All MDS employees receive PHI-DirectConnect training in one of these three areas:
◘ Coaching Approach to Supervision
◘ Peer Mentoring
◘ Coaching Approach to Communications
Within the first week of work, new employees receive a call from a Peer Mentor, who will meet with them regularly for the first few months of employment. Peer Mentors are available to answer any questions or direct new employees to the right person with whom to talk.
PHI’s Coaching Approach to Supervision uses skill-based training in which supervisors learn to:
◘ Support direct care staff while also holding them accountable.
◘ Build constructive, positive relationships that allow managers and supervisors to enhance their communication skills with their supervisors, peers and direct care staff.
◘ Provide the tools to assist direct care workers within their organization to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills of their own.
PHI’s Peer Mentoring helps:
◘ Strengthen communication and care-giving skills of new direct care staff through on-the-job peer support.
◘ Improve the quality of care by reinforcing a culture of communication, respect and problem solving.
◘ Increase retention of new staff by developing in-house resources to help them feel more secure and less isolated.
◘ Improve morale by showing experienced direct care staff that their knowledge and experience is valued.
PHI’s Communication and Problem Solving helps:
◘ Improve the workplace environment by providing a shared framework, common skill-set, and language to help create a more inclusive and relationship-centered culture.
◘ Improve teamwork, by enhancing communication between peers as well as across differences of discipline, race, class, and culture.
◘ Enhance the quality of care by equipping staff with a set of practical communication tools that strengthen their ability to listen and collaborate with those they care for and to ensure independence, choice and full engagement with others.
Why the Coaching Approach and Peer Mentoring?
In March of 2011, Monadnock Developmental Services was awarded a three-year project funded by the US Department of Labor and administered by the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability to address multiple issues concerning current and projected workforce shortages, training, and retention of NH’s Direct Care Workforce. To address the needs of direct care staff in the home care industry DirectConnect has partnered with PHI.
PHI is a nationally recognized leader in the efforts to strengthen the long term direct care workforce. PHI’s training offers both home- and facility-based providers the skills to manage change and create dynamic relationship-centered organizations that better serve older adults, people with disabilities and their families.
According to research conducted by PHI, most turnover among direct-care workers occurs in the first few months of employment. Using a peer mentor approach to provide additional support to new direct care staff will help lower stress, develop their confidence, and equip them with the skills they need to build positive relationships with clients, their families, and other staff.
At the same time, experienced direct care staff who are promoted or become mentors have the opportunity to lead, grow professionally, and advance their careers. It is this dynamic that makes peer mentoring an effective strategy.