Since 2012, Relias has partnered with ANCOR to improve hiring, training, and staff retention for I/DD providers. To better serve Relias clients and those they care for, Relias, ANCOR’s only Diamond Partner, recently teamed up with ANCOR to survey direct support professionals.
The goal of the 2021 DSP survey was to better understand the field at large, as well as any issues DSPs typically face. To gather this data, we surveyed 679 DSPs across 43 states and found the following to be top of mind for those surveyed: supervision, appreciation and recognition, and career advancement opportunities.
We outline a few of the more noteworthy survey findings below, but be sure to reserve your copy of the 2021 DSP Survey Report to read the full analysis on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
Regarding supervision, we found that DSPs who were satisfied with their supervisors were significantly more likely to report that they enjoy working at their current organizations and were also more likely to report having a safe avenue to provide feedback. Yet, while a large majority of respondents told us that the ability to provide feedback was important to their workplace satisfaction, just a little over half reported actually having a means by which to feel comfortable giving feedback.
The DSPs surveyed also reported that their preferred method of recognition was receiving private, direct appreciation by their supervisors. Interestingly, this runs counter to the typical means by which I/DD organizations demonstrate appreciation for their DSP employees.
Most commonly, organizations offered rewards to show appreciation and sought to offer public recognition in front of teammates or organizational leadership. This is critical, as DSPs who were satisfied with how their organizations showed support were happier with their organizations overall, and thus “much more likely” to stay with that organization. Figuring out how and when to recognize the great work of your DSPs can have a marked impact on employee retention and the efficacy of the care your organization delivers.
Similar to appreciation and recognition efforts, respondents reported that career advancement opportunities, including funding for education or certification programs and viable paths to leadership positions, were extremely important. Yet, the actual availability of career advancement opportunities was lacking. Almost one-quarter of respondents said that their organizations did not offer any career advancement programs, with nearly one-third of DSPs who were dissatisfied with their organization reporting that there were no career advancement programs available to them.
Overall satisfaction with organizational career advancement programs was lukewarm, with the majority saying they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with these programs. If we dive into these numbers, 40% of DSPs said they would be much more likely to stay at their organization if provided strong career advancement opportunities. This metric proved especially critical for early career DSPs with one to six years of experience.
The direct support role within I/DD services is critical to advancing the equity, inclusion, and human rights of people with disabilities. These individuals who give so much of their time and talent to improving the lives of those they support and upholding their dignity should be given our utmost respect.
It is our hope that this year’s DSP report gives organizations tangible, actionable ways to provide the best support and appreciation for their DSP workforce.
The 2021 DSP Survey Report will be available Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Reserve your free copy of the report to receive it in your inbox the day it is released.