New Web Application to Provide Easy-to-use Tools to Improve Direct Support Workforce Recruitment and Retention Practices

December 2022
Logos of Elevance Health and Direct Support Workforce Solutions.

Elevance Health is partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration to develop a web application that allows organizations supporting individuals with disabilities and older adults to track and assess key elements of their workforce, enabling them to more effectively recruit and retain staff who will support individuals to create lives of their own choosing.

The direct support workforce has been in a persistent and growing crisis for years. Increasing demand for services and high staff turnover and vacancy rates have created severe staff shortages that threaten the quality and availability of essential services for individuals with disabilities, people who are aging, and their families. This is also extremely costly to the human services system.

Elevance Health supports health at every life stage, offering health plans and clinical, behavioral, pharmacy, and complex-care solutions that promote whole health. Direct Support Workforce Solutions, a national consulting group within the Institute on Community Integration, is addressing the workforce needs of organizations providing community-based supports for individuals with disabilities.

A key element of the web app is a robust data portal that allows organizations to enter select workforce data and track their progress, with access to state and national benchmarks where available. Through a highly visual dashboard, they can generate current and period-over-period reports; calculate the rate and cost of turnover; export data for reporting purposes; calculate average tenure, vacancy rates, benefits utilization, and wages by job classification; and compare their progress with other organizations.

The data portal will help organizations identify who is staying on the job, for how long, and why, helping them recruit candidates with the best chance of performing well and supporting people with disabilities to live their best lives.

“What’s unique about this product is that it’s grounded at the organizational level,” said ICI Director Amy Hewitt. “This service will allow organizations to access their data, not just state-level data. And it will connect them to data-informed interventions that can help address some of their greatest workforce challenges.”

Organizations operating in multiple locations will have the ability to access data for a specific site or system-wide, displaying characteristics at a glance, such as wages, benefits, and overtime, and types of services provided. Custom in-app reports allow organizations to better understand the demographics of their workforce, including age group, gender identity, tenure, marital status, veteran status, and disability status.

Other elements of the web app will include dynamic job descriptions with structured behavioral interview questions, realistic job previews, customized targeted marketing materials, and other workforce interventions.

The data portal is being piloted externally and the web app will be available in early to mid-2023. Pricing to be determined.

“Managed Care Organizations play a critical role in supporting the workforce development efforts of providers in their network,” said Elevance Health's Rachel Chinetti. “We are proud to partner with Direct Support Workforce Solutions to develop a tool that will increase access to data and workforce tools for providers across the country.”

Drawing on more than 30 years of research, training, outreach, and evaluation, Direct Support Workforce Solutions helps organizations develop and implement workforce strategies that reduce turnover; attract, recruit, and retain qualified talent; and engage and prepare their workforce to deliver high-quality services.