Building Blocks for Behavioral Health Recruitment and Retention Overview

The Recruitment and Retention Toolkit includes nine chapters to sharpen skills in identification, selection and retention of staff to build a better workforce. Each chapter contains sub-sections and resources that are geared toward building or maintaining effective recruitment and retention practices. Materials can be accessed through the chapters, table of contents, back links and through a search of key words. Included in the materials are samples, worksheets, guidelines, tips and related content and resources for the reader to download or modify. In line with the Web site’s aggregator mission, the recruitment and retention content is gathered from many contributors and from across the web. Readers may be linked to either selected external Web pages determined to be the best known content or examples of the topic or linked to original information housed within this Web portal. Some content is specific to behavioral health. Other is more generic and applies to all employees. All information has been distilled to offer selected practices toward building or retaining a more effective behavioral health workforce. Our readers are encouraged to provide feedback and suggest materials, reviews, articles, forms, case studies and other information to augment current resources.

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit Chapters

This chapter provides a six step process with Quick Tools to help organizations identify a recruitment or retention problem and select an intervention as part of building a corrective plan. Depending on the organizational need, the steps can be followed to completion or used separately. The goal is to identify the organization’s need through research and review, choose a strategy and build a plan which includes an intervention. Eight additional intervention chapters covering recruitment, selection, orientation, career development, supervision, recognition, training and support provide guidance for action after the plan is developed and offer a course of action. These intervention chapters can be used independent of an organized plan.
This chapter deals with the process of attracting capable applicants to apply to the organization for employment. The first installment is the Realistic Job Preview (RJP), a recruiting process that provides the employment candidate with a clear idea of the position. This RJP Quick Tool includes benefits of the RJP; steps; resources for gathering information; behavioral health case studies; and the RJP in relation to the job description. Additional recruitment strategies will be added.
This chapter promotes effective methods of choosing and hiring the most appropriate person for the position from the pool of available candidates.
The basics of effective orientation are covered. Sections include the benefits and difference between orientation and onboarding; easing the transition of new staff; the use of the buddy system; and generational considerations.
This chapter offers a concept of supervision as a collaborative process that promotes the organization’s goals and helps staff grow.  It includes an overview of supervision styles; barriers to supervision; coaching to increase performance; emotional intelligence and its impact on supervision; successful communication styles; tips on motivating employees; culturally competent supervision; and tools to build skills in conflict negotiation, team building and managing multi-generations.
This chapter clarifies the use of formal and informal employee recognition and reward programs. Topics include philosophies of motivation, relationships, and positive reinforcement; effective ways to reward staff; using recognition as a management tool; and the employee suggestion program as an element of recognition.
This chapter focuses on effective training strategies as an essential component of staff retention and development. Sections cover analyzing needs; delivery and approach; keys to successful training; using vendor-developed training; designing and developing customized training; and evaluation methods.
This chapter deals with how the organization can structure the career progress of their employees by setting up an effective system to manage employee careers within the organization.
In order to increase staff retention, information in the Support Chapter provides effective behavioral health workforce strategies. One area of expressed concern is dealing with stress. The Frustration, Stress and Compassion Fatigue/Burnout sections provides key strategies, resources, and tools on the related topics of employee frustration, including how to reduce frustration and retain staff; the impacted of stress and methods to reduce it; and insight into compassion fatigue – what it is, how to spot it and treat it. It explains the difference between stress and burnout, defines stress phases and how stress is measured. This section also has extensive wellness information specific to the behavioral health workforce. Additional support topic installments will be added according to reader suggestions.

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