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Meeting The Needs Of I/DD Employees During The Crisis

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The impact of COVID-19 has been far reaching. While regulations and safety guidelines seem to be changing every day, one basic truth remains—a stable, engaged workforce is the surest way to achieve success both now and in the future.

Going into 2020, no one could have anticipated the impact the novel coronavirus would have on our lives, our organizations and our workforce. This is the focus of our upcoming webinar, The Impact Of COVID-19 On Workforce Expectations In I/DD.

Today’s workforce has always had certain expectations of their employers. And throughout the crisis, many providers found that in order to have the staff they need to support their clients, those expectations needed to be met in a way they hadn’t considered before.

Here are just some of the ways providers are re-thinking their strategies around hiring, labor management and employee engagement in order to better meet the needs of their staff so they can provide quality service to their clients.

Bring Candidates A Simple, Streamlined Hiring Experience

According to a survey conducted by OnShift in late 2019, 67% of I/DD providers indicated that finding qualified candidates was a top workforce challenge. And 73% said that issues with both finding and hiring qualified candidates would continue to be a challenge over the next three years.

The onset of COVID-19 has shifted the landscape of the workforce. Unemployment has risen dramatically and the number of those displaced from their jobs remains in the millions. And while that won’t necessarily make recruiting and hiring in I/DD any easier, it does provide an opportunity for organizations to help those displaced from their jobs find new career paths.

But to avoid missing out on top talent, it’s imperative that providers take a hard look at their hiring process. Today’s workforce expects their next future employer to provide a simple, streamlined candidate experience.

Mobile friendly applications, swift follow-up and constant communication throughout the hiring process are just a few of the expectations you must meet to ensure you’re able to not only reach top candidates, but hire them—fast!

Listen For How You Can Help—Then Take Action

Today’s workforce expects to have a voice in the workplace and for their employer to take action based on their feedback and needs.

Throughout the pandemic, residential I/DD providers have made great strides in how they listen and react to their employees. In OnShift’s data alone, we saw a 300% increase in surveys sent via OnShift Engage, our employee engagement software. Providers want to know how their employees are feeling, where they are struggling and how they can help.

Whether it’s setting up a staff pantry of essential goods to help employees reduce trips to the grocery store, establishing a transportation program to help staff get to work or implementing more flexible schedules—providers have shown they are ready and willing to help.

However, it’s important to consider that the many challenges facing employees today are not new. In many ways, this pandemic has simply magnified many of the issues that were already there. This includes financial concerns. According to a recent survey by PayActiv, 58% of employees have a seen an increase in expenses during this time. And 82% say their greatest crisis concern is a loss of income.

In response, many providers are offering staff access to earned wages between paychecks through financial wellness software like OnShift Wallet. Not only does this early access to wages help employees avoid hefty late fees, interest rates and costly payday loans, but it incentivizes staff to pick up an extra shift or two.

Solutions like this are something many outside the I/DD and healthcare industry are already providing staff. And it’s something that both those new to the industry, as well as long-time DSPs, expect their employers to offer.

Make Communication A Top Priority

As previously mentioned, the emergence of COVID-19 has brought on many changes. Particularly at the start of the crisis, state regulations and safety guidance seemed to shift on a daily basis. And it’s anticipated that as we go into flu season, policies and procedures will continue to change.

Such frequent change demands constant communication to keep staff informed and feeling safe. 

It's said that you can never over-communicate during a crisis. In fact, during the start of this crisis, OnShift saw a 20% increase in the number of messages sent through our communication system.

What are providers communicating? Everything from open shifts, policy changes, training updates, state regulations, COVID positive cases, as well as words of encouragement, success stories and updates from leadership.

As the novel coronavirus becomes a more deeply embedded part of our next normal, providers cannot forget the important role communication has played in keeping staff engaged and informed during this time.

Want to hear more about the tactics residential I/DD providers like you are putting in place to meet the expectations of today’s workforce? Join Lisa Fordyce on Thursday, August 13th at 2 PM ET to learn more. 

Register For The Webinar

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