By TIMOTHY MAGAW, Crain’s Cleveland Business August 5, 2017:

According to Koinonia Homes, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are far more likely to fulfill their life dreams if they have well-trained, experienced and, most importantly, motivated people at their side.

In the industry, those individuals are commonly known as direct support professionals —a role that inherently faces a significant amount of turnover. That’s where the HR team at Koinonia, a 43-year-old non-profit serving more than 500 adults in Northeast Ohio, comes into play.

The statistics perhaps tell the story best. According to the nomination, the industry average turnover rate for direct support professionals, or DSPs, is 75%. Contrast that with Koinonia’s 72% retention rate among its DSPs. Moreover, the organization boasts an 82% retention rate for those hired in 2016.

“Their approach has a very personal touch. They lead efforts to train, equip, and support our DSP’s to perform their best and are working to develop a culture of excellence at Koinonia,” the organization’s president and CEO, Diane Beastrom, wrote in the nomination.

Also, the HR team identified four areas for improvement in leadership qualities and soft skills among the organization’s front-line supervisors. The group worked with Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College to create a curriculum and conduct training for 48 of its supervisors that “bolstered their leadership, professionalism, and interpersonal effectiveness, while also addressing competencies specific to serving people who have developmental disabilities,” according to the nomination.

The team also conducted an analysis of Koinonia’s benefits package, which resulted in savings of nearly $500,000. Savings were used to create a new merit-based reward program that provided bonuses to all Koinonia employees based on their 2016 performance.

In 2016, the Koinonia HR team included Mary Miles, chief people officer; Carol Harnett, HR manager; Michelle Meyer, talent acquisition manager; Tom Sigman-Caple, manager of compensation and HR; Vanessa Lee, organizational learning manager; Carmen Gandarilla, organizational learning manager; Margaret Sullivan, benefits, compensation and compliance specialist; Paula Siefert, HR benefits and compliance generalist; and Sheree Carroll, HR administrative coordinator.

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