine that you get rejected from the schools you eagerly applied to because they view that you have a condition that they feel is a liability, even know it has no bearing on your abilities.
That is exactly what happened to Isabella Springmühl, a Guatemalan designer with Down Syndrome. Despite the rejection, Isabella continued pursuing her dreams creating a fashion portfolio that is capturing the attention of the fashion world.
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