Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

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.


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