10 Key Features to Include in Your Job Postings

Hiring in 2021 has proven to be significantly harder and different than it has been in years past. Part of the challenge, however, is creating a captivating and successful job posting. If done correctly, the job posting not only can sell an applicant on the position, but on the agency as a whole.

Here are our top 10 features that should be included in your next job posting:

Job Security

2020 was an intense year for layoffs, causing a lot of staff and employees to become more concerned about their job security. Make sure you are telling applicants that you are government funded and offer better job security than many alternatives.

“ABC Provider is funded by the state. We offer very stable employment opportunities with 40 hours a week”

Base Pay Plus

If overtime or holiday pay is available at your agency, highlight this! Many employees are focused on the weekly take-home pay, so give them an idea of what they could make in overtime. Extra holiday pay is something agencies offer, that a lot of other establishments can’t. Highlighting this will help you stand out from the big box stores in your area.

“A DSP on average earns $120.00 a week extra in overtime after 6 months.”

“All hours worked on any one of the 10 holidays is paid at time-and-a-half.”

Pay Differentials

If any positions are eligible for a higher shift or service differential, make this clear.

“Certain shifts are paid at a $4.00 hour higher rate.”

Benefits

Include an annual valuation of your benefit package with the hourly rate / salary. Agencies are able to offer really good benefits, giving them a competitive edge over other companies.

“Plus an annual benefit package worth on average $2,500 a year after 6 months.”

Paid Training

Applicants can be worried about jumping into a new position that they haven’t tried before. Make sure they know that training will be available for applicants. Let them know they will be supported at your agency.

Non-Taxable Expense Reimbursement

If the position offers mileage reimbursement, BYOD compensation for a mobile phone or other non-taxable payments, include these. Many other companies don’t offer this and it is a great benefit for employees!

“$10.00 nontaxable reimbursement paid per month for using your smart phone for work.”

Equipment

Let applicants know what equipment will be provided: smart phone, tablet, laptop, vehicle, etc. Some companies require applicants to provide their own equipment, so providing the tools they need will help you pull in more applicants.

Work From Home

If the position can be partially or fully “work from home”, use this. For prospective employees with children, this can be huge. Plus savings on commute time and costs can be a big factor.

“There is a 40% work from home option after 3 months (2 days a week).”

Phone Friendly

Modern employers are communicating through text, the best medium for reaching today’s new hire, especially millennials. Create a standard applicant-friendly text library to re-use with all initial applicants. Asking today’s new hire to download a paper form to fill-in and email it back is a big turn off. Make sure your application process is 100% mobile friendly.

Use Appropriate Language

Some of your applicants may have never worked for an agency before, so remove any jargon that applicants may not understand such as “QIDP” , “IP”, “DSS” or “community inclusion”. Keep it simple! Also, try substituting “You” and “Your” where feasible for your agency’s name, “Our” or “We”. Talk about the applicant, not yourself.

3 Tips to Boost Hiring

Recruitment is a complex process, but essentially it is a competitive marketing process – if agencies want to convert candidates into hires, they need to look at the process the same way marketers look to convert leads to sales. Agencies need to ensure that their recruitment funnel is solid.

You can’t win if you don’t compete!

#1 Post on multiple job boards. If your company is only posting on one job board like Indeed, you are probably not reaching all the available applicants. Post on Indeed, Facebook and any free local job boards. Use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that supports posting to unlimited job boards with one click.

#2 Make sure applicants can apply directly from their smart phone. Don’t suggest candidates fax their resume. No one knows what a fax is today, never mind has access to one. Printing and uploading paper job applications will also lose applicants.

  • APPLICANTS MUST BE ABLE TO APPLY DIRECTLY FROM THEIR SMART PHONE

Asking today’s new hire to download a paper form to fill-in and email it back is a big turn off. It’s too hard. The candidate needs to be able to apply within your talent management application.

#3 Communicate by text. Modern employers are communicating through text, the best medium for reaching today’s new hire, especially millennials. This will work much better early in the recruitment process. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Your ATS should allow you to text directly from within the application.

Reduced Employment Opportunities

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, July 16th that although job openings are at a record high, the impression that all employers are hiring like never before may be misleading. Many businesses that laid off workers during the pandemic are already predicting they will need fewer employees in the future.

As with past economic shocks, many large or sophisticated employers have taken the opportunity to invest in automation or implement system changes to reduce dependency on labor.

“In industries from hotels to aerospace to restaurants, business have reviewed their operations and discovered ways to save on labor costs for the long term” – this applies to low-wage sectors.

