The intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) industry has suffered from some of the highest employee turnover challenges of the past decade. While the industry reports growth over the past five years, it has also struggled with caregiver turnover rates near 70% in some regions of the country. Hourly workers can comprise up to 90% of an I/DD workforce.
The good news is that many of these employees feel called to care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities—it’s not just a job to them.
Nevertheless, turnover is a liability for I/DD organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an estimated 778,000 personal care aides will need to enter the workforce by 2026 to meet the demand. The constant turnover has organizations in a vicious cycle of people leaving at the same rate as they hire new ones, which affects the organizations’ growth, culture and profitability.
So, how can we address this burdensome problem?
There are many ways to approach the issue of retention, however at Sandata, we have found that some of the answers are embedded in the data that you’re already collecting through your day-to-day tasks and activities. With a bit of examination, you will find connections between certain data points and some of the retention challenges you’re facing.
The first step is to ensure that you’re working with a data collection system you can rely on—we find that it is best if organizations can see trends over the course of 5-7 years. If this isn’t possible, don’t panic, you will just have a smaller sample size to start with, but you will still glean insights from it.
An example of a trend to examine would be employee turnover. When examining these data, how many employees are retained over the course of 30 days versus 90? How many employees make it one year or longer? By looking at these data points and the trends associated with them, you can see when most employees decide to leave, and then try to mitigate that with action. Maybe your organization decides to offer a bonus after 90 days of employment. Maybe employees get an extra day off after a certain number of months of service. Whatever the incentive may be, your organization can implement rewards for longer tenure with the organization.