If you’re like me, you’ve been looking forward to 2021 for quite a few months. This year has not be an easy one for I/DD providers. In numerous states, day programs closed in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Group home providers saw their workforce challenges intensify. In fact, according to a recent study of DSPs, 26% reported they were more short staffed during than prior to the pandemic. Additionally, 42% reported they knew colleagues who left the organization due to COVID-19.
As reflected in our recent Workforce 360 Survey Report, DSPs who have held their positions have found themselves at higher risk for burnout, with 80% of providers citing this as a top personal challenge facing their employees. Additionally, 65% recognize the fear and safety concerns their DSPs are experiencing due to COVID-19.
But as the year closes, more of the providers we speak with have either re-opened their programs fully or are close to doing so. They feel confident in their workforce and have settled into their new normal. However, they recognize more needs to be done in order to not only recover from the events of 2020, but to come out of 2021 strong than ever.
Here are some workforce management strategies I/DD providers are putting in place to find success in the new year and well beyond.
Make Staff Scheduling A Collaborative Process
Let employees have a say in when they work. Doing so not only boosts overall engagement and satisfaction but reduces no-shows and last minute call-offs.
Like most I/DD providers, when you post a new staff schedule, you likely have a number of open shifts you need to fill. Make sure it’s easy for your DSPs to see which shifts are available and easily request those shifts.
A staff scheduling software like OnShift Schedule allows staff to quickly see which shifts are available from any desktop or mobile device via the OnShift All-In-One App for employees. And employees that aren’t at risk of incurring overtime can be automatically approved for the shifts they request, saving home managers time and preventing potential overtime.
Closely Monitor Utilization
Consistently monitoring employee utilization has become a top strategy for a number of the providers we work with. Start by having a clear understanding of how many hours each of your staff members are expected to work. Next, confirm that this coincides with their availability. Then compare that to the number of hours for which they are normally scheduled.
You may find that some of your full-time staff are not working full-time hours. Or that some of your part-time employees are working more hours than they should. Don’t forget to include any per diem staff as well.
Understanding utilization not only helps you reduce potential overtime from overscheduling but can also help reduce burnout due to working an excessively high amount of hours.
Modernize The Employee Timekeeping Experience
Heavy, complicated timeclocks are a thing of the past. Bring staff a more modern timekeeping experience by allowing them to punch from their personal device, or from a centralized tablet within your group homes.
Eliminating traditional timeclocks is also cost-effective for organizations. A time and attendance software like OnShift Time allows you to turn any mobile device into a timeclock, dramatically reducing hardware costs and eliminating ongoing maintenance fees.
Mobile devices also allow for the use of facial recognition biometrics, which for employees means punching in is as simple as taking a selfie. And because facial recognition biometrics are easily auditable by the human eye, staff are never restricted from clocking in. Instead, low biometric scores can be later reviewed by a manager.
Support Employee Financial Wellness
With turnover on the rise and stagnant wages across the industry, supporting employee financial wellness, particularly when it comes to your DSPs, can go a long way in retaining staff long term. A daily pay app such as OnShift Wallet can provide your staff access to earned wages, between paychecks—all at no risk to your organization.
This type of perk has been extremely valuable for DSPs during the pandemic. Many have become the sole breadwinner for their family, lost income from outside jobs and the cost of goods such as groceries has risen.
From March to the end of November, employees with access to OnShift Wallet accessed over $38M dollars in earned, but unpaid, wages.
Communicate Consistently & Show You’re Listening
Consistent communication has always been important when it comes to employee engagement. But during the pandemic, it became absolutely essential for keeping staff informed and safe. Continue to keep staff aware of important updates including schedule changes, policy updates, safety concerns and CDC guidance.
OnShift customers have utilized the messaging system within OnShift Schedule to continuously update their staff via text message and/or email. These messages can be sent across the entire organization or to specific groups of employees.
It’s important to make sure you’ve also got an ear on the ground when it comes to employee feedback. Weekly pulse surveys, such as those offered in our employee engagement software, OnShift Engage, give providers a quick and easy way to monitor staff satisfaction and collect actionable feedback. One customer recently used this survey to uncover some unknown issues regarding PPE. Without these surveys, they may have missed out on this vital information.
OnShift Engage users are also taking advantage of the ability to create custom surveys—asking specific questions around how safe they feel at work, what challenges they’re facing, etc.
Whatever your workforce strategy looks like for 2021, it’s important to have the right technology in place. See how OnShift is helping I/DD providers like you better hire, manage, engage and retain their staff both today and into the future. Request a demo today!