  • Marriott plans to limit housekeeping and reconfigure food and beverage operations. Marriott also reduced management staff by 30% in 2020 in food and beverage departments and plans on the changes being permanent
  • Hilton is adopting “a flexible housekeeping policy” with daily service only available on request
  • Unite Here, a union that represents hotel workers reporting that the end of daily cleaning could result in 180,000 job losses
  • Dave & Busters has installed tablets for customers to order food and drink, allowing managers to schedule fewer servers
  • Applebee’s is using tablets to let customers pay without a waiter

Hiring Picks Up in the USA

The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states are canceling enhanced and extended payments this month. This suggests that ending the aid could push more people to take jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Federal pandemic aid bills boosted unemployment payments by $300 a person each week, and extended those payments for as long as 18 months; well longer than the typical 26 weeks or less.

The extended benefits are set to expire in early September, but states can opt out before then.

  • Organizations need to gear up their hiring between now and October to take advantage of the influx of new potential applicants.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said the benefits were helpful during the height of the pandemic, but their continuation has “worsened the workforce issues we are facing.”

The 21 states that have ended, or will end the beefed-up payments in June, saw a 13.8% drop since mid-May in the number of people receiving unemployment benefits. The four states planning to end the benefits in July and September saw 10% and 5.7% drops, respectively, the Journal said, citing an analysis by Jefferies LLC.

The additional payments may have contributed to a labor shortage, those in favor of cutting the benefits have said, while others argue other economic and pandemic-related issues are keeping people out of work, according to the WSJ. Both are probably true.

Workers may still receive unemployment benefits on their states’ programs when the additional payments end in September.

Several states are offering payouts to workers who accept jobs and complete an allotted number of weeks as an employee as part of an effort to whittle down the reliance on the federal program.

Why the Worker Shortage Continues

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, May 7th that there are many reasons holding back potential employees from the labor market. Over 4-8 million fewer people are currently in the labor force than before the pandemic, depending upon how they are counted.

  • Fear of Covid-19, sickness (the USA still averages over 45,000 positive cases a day). If 45,000 people quarantine for 14 days, that removes approximately 500,000 from the available workforce even if they don’t get really sick
  • Lack of childcare and open schools
  • Previous employer has offered to rehire soon
  • Few job openings in their area
  • Extended jobless benefits

“I think this is just as much about a shortage in labor supply as it is about a shortage of labor demand,” Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University commenting on the weaker than expected April jobs report, told CNBC. “If you look at April, it appears that there were about 1.1 unemployed workers for every job opening. So there are a lot of jobs out there, there is just still not a lot of labor supply.”

Census data taken in recent weeks suggests the closures of day-care centers and schools have forced millions of Americans to stay home and care for children or oversee online learning.

According to a Census Household Pulse survey taken in late March, 6.3 million people reported that they were not working because they needed to care for a child not in a school or day care. Another 2.1 million were caring for an older person.

An additional 4.1 million Americans said they were not working because of concerns about getting or spreading Covid-19.

The labor shortage should ease in 2021, but the process may take months as:

  • Vaccination rates continue to rise
  • Schools fully re-open
  • $300 per week federal unemployment bonus above and beyond what states provide, expires in September

For a more in-depth look into hiring, download the eBook: Tips for Boosting Applications and Hiring in 2021 or the myApplicants fact sheet.

To discuss hiring, onboarding and training, email agencysuccessteam@mitcsoftware.com.

Employers Start Requiring Vaccines for New Hires

The Wall Street Journal reports that employers are starting to require Covid-19 vaccinations for new hires. Read more here.

Among the companies and positions requiring vaccinations were:

  • Restaurant in New York
  • Camp guide in Alaska
  • HR assistant in California
  • Meatpacking giant, JBS USA Holdings
  • Recycling plant in Kentucky
  • Houston Methodist Hospital is requiring all 26,000 current and future employees to be vaccinated

Employers can legally require vaccines as a condition of employment, though religious beliefs and pre-existing medical conditions must be accommodated. Employers can also require proof of vaccination.

Many employers are offering paid time off (4 hours) for vaccinations especially now that a tax credit is available and vaccines are becoming widely available.

Eligible employers, such as businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees and certain governmental employers, can receive a tax credit for providing paid time off for each employee receiving the vaccine and for any time needed to recover from the vaccine. For example, if an eligible employer offers employees a paid day off in order to get vaccinated, the employer can receive a tax credit equal to the wages paid to employees for that day (up to certain limits).

Using Texting in the Hiring Process

There are multiple reasons to use texting in your hiring process. Here are the 10 main ones:

  1. Today’s future employees use text, not email.
  2. Increase your message open rates over email with texting.
  3. Younger employees, like millennials, particularly use texting.
  4. Phone calls, without engaging first through text, is off-putting to many.
  5. Your competitors are using texting. If you are not using texting, you are not competing.
  6. Convert a higher percentage of good fit candidates to new hires.
  7. Accelerate the first engagement to hire cycle.
  8. Streamline the recruiting process.
  9. Cut time to schedule candidate interviews.
  10. Fill positions faster with texting.

