It is important to note that workforce planning is not a static process that is completed when the
strategy is written and communicated. This is a dynamic process that involves constant measurement,
reassessment and adjustment. Human resource and child welfare management staff must regularly
analyze this information in order to anticipate or react quickly to changes in the organizational
composition or climate and to make adjustments as they become necessary.
A monitoring system provides feedback on workforce performance both internally and externally.
Feedback, in turn, is the driver of continuous improvement. Each goal should include measurable
objectives with timeframes, actionable steps and benchmarks against which to measure progress.
Determining which data are relevant and how to gather it is a critical monitoring function. It is
essential that the indicators selected for measurement are valid and reliable and that one area of
improvement is not negatively impacting another area.
Example: An agency may have the goal of enhancing its credibility in the community by increasing the credentials of its leadership. Highly credentialed supervisory and management staff may be recruited from outside the agency. This could have the unintended consequence of a high le vel o f tu rnover and the loss of experienced front-line program staff if staff
begins to fee l devalued and perceive no potential for professional growth with in the agency. The agency’s ability to provide effective services maybe diminished, impacting its credibility and further exacerbating the issue by undermining its ability to recruit qualified staff.
Monitoring Worforce Plan Objectives
Workforce planning must monitor the effectiveness of recruitment initiatives and outcomes,
retention efforts and turnover and staff development and training. Exit interviews, salary surveys
and other questionnaires can track whether adjustments to the workforce plan are needed to build
and retain a highly competent workforce. Measuring the completion of action steps is necessary but
not sufficient. Effective monitoring requires that measurement must, ultimately, speak to effects
on client outcomes. Data must be reviewed regularly and objectively to determine if the workforce
strategy is improving outcomes for children, youth and families.
Example : It is not enough to assume that completing a training course will enhance
performance. Whatever the worker has learned must be applied in case situations and is
only valuable if it improves client outcomes. If all staff a retrained in family
engagement skills and apply them effectively , the agency should, in the short run, see an increase in
the number of clients participating voluntarily in parenting skills programs and other
preventive activities; in the long term, success will be measured in terms of reduced rates of repeat maltreatment.
Monitoring Service Delivery and Outcomes
Agencies need a systematic method for examining case processing activities to assess service
delivery quality or compliance with practice standards. Quality Assurance units, Child and Family
Service Reviews and audits provide data on how the workforce plans are impacting the achievement of
improved outcomes for children, youth and families.
Effects of Monitoring on the Workforce
Monitoring in child welfare can have complex effects on the climate of the organization and the
capacity of the workforce, depending on the culture of the agency. The need to support workers and
establish a doable job has been well documented. It is ultimately important that the monitoring in
child welfare conveys the common purpose of supporting workers as well as holding them accountable
for service delivery.
Example: Routine failure to close investigations in a timely manner, complete case plans
or make monthly contacts with clients shows that agency practice standards are not
being met. But this requires further analysis of the underlying cause. It maybe an indication that work force capacity is inadequate or that work force management is an issue at the agency, unit or individual level.
Agencies can benefit from systematic efforts to routinely: 1) monitor service delivery performance
relative to established practice standards; 2) estimate if the agency’s current workforce capacity
is adequate to meet those practice standards; and 3) assess how to leverage strengths and
opportunities to cope with challenges and be alert to emerging issues that may promote or impede
the plans success.