An Arkansas law enacted in 2022 required the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop and implement a plan for measuring and improving employee engagement among employees of its Human Development Centers (HDCs), which provide residential and rehabilitative services to nearly 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities and chronic, severe mental health issues.
The stated goals were to solicit and act on employee feedback regarding their levels of engagement, workplace climate, development opportunities, job satisfaction, and areas for improvement. DHS was also tasked with developing strategies for improvements that could eventually be modeled and implemented across its other 28 divisions.
Guidehouse was engaged by the Arkansas DHS’s Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) to support these pilot efforts to improve HDC workforce engagement.
Guidehouse used a collaborative, human-centered design approach to engage and understand the voices of frontline employees and identify the greatest opportunities for improving recruitment, retention, and engagement. These included:
Through these collaborative efforts, HDC leaders and staff have implemented initiatives that have improved retention and achieved staffing levels not seen since before the pandemic. Highlights include:
“I commend HDC and DDS staff, pillar teams, and Guidehouse experts on coming together to ensure new practices all across the board,” said Tammy Benbrook, DDS assistant director and HDC liaison. “This whole process will enhance the services we provide to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Arkansas. I look forward to this being one of the best places to have a rewarding career.”
According to Kerry Gambill, superintendent of the Arkadelphia Human Development Center, “Guidehouse has been immensely valuable in guiding our multiple divisions in listening to each other and moving forward as a unified, goal-oriented team.”
Guidehouse is currently building a workforce dashboard to track position vacancies, overall voluntary turnover, first-year voluntary turnover, and promotions so that the executive team can connect improvements to outcomes.
Complexity demands a trusted guide with the unique expertise and cross-sector versatility to deliver unwavering success. We work with organizations across regulated commercial and public sectors to catalyze transformation and pioneer new directions for the future.