In summary, SMS communications and experiences offer the most simplified, convenient application experience especially for lower paid positions.

We would love to hear what you think! Is this something your agency will be implementing? Do you already use texting in your hiring process? Let us know by commenting below!

The Limited Labor Market

The labor market should be awash with job seekers swamping demand for work, but that is not happening. The Wall Street Journal recently published a very revealing article on this topic.

  • Median wage growth was 3.4% in February
  • Earnings were up 2.8% for Q4 2020
  • This month’s Federal beige book reported a shortage of applicants for many lower-paid positions from drivers, child-care, nurses, landscapers, and restaurant staff
  • 4 million jobs were open in February
  • 5 million fewer people are looking for jobs than before the pandemic

Why?

  1. Many available workers are in the wrong part of the country, or have the wrong skills. Workers laid off in Florida from Disney World can’t apply for a position as a care giver in New York.
  2. A significant number of potential employees have withdrawn from the labor market to look after their children.
  3. Covid-19 itself is keeping lots of workers out of the job market. In March, 2.6 million people were not working because they were sick or caring for someone who was sick.
  4. 2 million people were staying at home because they were afraid of catching or spreading Covid-19.
  5. Stimulus checks and extended/enhanced unemployment benefits, which was extended to gig workers, may have kept potential job seekers on the sidelines. However, several studies in 2020 found the aid didn’t depress employment, rather, the above factors mattered most. Many potential employees simply are not “available”.

That is likely to change if vaccination rates continue to rise as virus-related obstacles to working should recede. Economists expect the labor force to rebound during 2021.

Either way, providers can’t do much about the economy, but having the best systems in place for attracting applicants, hiring and retention is key. Check out the 12 Top Tips for Boosting Applications and Hiring in 2021 to learn more.

10 Ways to Increase DSP Job Applications and Hires

Finding good, qualified applicants to fill your DSP roles is not always an easy task.

Getting more job applications only causes extra work if the percentage of applicants accepting positions and staying longer than 30 days is low. Hiring is important. Weak hiring leads to higher overtime and training costs.

Don’t focus on competing with McDonalds, fast food outlets and retail chains. Agencies need different types of employees. Agencies need someone to care about their job. McDonald’s employees don’t need that quality. Emphasize the caring part of the job!

Depict the job by providing examples of “wonderful outcomes”. Employees love to know what it is in for them. Make sure you highlight any potential growth or long term outcomes of working with your agency.

Think of your ideal candidate and write the application with them in mind. Who is your star DSP? If you want more employees like them, create an application that includes their qualities.

There is a lot to keep in mind when looking for your perfect DSP, so we did some research and put together our top 10 tips to keep in mind in the hiring process.

  1. Think about the job descriptions. Avoid wordy, cold and impersonal lists of responsibilities and skills
  2. Make sure your stability and “extras” are highlighted
    • Benefits
    • Paid training
    • Bonuses
    • BYOD plans
    • Overtime opportunities
    • How the job will make you feel
    • Advertise the typical weekly gross pay of a DSP after 30 days including benefits instead of the hourly rate
  3. Don’t use content that creates barriers:
    • Industry jargon
    • Acronyms
    • Unspecific text
  4. Paint the applicants a picture of what they’ll be doing day to day. Stress the impact on them and others. “Make a difference in someone’s life”, “Be special”, “Want to be more than a cog in a wheel”.
  5. Write different job profiles for different roles – it is easier to get a response from your ideal candidate.
  6. Make sure your adverts appear on all job boards. Indeed is the leading, but not the only source of DSP applicants. Employee references are very beneficial and Facebook ads work if you have a “great story”.
  7. If you go to job fairs, only go to specialized job fairs. This will narrow down your search and guarantee that are you are only looking at applicants that are interested in, and qualified for the position.
  8. Respond quickly to applicants. Make sure they know that you are interested in them, so you won’t lose them to another organization.
  9. Work on your online content and forms:
    • Make applying easy.
    • Tell applicants what they should expect next in the process.
    • Keep it simple – name, email, phone and option to upload resume is all you need.
    • Apply to your own jobs via mobile phone – over 60% of applicants do so on their phone.
    • Don’t link the homepage of your website or Facebook or Instagram – applicants get lost down rabbit holes.
    • Don’t require driver’s license number, social security number, emergency contact, or anything the applicant might not have readily to hand at the time – this is not necessary on an application.
    • Don’t link to PDF applications – not smart phone friendly.
    • Avoid a slow loading page – Google reports people move on if it takes longer than 2-3 seconds.
  10. If listing a hiring contact, do so as personally as possible.
    • Give name
    • Extension
    • Personal email address 

Learn more about applicant tracking; download the myApplicants fact sheet.

