Using NIATx for Workforce Development

NIATx (formerly the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) is a well-known source for tools to improve clinical and business practices of behavioral health organizations.

NIATx techniques can improve workforce recruitment and retention.

Do a walk-through of your hiring process:

  • What is it like for the hiring manager?
  • What is it like for the candidates?
  • Is there idle time when a manager or a candidate is waiting?

One program found that the schedule for a required orientation made candidates wait weeks to start their job, even after all other requirements were satisfied. By offering orientations more often, the program saved valuable time in the hiring process.

Discuss the Four Questions to find out what really matters to your workers:

  • What do we do well here?
  • What could we do better?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What would make your experience better?

These questions can be discussed using Nominal Group Technique with small groups of staff at individual sites; or a survey asking the four questions can be done first, and then discussion can be focused on understanding the results and choosing change projects.

In one program, a leader surveyed staff at each program site, then returned to discuss the results. Staff were pleased with actions that were able to be taken, and glad to have the facts for those items that could not be addressed (yet).

Survey workers using a Behavioral Health Workforce Questionnaire adapted from the Gallup organization's Employee Engagement Survey. These 12 Questions address areas that are important to the most talented and productive workers.

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission of my company make me feel like my work is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, have I talked with someone about my progress?
  12. At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

Surveying can be done online using an online tool like Survey Monkey (which makes analyzing the data easier) or on paper.

In one program, asking the 12 questions led supervisors to focus more on recognition and encouragement.