What do George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Julia from Sesame Street all have in common? Like OnShift, they were all recently in DC for The Arc’s 2019 National Convention.
This annual conference gives families, advocates and professionals a chance to come together and learn more about what others are doing to support the lives of those in the Intellectual Developmental Disability (IDD) community.
The need for IDD support services is on the rise. And every agency wants to provide the best care and service that they can. It should be of no surprise then that one topic seemed to be on every agency’s mind: workforce.
Turnover among Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) continue to remain high, with some providers seeing rates upwards of 76%.
Finding new talent is also a struggle. Low unemployment means more opportunities for workers. And the harsh reality is that many find it easier to work in a restaurant or retail setting where the daily duties are less demanding and the wages are often for a more competitive wage than in an IDD care setting.
Many providers spoke candidly about the fact that they have multiple full-time positions they are struggling to fill and how their inability to stay staffed consistently is impacting the expansion and growth of services they can provide.
But even with these challenges, many of the organizations we met during The Arc National Convention were optimistic about finding new ways to better attract and engage DSPs.
Here are a few key takeaways from the providers we spoke with:
Scheduling Transparency Is A Must
Knowing when you work is one of the most important things to any employee. And many are frustrated when they find themselves at an organization that is still using pen and paper or spreadsheets to manage their schedule.
Today’s employees expect to have everything they need right at their fingertips, including their schedule. They have an app for banking, for groceries, for shopping—why wouldn’t they expect an app that tells them when they’re working or if their schedule has changed?
Cloud-based platforms like OnShift and the all-in-one OnShift Mobile App allow employees to take their schedule with them on the go. Changes can be viewed in real-time and staff can take control over when they work with better transparency into open shifts and last-minute call-offs.
Technology like OnShift can also make scheduling easier for home managers. AI-driven shift assignments and proactive overtime alerts making creating schedules and filling shifts faster, with also helping organizations keep costs in check.
Perks Matter More Than You Think
Many of the providers we met during the conference are experimenting with new ways to recognize and reward their employees. Some have implemented “kudos” programs that allow managers and DSPs to recognize their co-workers. One provider recently set up a rewards store where recognized employees can purchase company branded items such as mugs, jackets, etc.
It was great to hear about what providers have come up with to show their employees their hard work matters and it’s helping reduce turnover. But one common theme among providers was the lack of a systematic way to both recognize and reward staff.
Many IDD agency’s are still manually managing recognition, meaning rewarding employees is inconsistent and dependent upon the home manager or supervisor to maintain.
Employee engagement software, such as OnShift Engage, automatically tracks key behaviors and assigns rewards points to ensure DSPs are continuously recognized and rewarded for their hard work. Employees can track their progress towards a reward right from the OnShift Mobile App, keeping them motivated and further engaged with your organization.
Care Starts With Showing You Care For Your DSPs
Wages in the industry are stagnant. According to reports, the average national DSP wage is a little under $11 per hour. Many DSPs are working multiple jobs and are stressed financially, impacting their performance and productivity at work.
Having the ability to access earned, but unpaid wages between paychecks can go a long way in helping ease financial stress when unexpected expenses arise. OnShift Wallet is a risk-free way for organizations to show they care about the financial wellbeing of their DSPs by helping them better manage expenses and avoid costly payday loans, overdraft fees and credit card interest rates. And it’s easy for DSPs to access right from OnShift’s all-in-one mobile app.
An investment in your DSPs is an investment in the well-being of those you serve and the overall success of your organization. That’s why it’s important to look for technologies that can positively impact both their day-to-day jobs and their lives. We had a great time learning how providers are already doing just that and we’re excited to see everyone again next year at The Arc National Convention.