Blog Post

How ResCare Helps 1 Million Americans Join the Workforce Every Year

Chris Stewart

VP of Global Client Success, Cornerstone

The war for talent isn't just an impetus for companies to offer better benefits, provide more perks and think carefully about company culture—it's also a call to prepare more people for the workforce of the future.

ResCare is one company answering this call by developing new talent in underserved communities. Last year alone, ResCare helped more than one million job seekers with significant barriers to employment develop their skills and find relevant work. And that's just a small part of what they do.

With three main lines of business—job and vocational training, services for people with disabilities and home care for seniors—ResCare has employees in thousands of locations serving the varying needs of 60,000 people every day. The diverse nature and considerable volume of their work means ResCare has to be an expert at managing their own strategic internal talent systems.

"We're people helping people," says Tom Heetderks, VP of human resources at ResCare. "We don't have a tangible product, which means our HR department and talent systems have a direct and obvious impact on our quality outcomes and business success."

We caught up with Heetderks to find out more about how his team tackles ResCare's biggest talent management challenges. Here's what he had to say:

Fast-Paced Recruiting

ResCare has 52,000 employees in total, and hires thousands of new employees each year to keep up with turnover and business growth. With such high-volume recruiting, the company requires a cutting-edge system to find and hire the best candidates.

In 2015, Heetderks and his team replaced an impersonal and paper-heavy application process with a unified talent management software platform. The results are noteworthy: The social, mobile and user-friendly recruitment system resulted in a 32 percent reduction in application time, a 30 percent increase in applicant flow and a 35 percent decrease in onboarding time.

"Our bold goal is to show 'Respect and Care' to every applicant and new hire," says Heetderks. "That's not easy, and it begins from our first point of contact."

On-the-ground Training

Once employees are hired, ResCare must meet the needs of a remote workforce. The majority of ResCare employees rarely come into a central office—instead, they spend their days assisting program participants in schools, homes, medical centers, community offices and corporate buildings. With employees spread across the country, Heetderks explains it's critical to provide up-to-date training.

"We must ensure that every employee is providing excellent human services—the people we serve are in need of our assistance," he says.

To meet the training needs of their dispersed workforce, Heetderks and his team rely on a few core "must-haves," such as ease and convenience, built-in tracking and reporting, competency-based lessons and point-of-need delivery. Since replacing an instructor-led classroom program with an e-learning solution for front-line staff in 2015, ResCare has reduced training time for their annual hires by 13 percent. Mobile has been a large part of this effort: The company is now on track to provide training content to any employee on any device by early next year.

Better Platform, Better Service

ResCare is in a competitive market for healthcare and human services talent, which means they do everything they can to provide a great work experience for their employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, the demand for home health aides is expected to increase by nearly 40 percent by 2024.

Part of ResCare's effort to be a great place to work comes down to investing as much in their employees as they want their employees to invest in clients. With the mission of helping people (both employees and clients) reach their highest level of independence, ResCare chose an integrated, unified platform that provides a seamless, streamlined and user-friendly experience for employees as they navigate their daily work.

"Assisting people with their immediate needs, making a difference—that's why we're here," says Heetderks. "After that, our talent system is the absolute lifeblood to effective recruiting, onboarding, and training. It helps select and prepare our employees who then help others reach their highest level of independence."

Photo: Creative Commons

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A New Poseidon Adventure: Flipping Succession Planning Upside Down

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A New Poseidon Adventure: Flipping Succession Planning Upside Down

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The Hidden Costs of Ignoring Your Talent Management Strategy

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The Return of the Moderate Merit Budget – Wreaking Havoc on Pay for Performance

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The Return of the Moderate Merit Budget – Wreaking Havoc on Pay for Performance

With the economy now on steadier ground, most organizations have returned to administering a merit budget to the pre-recession levels of 3 to 3.5%. In the years immediately following the economic downturn, many merit budgets were eliminated entirely or were reduced significantly and reserved for a select segment of the employee population. Pay for performance has become a necessity for many organizations that are expected to accomplish more with fewer resources. I often get asked: "How can I truly award my top performers with such a limited budget? Should I do so at the expense of my ’Meets Expectations’ performers? What if I need to retain my ’Meets Expectations’ performers and giving them 0% to 2% increase puts me at great risk for turnover? But if I don’t recognize my top performers, don’t I risk losing them...?" These are difficult questions to answer, however you can determine the best solution for your organization by considering the following: Are your employees paid at market pay levels? Is your organization’s performance management process mature? Does your organization have other compensation programs in place to reward top performers (e.g. variable pay)? Market Pay If turnover is a concern, and your organization needs to maintain ’bench strength’ in order to achieve its strategic objectives, your biggest priority should be to ensure that you are paying your employees at market pay levels. Why? Historically, as the labor market strengthens, organizations become vulnerable in terms of losing people. Hiring and onboarding replacement talent is not only costly to the organization, but can also cause dissension among existing employees since new hires may be getting paid more. Be sure to stay abreast of market pay levels and trends, and use the merit budget to correct disparities. Performance Management Process Organizations vary significantly in terms of the maturity of their performance management process. Closely examine your organization’s process and look for ways to improve it. If there is a perception that one management team is an ’easier grader’ than the others, the process is inherently flawed and any pay for performance program will not be viewed as credible and fair by employees. A good place to start is to get a calibration process in place and communicate broad guidelines on expected distribution ratings. Variable Pay Programs Variable pay programs (e.g. bonuses) have become increasingly more popular across all industries and career levels. These programs provide the opportunity for employees to share in the organization’s success while not adding to fixed payroll costs. Some plans have an individual performance component which can be a very effective means to recognize top performers. However, in order for this type of program to be successful, individual goals and targets must be well documented and communicated. Again, this is largely based on the maturity of the organization’s performance management process which takes time to evolve. What are the best steps to avoid wreaking havoc on your pay for performance process? First ensure your pay levels are keeping pace with the market Continue to evolve your performance programs with calibration among managers and a rigorous goal setting process Promote variable pay plans to reward high performers without adding to fixed pay roll costs It’s not always an easy journey but, in the end, it’s best to use a measured approach that is based on business needs and a realistic assessment of your current programs and processes.

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