ANCOR News - 07.16.19

‘Person-Centered Technology’ to Boost DSP Retention and Culture

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Just as providers embrace a ‘person-centered care’ philosophy to individuals they care for, they’re increasingly bringing the same mindset shift to other parts of their business.

We’ve talked in this space, for example, about applicant-centered recruiting: a hiring process that strongly considers the wants and needs of candidates.

But one area where this kind of person-centered approach is catching on more slowly? Technology.

It’s not that providers haven’t embraced technology. Many have put tools in place that remotely monitor individuals, or that make it easier to collect data on individuals and staff alike.

But when it comes to using technology to address the day-to-day concerns of their employees, they often come up short.

One of our clients, for example, implemented an employee portal where staff can find information on pay deposits, work hours, and so on. But the tool is so complicated to use that employees are barely touching it. One DSP we interviewed gets her bank to provide printed statements so she can keep track of her pay that way.

Make no mistake — we don’t blame providers for this gap. Technology companies are often eager to sell “one size fits all” solutions that in fact don’t solve much of anything.

However, if there’s one mindset shift that providers should embrace, it’s this… You need to stop thinking about technology as “only” a way to improve internal processes. Instead, start considering how to use it to improve relationships with new hires and existing staff.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, video is worth 10,000

For just one example, consider using shareable video to streamline blocks around face-to-face meetings.

We all know the impact that a kind word from the CEO can have on a DSP who has gone above and beyond; unfortunately, it’s usually not practical for high-level leaders to travel far and wide to recognize employees. (Especially if those employees are on the third shift.)

But with shareable video recorded with a tool like Loom, your CEO can quickly (and inexpensively) spend a few seconds thanking anyone who deserves it.

Think about the message instead of the medium — in the age of social media, even a dashed-off iPhone video recorded on the road would be well-received.

Or think of the impact video could make on a new hire. What if the CEO sent a short video welcoming new DSPs to the team, including a brief overview of what to expect on the first day? This is the kind of greeting that would take only a few minutes to shoot — say, walking from the parking lot to the building — but that could be used over and over with every new hire.

Prefer not to use the “walk and talk” smartphone approach? There are many tools, such as Logitech Capture, that can help you inexpensively film a standard welcome video you can email to new hires before they report for training.

Video can improve the effectiveness of training, too—another area where new hires often feel intimidated. For example, Loom, Capture and a host of other apps can:

  • Clarify complex topics,
  • Add a human touch to material that is heavy on jargon and legalese,
  • Demonstrate procedures
  • Update employees on new policies, and more.

It’s not only about sharing video

As powerful as a shareable video is, though, it’s certainly not the only technology that can help you implement a person-centered approach.

We often hear complaints from our clients that not all of their employees log into Intranet portals or read emails on provided accounts.

Fortunately, there are now numerous text marketing options that allow you to broadcast messages to staff smartphones. Look at TextMagic or SimpleTexting, for example, to fire off short texts to groups of employees, share links to resources, or — yes — even send videos.

Don’t forget about meeting software either. After all, if you have staff scattered over multiple facilities, you already know what a challenge it can be to get everyone together.

So why not skip that step entirely? Video meeting tools like Zoom can be used to overcome geographic challenges while still keeping things personal.

Video meetings can also be used to provide training and procedure updates, share ideas, or just help build a better sense of community. (And yes, if you’re curious — you can typically record meetings so missing staff can watch them later.)

A person-centered technology policy makes simple sense

You already adapt your communications to the needs of individuals with I/DD; why not adapt your communications to your staff?

They’re already all on Facebook, for example. If you set up a private group to communicate with them there, you’d likely see a much higher adoption rate than you would with a complicated — and expensive — intranet portal.

We believe that technology is the new frontier of the person-centered approach. To get started, it’s as simple as remembering that your employees are “persons” too — and using widely available technology tools to make them feel that way.

Scott and Craig de Fasselle are marketing experts who help I/DD providers attract and retain great DSPs with communication that motivates. To see some video examples of their recommendations above, connect with them at