Technology Unites: Mitigating the Staffing Crisis in the Human Services World

An Evolving Tech Landscape For Human Services

For most communities and industries, the pandemic on-ramped unique challenges that now require innovative solutions to mitigate their impact for the future. The human services arena particularly faces a new host of complexities in reinstating staff and how to leverage the right digital platforms to aid in an improved retention model. Rapidly advancing technology proves to be the apparent solution for bridging staffing issues and combating attrition, namely for younger staff candidates who are more digitally native as it is. The approach to integrate effective technology paves the way for an ideal intersection of ease of usability and heightened communication, supporting organizational progress.

Advances to improve job retention stem from a model that embraces technology to ease staff shortages, all powered by digital integration. While planning for the future, a priority of HHS agencies and community organizations should account for the types of digital services aiming to secure an improved sense of self-sufficiency. 

Technological Infrastructure 

Sufficient investment in technology is the linchpin to more efficacious practices for retaining this sector of the workforce. Digital services integration is an imperative need to cut time and costs. To determine which platforms support transformative staffing capabilities and management, Monica Oss of Open Mind remarks on the needed inroads for the industry:

“The answer lies in connecting the success strategies for the “next normal” to the technology plan… as we look at the likely changes to the health and human service landscape propelled by the pandemic—integrated care models, value-based reimbursement, hybrid care delivery models, and more—it is apparent that most provider organizations cannot compete (on cost, service, or value) without investments in technology.” 

The core objective of digital integration is to attract and retain young talent in the human services sector by providing access to tools and information that increases connectivity in a clear, frictionless manner. The ambition of technology is also to anticipate the workforce’s well-being and the needs of its supporting community. Such an investment also considers financial and operational requirements, as turnover is a more costly byproduct than the original investment in advancing new processes.

Staffing Vacancy Support

Technology is paramount to recovery and staffing fulfillment for this population of the workforce. Many of the disabled working community who was furloughed or laid off discovered higher earning potential by staying at home versus returning to work through various recovery programs. As this model will prove unsustainable and the need to return to work will rekindle, technology is the proven answer to deliver on staffing fulfillment. The candidate pooling and evaluation process is laborious and layered with the needed documentation to capture prospective employees’ skill sets and capabilities. LinkedIn typifies a modern, agile tool to post jobs and digitally recruit by screening relevant experience when its full capabilities are utilized. Technology integration also allows for rapid recruiting, given face-to-face interviews are not imperative to source quality candidates as video interviews are more commonplace.

Empowering Digital Acclimation for Retention

Leveraging cutting-edge digital communication to identify and interview potential workers facilitates a better onboarding process with new hires undergoing orientation and training from the screen in the palm of their hand. There is no shortage of means in the digital marketplace to assist with better communications practices. Platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Apps, and Zoom are all advanced yet effectively easy-to-use tools to function on customizable features. 

The core traits and functions of technology entail mobile in-app messaging, SMS, chatbots, voice activation technology for search engines, scheduling reminders, and the like to reduce barriers to communication. For example, consider the scenario where an organization needs to train how to use an application. Google Meet-ups is a simple tool for accessible on-screen presentations of any documents, video tutorials, and training. Technology also enhances candidate evaluation and training methodology by enabling tailored-made systems and protocols to determine the best candidates. For example, Slack allows for private channels around one topic or function. Categorizing the channel by name, process, or task allows the user to know what the subject is at hand and perform thereunder. Microsoft’s Teams is a versatile and adaptable tool for a digitally collaborative environment fueled by video conferencing with custom background, screen sharing, chat features, and more. Essentially, digital platforms were devised to be what you need them to be by creating your organization’s particular usage standards. 

Access to digital platforms also allows employees to receive improved performance reviews in real-time by providing immediate feedback and a question/answer dialog format. In addition, the predicted text capability add-on can help anticipate language and provide a choice for expressing a thought or posing predicted questions for both staff and families alike.

Some organizations have invested in bespoke applications that support this division of the workforce. Navigating Life, a product of Waypoint Interactive, was created with the anticipated needs of the disability community in mind informed by human services agencies. The tool itself was designed to be incredibly clear and easy to use for comfortability and transparency. Live tracking and the speeds at which information travels on platforms enable rapid monitoring and better employee management. Even more importantly, families also can glean insights into day-to-day activities with a simple invitation for access. 

Navigating Life: Transformative Transparency

The purpose of the Navigating Life tool is solely to connect the support network for human services agencies and transform engagement to improve the lives of the disability community and their families. In short, Navigating Life set out to transform the lives of people living with disabilities. Witness in real time a loved one’s journey unfold throughout the day and follow their development every step of the way. Real-time updates, engage in live chat, and even share performance milestones and updates with family members. For staff, in-app messaging allows rapid engagement with caregivers as well. All employees will have tools to help them work more efficiently and effectively, and management will gain better insights into employee development and progress. The ability to live-audit work completed, time tracking, scheduling, and overall performance, exhibit exceptional digital service delivery and support. 

Uniting the Community & Networks

Technology that unifies is the clear answer to streamline communications for the vulnerable populations,  their families, and the requisite supporting staff while building confidence through mutually beneficial performance tools. Moreover, this confidence loop aids in attracting and retaining candidates simply in that direct communication eases existing complications that previously clouded human services operations. Suffice it to say, human services technology can align with the advancements in the digital healthcare arena because it links technology with the core principle of providing care for the health and mental well-being of all. 

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