The Top Workforce Challenges In I/DD & Behavioral Health
March 26, 2020 | Cari Rosenberger
In speaking with providers, one thing remains consistent: the biggest topic on anyone’s mind is recruiting and retaining a stable workforce. And unfortunately, this need becomes even more urgent during a health crisis like the one we are experiencing.
Without a solid workforce in place, providers can’t provide the level of care and service their patients and clients deserve. It is also consistently cited as one of the key reasons organizations are unable to expand their service offerings or programs.
To better understand the workforce issues and their impact on healthcare organizations today, we recently conducted our inaugural Workforce 360 survey. This bi-annual survey captured the perspectives of nearly 1500 industry professionals, including those in I/DD and behavioral health.
With turnover rates ranging from 40% to upwards of 70% for some positions in I/DD and behavioral health, it was not surprising to see that 78% of respondents cited employee turnover as their top workforce challenge. And the impact this challenge has on organizations is far reaching. High turnover leads to increased labor costs, as additional overtime is required to fill necessary shifts. It also disrupts continuity and quality of care.
As employees turn over, the positions they leave behind must be filled. But this isn’t the only reason 67% of I/DD and behavioral health respondents cited finding qualified candidates as another top workforce challenge.
With the exception of the current climate created by COVID-19, unemployment has been at an all time low and is anticipated to return there. Additionally, there have been a growing number of open positions in the healthcare industry. On top of this, providers are facing increased competition from those outside of healthcare, including retailers, restaurants and “gig economy” jobs, such as Instacart and Uber.
Everyone is fighting for the same great employees. And for providers, this can make finding qualified candidates extremely difficult. Especially as providers struggle to be competitive with wage offerings.
Employee Compensation & Wage Pressures
The third most cited workforce challenge for I/DD and behavioral health providers is employee compensation and wage pressures, with 48% citing this as a top struggle. To combat this, many providers are placing a renewed focus on implementing perks and programs that work to improve the lives of their employees.
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