Alice Saddy Organization Re-structuring Case Analysis

December 13, 2012

Alternative Organization Re-structuring Proposal

As has been discussed earlier one of the ways to restructure the organization is to have  six managers and have two teams assigned to one of the three need-based groups of people supported: high-need, nursing home, and regular SIL people supported. However, this approach may have its drawbacks. Support workers on the two teams assigned to high-need people supported will have the most physical and emotional strain leading to a quicker burnout. Also these teams would have to have more support workers on the team, since the people supported under their care require 24/7 support in most cases. So there will be disproportionately more support workers on those high-need teams under one manager supervision.

At the same time teams with lower-needs people supported, and managers of those teams, will have lesser workload. This structure may lead to considerable misbalance between the teams and the individual support workers. This in turn may lead to even quicker burnout of some support workers and interpersonal strain caused by perception of unfair workload distribution among the support workers.

Therefore, we suggest Alice Saddy consider alternative approach to restructuring organization. First, based on the historic data from the organization’s growth it appears that until recently the proportion of managers to support worker was around 1 to 9-11. Given the character of work and responsibilities of support workers and support service managers this number seems to be optimal for this particular kind of service.

However, with the increasing number of high-need people supported and therefore more hours required to provide their support, the teams up to 15 people could be allowed. Any more than that has already proved to be unmanageable in the present situation when support service supervisors try to manage up to 21 direct reports, plus workers from other teams if they are assigned to their specific people supported.

In that light the number of workers on the team has to be kept between 10-15 people. With current number of support workers being 89, there should be at least six teams, and support service managers respectively, and preferably – eight.

Each support worker will be assigned to one team and report only to one manager. This will eliminate cross-reporting confusion that is plaguing the organization now, and will straighten out the lines of communication.

Instead of dividing teams by need based groups it could be more efficient to assign the workload to each team with a mix of people supported from each of the need-based groups (high-need, nursing home, regular SIL), up to the maximum number of hours available from all the support workers on the team.

For example, if there are 10 support workers on the team, each working 35 hours a week, the maximum capacity of the team is 350 hours a week. Within these available hours the team could be assigned three-four high-need people supported, which would require 72-96 hours of support. The remaining hours would be allocated to the other two need groups.

With such organization, the team members will have enough opportunities for rotation between the various need-based groups to avoid the burnout. This will also allow the new support workers to get cross-training for each of the three supported people groups.

The Support Supervisors Managers will be responsible for a specific number of people supported and a finite number of direct support workers reports.

The new re-organized teams will have to take into account the existing relationships between the support workers and high-need people supported as much as possible. However, since currently some high-need supported people require between five and 15 support workers from different existing teams, not all the workers will be able to stay with their present assigned supported people. Therefore, close consideration needs to be given to maintaining as many as possible most meaningful emotional connections between the workers and supported people. In the long run it will actually be more beneficial for people supported as they will have exposure to 10-15 permanent workers, instead of all 89, as is theoretically possible now.

The role of Supervisor Support Services Manager will mostly remain unchanged. That person will be responsible for evaluating the needs of new people supported and assigning them to a team, based on the available capacity. Since support workers within a team will have exposure to different need-based groups of people supported, every team will essentially have sufficient expertise to support people with different support needs.

The Supervisor Support Manager will also be re-evaluating the changing needs of presently supported people and adjust the assignment of workers to teams, or assigning the supported people to another team, taken into consideration existing relationships.

All in all, the new proposed organizational structure will eliminate the existing cross-reporting problems, eliminate the communications bottlenecks, prevent the burnout of the support workers, improve the workload distribution, lift up the morale of support workers,  mitigate the risks to the people supported and to organization,  and therefore will improve the overall quality of services to people supported.