Pilot Program in Rock Valley

Thanks to a creative partnership, Hope Haven will soon launch an innovative staffing strategy for its Direct Support Professional Staff. Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Serves and GreatLife based in Kansas are partnering with Hope Haven to offer a strategy that will enough DSP staff to have greater work/life balance while providing the people it serves with more consistency in their daily lives.

The 12-week pilot program will begin in Rock Valley’s adult services programs in January, with agency-wide implementation to follow sometime in the future.

In the summer of 2021, LeAnn Blau, Hope Haven’s Director of Community Living Services, heard representatives of GreatLife Innovations present its staffing model at an ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) event. One of their seminars covered managing the workforce crisis. “They’ve been looking at different strategies to help manage that and continue to build quality service delivery for the persons with disabilities receiving services,” she said.

After sharing what she learned from that seminar with others at Hope Haven, the leadership staff became familiar with GreatLife’s scheduling model and began a partnership with GreatLife to plan for implementation at Hope Haven. The scheduling model is based on management and retention strategies tested by the University of Kansas. “These are tested systems and different scheduling strategies that have worked for organizations across the United States,” said Blau.

The pilot program’s shift schedule will be based on a front half/back half model, a 12-hour shift structure with consistently scheduled shifts for each staff member. Some staff members will consistently work on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday one week and Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week. Other staff members will consistently work Thursday, Friday, Saturday one week, and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the next week. “By working this type of schedule, staff will have over half of the year off. So that’s a big win-win,” said Blau.

“This staffing model will provide the people we support with greater continuity of care. Research shows that this staffing model creates happier staff that stay with the agency longer, resulting in consistent care and better outcomes for the people we support,” explained Carla Kieft, Hope Haven’s Director of Day Habilitation Services.

Doug Smit, Hope Haven’s Director of Mental Health and Family Services, said GreatLife has used this scheduling model for over 15 years and has proven effective. “They have a very low turnover rate,” he said. It’s also been beneficial for the people that they serve because they know who will be working on what day.”

In addition to providing the current staff with a better work-life balance, the team at Hope Haven hopes that this new model of scheduling will attract new staff. Including Double HH Manufacturing, Hope Haven’s staff sits at 608, leaving about 35 open positions at the organization.

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