Should Behavioral Health Organizations Use Position Management?

May 1, 2022

Position management: co-workers looking at a laptop

Within behavioral health and human services organizations, each position is essential to maintain a high level of care for the people being served. From the administrative support staff to the direct patient care providers, all employees work together to deliver a positive end-to-end patient experience. However, managing all of these positions can be a challenge for administrators.

In order to provide proper care and maintain a safe environment for patients, it’s vital to maintain adequate staffing levels and ensure that each employee has the right credentials for their position. Many behavioral health organizations choose to use position management to do this more effectively.

What Is Position Management and What Data Does It Provide?

Position management is a talent management approach that helps organizations define and manage the positions that make up their company. With position management, human resources can define each position, manage the necessary headcount, and get a clear picture of the current organizational structure. 

Many human capital management (HCM) systems incorporate position management features. Typically, position management tools allow administrators to define specific position attributes within the HCM for each role. These attributes can include a variety of position data such as the position number, department, compensation range, job descriptions, and position within the organizational structure. This can allow the human resources team or administrators to view data based on position rather than by the individual employee. 

Tracking specific position attributes can help you manage credential and education requirements, pay ranges, and internal workflows such as approval processes. 

How Does Position Management Differ From Position Control?

Position management: employees working together

As you shop for an HCM solution, you’ll likely see HCMs that offer position management features and some that provide Position Control. These terms are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably, and it's essential to understand the differences between them to find the system that will work best for your organization.

While position management features within HCM systems draw from employee-based systems, Position Control uses positions as the foundation of the HCM system for a more comprehensive approach. Rather than looking at data based solely on individual employees, position management allows you to input and track a large amount of data related to each position.

Administrators can also review data and pull reports based on position, such as “addiction counselor” or “registered nurse” to track labor costs and staffing levels. Position Control enables you to harness this data and use it in a more meaningful way since the positions make up the core framework of the entire system.

Employee-Based vs. Position-Based

Because position management is most commonly offered as a component of an otherwise employee-based system, the position attributes are still largely tied to your current employees. When an employee is let go or chooses to leave the organization, the position based on this employee may no longer exist in your system if they were the only one with their specific job title. If you want to hire someone into that role at a later time, you may have to reenter all of the position attributes associated with that role.

With Position Control, you can create and define roles for vacant positions before hiring and retain information about a particular position even if the employee has left and that position doesn’t currently exist in your organization. 

Data Tracking

Position Control also gives you more substantial data tracking capabilities. While position management lets you view each employee’s history, Position Control also allows you to look back at the position’s history. This will enable you to track changes for the position over time, including staffing levels, compensation, and credentialing requirements — separate from the individual employees that filled it. 

This can give human resources clearer insights into each position. For example, it may be helpful to analyze labor costs for a specific position across all employees who have held it over the past several years when you are trying to forecast your budget for the next year. 

Real-time reporting is also available with Position Control. With real-time reporting, you can review whether you are on track with the forecasted labor costs by viewing actual costs against your budgeted labor costs. This may not be hugely important for traditional for-profit, office-based businesses with most of their staff on salary. However, it’s crucial for behavioral health and human services fields, where it’s more common for employees to work overtime, receive shift differentials, and adjust their schedules to meet the urgent needs of patients or service recipients. 

Internal Transfers and Workflow Management

One area where Position Control outshines position management is when managing internal transfers or workflows. The mental health and addiction services field has an employee turnover rate of 30%, and the behavioral health field overall has internal transfer rates that can reach up to 29%. This effectively means that employees are consistently leaving or moving within the organization. 

With Position Control, managing this is relatively simple. When you hire a new employee to fill an open role or an employee moves into a different position within the organization, they can inherit all of the previously defined attributes of that position in the HCM system. This eliminates unnecessary data entry and streamlines the process. It also ensures that the proper attributes are inherited and filled in, such as credential requirements. 

Position Control is also great for ensuring seamless workflows, as managerial responsibilities simply flow up to the next person in the organizational chart. If a department leader leaves, the organizational chart provides a clear picture of who should cover those responsibilities so that the chain of command is never broken.This ensures that there’s no disruption when getting timesheets approved or confusion on who employees should speak to for assistance.

Which Option Is Best for Behavioral Health Organizations?

Woman talking to a counselor

Behavioral health care organizations have their own unique needs and challenges. To start, it’s a highly regulated industry with strict compliance requirements. The behavioral health field also faces increased staffing difficulties. As such, behavioral health organizations will want to choose Position Control to make use of the stronger budgeting, hiring, and workflow management features. 

Businesses with lower turnover or more individualized job roles may find that position management may suffice, but this is not usually the case for behavioral health organizations. It can be less critical to define, budget for, and standardize hiring requirements for each position in a traditional corporate environment. For-profit organizations may adjust corporate staff roles based on each employee’s skill sets and interests, as well as the current business needs, and don’t necessarily need positions to remain clearly defined across the board. 

However, in behavioral health, each position has its own specific licensing requirements and training that will determine what job tasks each employee can safely and legally complete when providing patient care. As such, job positions need to be more clearly defined — and you need to be more diligent in reviewing hiring needs for open positions to ensure that proper staffing coverage is maintained.

Harness the Power of Position Control With ContinuumCloud

It’s best to find a solution that is built with Position Control functionality and behavioral health needs at its core. Many HCMs offer position management as an add-on; however, those systems are still largely employee-based and won’t give you the detailed insights and features that you need to fully reap the benefits of Position Control. 

ContinuumCloud’s HCM offers Position Control tools built specifically for behavioral health organizations. With in-depth reporting features, you can get a clearer picture of your overall workforce in order to better manage and allocate your resources. 

Contact us today to learn more about how to harness the power of Position Control for your organization.

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