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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