Missouri Providers are Struggling with Employee Retention

Missouri workers providing care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities make less than a Walmart or Target worker, even after a pay increase that went into effect last month. 

The low pay is the main reason about half of Missouri workers quit each year, according to Missouri Developmental Disabilities Division Director Val Huhn.

Starting wages now range between $9.50 and $10.50 an hour thanks to Missouri state lawmakers appropriating $20 million more in general revenue to providers. But advocates worry this isn’t enough to address the chronic worker turnover that affects the quality of care people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive.

“It’s just devastating, not having that reliable staff,” Huhn says. “Can you imagine constantly training somebody on how to brush your teeth if you can’t do that? I mean, just you’re just constantly teaching people how to help you.” 

Crisis levels 

Travis Anderson has spent about a year trying to find a personal care assistant. He’s 45, has a disability, and uses a power wheelchair to get around. 

Anderson works as a receptionist and self-directs his care, meaning he hires a worker and the state pays for it. While Anderson is looking, his aunt has stepped in. But she’s almost 70 and Anderson says he’s not sure how much longer she can do this. Travis Anderson interviewed five people for a personal care assistant job the day KCUR spoke with him. Anderson said once they found out the pay, none of them were interested.

Every time he thinks he’s found someone to hire, there’s an issue. Sometimes they can’t work the hours. Anderson needs help getting ready in the morning and then the worker would have to come back in the evening to help him get to bed. Other times they don’t pass the criminal background check. 

Nationally, the direct support workforce has reached crisis levels, according to a 2017 report by the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

“Not only does the crisis facing this workforce threaten people with intellectual disability and their families; it also undermines the stability, efficiency and ability to grow much needed long-term services and supports and, therefore, undermines the overall U.S. economy,” Jack Brandt, the committee’s chair, wrote. 

It’s been almost a year since Anderson’s aunt said she could help out for three months. Without his aunt, Anderson doesn’t know what he would do. He says his service coordinator wants him to consider going to a nursing home. 

“I don’t think I would fit very well into a nursing home,” Anderson says. “…When you envision how your life’s going to be, I mean, nursing home doesn’t even come up right now. But I’m really struggling to find good staff.”

The Developmental Disabilities Division doesn’t “encourage placements in nursing homes,” Debra Walker, the director of public affairs, said in an email. “ That being said, sometimes there are circumstances when a nursing home would be an appropriate placement.”

Walker said Anderson’s support coordinator is from a private organization and not a state worker. Walker said the state can’t speak to the specifics of the case, but generally, it’s “certainly important to have a support coordinator that is helpful and seeks out all the options.”

Anderson is two classes short of a bachelors degree in psychology but he said he’s had to put his future on hold. 

“I can’t very well get back in school when I literally don’t know from week to week or month to month how I’m getting out of bed,” Anderson says. “I mean, you have to prioritize.”

You have to really like this” Pagi Bowls and Rojai Morris both work at White Oaks, a residential home for people with developmental disabilities.CREDIT AVIVA OKESON-HABERMAN / KCUR 89.3

Rojai Morris got a pay raise because of the additional state funding. She works at White Oaks, a residential home for people with developmental disabilities. It’s run by the Center for Developmentally Disabled in Kansas City. CDD increased their starting wage for workers from $11 to $12.25.

The additional $1.25 an hour isn’t enough for Morris to quit her second job. Between her two jobs, she says she works 70 hours a week to get by. She says she loves her job but the long hours take a toll. 

“It kind of makes you want to second guess working in this field,” Morris says. “Is this really for me because of what I’m going through? I’m only 21 so I kind of look at it like I’m stressing going through this now. Is this where I see my future?”

Nationally, high turnover has been an issue for decades but a strong economy means workers can make more money at less demanding jobs, according to Amy Hewitt, the director of the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Hewitt says an aging population also means workers are serving people with more complex needs. 

“We continue to place higher expectations on this workforce,” Hewitt says. “So it really is a highly-skilled workforce. But we don’t talk about it that way. And we don’t support it as a highly-skilled workforce.”

“It’s heartbreaking” 

David Earls took care of his son Edward, who is nonverbal, for about thirty years. 

I like to think of myself as one of the shallowest, insignificant, heartless people ever created until I started caring for my son,” Earls says. “And luckily, my son has an enormous amount of patience. And so he’s been working with me for 33 years now.”

Earls was getting older and he wanted to make sure Edward would be taken care of, so about three years ago, he moved Edward to a residential home. Almost immediately, he noticed issues with turnover. 

“When you become attached or very fond of a staff member because you’ve seen this person interact with your son for three, four, five, six months, and then all of a sudden, they’re gone. It’s heartbreaking,” Earls says. “Because you know that there’s a relationship being formed there that positive for both Edward and the caregiver.”