By 2025, the behavioral healthcare field will face moderate to severe workforce shortages in nearly every sector. Telecare Corporation alone will need to hire nearly 2,200 qualified individuals by 2020 in order to staff our new and existing programs. To address this shortage and to plan for our future staffing needs, Telecare has created a Workforce Development Plan.
A Workforce Development Plan is a snapshot that captures the current metrics of the organization: the number of employees, certain demographics, what types of jobs are currently available, vacancy rates, turnover rates, and more. The organization then looks at how its products and services are likely to change in the future, and uses this knowledge in tandem with the metrics to develop a plan to build its workforce for the future.
One of the reasons this plan is so important at Telecare is that our “product” is excellent care for people with complex mental health and physical health needs. Our workforce, especially front-line staff and local leaders, are the ones who deliver this care. Having a stable and high-performing workforce is absolutely essential at our organization. It is one of our primary goals and measures of quality.
Another important reason Telecare undertook this workforce planning effort was to more clearly see the areas where we, as a company and as an industry, may have gaps that we must actively work to address. Two gap areas that we uncovered were in the areas of peer positions and licensed professionals.
For example, as we refined our “Two by 2020” goal, which is to have two peer positions (at minimum) on staff at every Telecare location by 2020, we noticed that in California the standardization of peer training and peer qualifications is not robust. As a result, we have begun to advocate for standardized training for peer positions, which will help Telecare to hire well-prepared peer staff, and could also help the overall field in California by establishing more widely recognized criteria for those roles and by providing a clearer path for individuals to advance their careers.
An additional example is the need for licensed professionals. In creating our plan at Telecare, we have included ways to maximize our ability to attract the outstanding professionals that are already in the field, as well as ways to build bridges between learning institutions and our workplace. One of our strategies we are implementing will be to centralize and coordinate our intern function in the organization, so that we have a pipeline of new graduates that could be successful, and stay and build their career at Telecare.
Key Findings for Telecare’s Workforce Development
A number of key findings emerged during the process of creating a Workforce Development Plan specifically for Telecare.
1. We must be creative to hire nearly 2,200 employees by 2020.
With a clear goal in mind and a clear understanding of our current recruiting processes, we recognized the need to go beyond the standard process of recruiting by using new and creative tactics to attract and keep these 2,200 new employees. We have already tapped into our existing leadership workforce and have developed a host of unique strategies that will broaden our reach and visibility with potential new staff.
2. We need to maintain staff diversity as we serve increasingly diverse communities.
The second key finding recognized that we are a richly diverse company and this diversity is one of Telecare’s most important assets. We are diverse not only in terms of ethnicity and language, but also age, and this adds to the deep culture of Telecare. As the clients and communities we serve also become more diverse, our workforce will need to mirror that trend.
3. We are a passionate group of people who thrive with a strong mission and culture.
The third key finding was the extent to which our employees—both current and former—positively regard their experience at Telecare and strongly relate to our mission and our culture. They love their teams and coworkers. Our task then becomes the way in which we leverage that positive regard and continue this trend for future employees. One way we are achieving this is through our revamped New Hire Orientation, which welcomes new employees into our culture on day one and follows them through their first few months on the job as they acclimate and become a part of their new team.
Next month, we will take a deeper look at what we are doing more specifically at Telecare to build a better workforce for the future!