IDD providers are no strangers to the current workforce shortage the industry is facing. Demand for services in on the rise. Wages for DSPs remain stagnant and turnover rates average near 50%.
According to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), in order to sustain services as they are, and given current turnover rates, every year 574,200 new DSPs need to take new jobs in the workforce. Notably, too, it would require an additional 167,001 new DSPs to meet the needs of the more than 200,000 individuals wait-listed for services.
Because of this, being able to maximize the staff you have has become increasingly important. Here are 3 ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workforce.
Focus On Employee Utilization & Availability
Particularly if you’re using manual scheduling processes, it can be difficult to quickly assess how well you’re utilizing your staff and taking advantage of their true availability. Work with each of your employees to understand how many hours they’ve committed to work per week. Then compare this to how each employee is scheduled.
Look for areas where staff members are either being over- or under-utilized. For example, if a part-time employee is able to work 28 hours per week, but is only on the schedule for 16 hours, they’re being under-utilized at a rate of around 60%. And your organization is missing out on hours that this employee could be working.
On the other hand, if you have a full-time employee who should be working 40 hours, but is scheduled far more than that, then that staff member would be consider over-utilized. In this scenario, you’re not only incurring overtime costs when you may not need to, but risking that employee becoming burned out from working too many hours.
Allow Staff More Flexibility In When They Work
Most DSPs are working multiple jobs, attending school and juggling family responsibilities. That’s why visibility not only into when they’re scheduled, but what other shifts are available is key to both maximizing the use of your staff and keeping them satisfied.
Program managers should provide a fair and equal way for staff to request open shifts and any last-minute staffing changes, such as call-offs. Additionally, consider implementing a policy that allows employees to work part of a shift. Doing so allows them to get the extra hours they want, without interfering with their other obligations. It also gets providers one step closer to having the coverage they need.
Share Staff Across Programs
For organizations that have multiple group homes or programs, sharing staff between nearby locations gives everyone access to a broader pool of employees, so providers can meet their staffing levels and fill open shifts faster.
Sharing staff can also decrease your reliance on the use of expensive temporary staff by leveraging nearby employees instead. It also allows your staff the additional flexibility to pick up more shifts, when and where they prefer.
Technology Can Help
Manual scheduling processes and generic scheduling software make it difficult for IDD providers to gain the visibility and insights they need to ensure they’re staffed consistently and maximizing the overall use of their staff.
Cloud-based workforce management software can help program managers quickly identify staffing gaps, while also giving employees great visibility into when they’re scheduled and what shifts are available.