News HR Roundtable looks for ways to work together

The Providers’ Council hosted a members-only HR Roundtable on Feb. 14 at Justice Resource Institute in Needham to discuss the challenges of and best practices for managing shared staff.

It is not uncommon for human services employees, especially direct support professionals, to have two or three jobs and be employed by multiple provider organizations, especially those agencies operating residential homes and day habilitation programs.

The discussion was led by panelists Nicole Smith, a human resources generalist at Seven Hills Foundation; Christine Pearson, the vice president of human resources at Advocates, Inc.; and Gary LaPierre, the assistant director of training at Bridgewell. They were joined by 13 human resources and staffing professionals from 12 organizations.

Each agency has its own system for scheduling staff, including per diem and relief staff, and tracking the number of hours worked. Each agency also caps the total number of hours employees can work per day and/or week. But there is no system in place that tracks the total number of hours an employee works across agencies.

Additionally, each agency has its own certification requirements and training and orientation programs (ranging from one day to nine days) and it was noted that they often lose staff who can’t complete the training and orientation due to scheduling issues.

As the limitations for employers became clear, the discussion turned to areas in which providers can work together to simplify some processes for the employees, such as shared trainings for requirements such as CPR/first aid and the Medication Administration Program (MAP).

“What we’re thinking about is helping each other and creating standards across the board,” LaPierre said.

The Providers’ Council is exploring ways it can work with members who are interested in combined training opportunities and other resources.

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