When Michael Travisano was just five years old, he suffered a series of significant medical traumas. They left him with a lifetime of disabilities. The experience also left his family bewildered and concerned for young Michael’s future.
Throughout their journey with disability, Michael and his family were supported by Springbrook, a non-profit state-certified organization located in upstate New York, dedicated to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Offering a range of services and facilities to more than 1,000 families across New York State, Springbrook is a unique organization. From a residential school for children, to homes that are staffed 24 hours a day, to support staff and assistance for individuals living independently, Springbrook supports a diverse group of individuals and their families.
Springbrook was founded in 1925, and was originally established as an orphanage called the Upstate Baptist Home for Children. In 1966, the mission of the organization refocused to provide residential and educational services for children with developmental disabilities.
Over several decades, as the needs of clients have changed, Springbrook has steadily expanded its service offerings. Springbrook’s programs today include an integrated preschool, a residential school, adult community homes, site-based and community-based habilitation, employment services, unique housing options, respite, and recreational programs. In addition, Springbrook offers services such as Self-Directed Services and Service Coordination.
“When a family or an individual needs something, we have always been committed to taking on those needs — growing and changing with the people we support,” says Kira DeLanoy, Director of Marketing & PR for Springbrook. “There are a number of other organizations that offer similar programs to Springbrook but none that offer the comprehensive and unique programs to support a person from birth through to end of life.”
A big part of that support comes from Springbrook’s direct support professionals (DSPs), who represent more than 50% of the organization’s 1,400-person staff. “Our DSPs are responsible for supporting individuals who choose to receive support from Springbrook. This support includes daily living, socialization, community involvement, and even facilitating employment opportunities. A DSP plays an active role in whatever an individual requires to live, to do, to be, or to participate in. These members of our staff are the heart of our organization,” says Chris Hulbert, Director of HR for Springbrook.
DSPs come to Springbrook in many ways, from other organizations, after retirement, and often right out of high school. Springbrook then provides them with 90 hours of training to become skilled, supplemented by ongoing training through an individual’s career with the organization. “As you might imagine, our industry experiences quite a high turnover rate,” says Chris. “Retention is a key metric for Springbrook as there is a lot of burnout in the DSP world. We are constantly working to keep people engaged and to maintain a high standard of care, making engagement and recognition two important areas of focus for us.”
Springbrook’s strong person-centered culture is built from the ground up. “We look for candidates who exhibit professionalism. We look for a positive attitude, patience, and understanding and compassion for people in our care, and a willingness to be that go-to person for our residents, students, and clients,” explains Kira.
Once Springbrook has found the right hire with the right attitude, the organization then invests in that person. “We want to give staff room to grow and develop in their careers,” says Justin Frost, HRIS Manager for Springbrook. “So, we offer an extensive internship program with local colleges, and qualified staff have the opportunity to earn their Master’s degree while Springbrook pays the bill. We fund one program in particular that enables a person to become Board-certified in behavioral analysis. We are keen to invest back in the employee.” He notes that there are plenty of examples of individuals who joined Springbrook as a DSP only to progress up the ranks, including himself.
Finally, Springbrook provides staff with a rich benefits package, which makes the job even more rewarding. Benefits for all full-time employees include health, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) retirement, life insurance, a minimum of 160 hours (20 days) of paid time off, and 64 hours (eight days) of paid sick time.
In January of 2017, Springbrook announced a game-changing $1.2 million investment in its staff with an across-the-board pay raise for DSPs, increasing their base pay up to New York State’s scheduled 2019 minimum wage for the Otsego County area.
In addition to raising the starting wage, the organization also increased all current DSP salaries by a minimum of $1.00 per hour. Direct support professionals at Springbrook, and across the state, shoulder an enormous amount of responsibility. They are educators, first responders, mentors, and advocates.
The salary increase undertaking was made possible by Springbrook’s use of Dayforce. “This was an across-the-board increase of a significant size and scale,” explains Wade Harman, Springbrook CFO. “With this initiative, there was a lot of data and recalculations required, taking into account individual staff members’ tenure, their current pay rate – we could not have done this without the Dayforce reporting tool.”
“The dedication of our staff to our mission is something that must be celebrated and recognized. It is important for our employees to know that their work has meaning. It is more than just clocking in and out every day. And as they grow and move up within our organization, we want to continually celebrate their initiative and drive,” says Justin Frost.
Over the years, Springbrook became the Travisano Family’s primary support system. Michael, now a college graduate, continues to be supported by Springbrook’s caring staff. His dad, Tom, underscores the importance of the organization to his son and their family, “Springbrook has provided us with an enormous amount of support. My hopes for Michael and for our family is that we can continue to develop in a productive way. Michael continues to have his challenges and he will continue to require significant support in a work environment. But he is an intelligent and articulate young man and is eager to explore vocational support opportunities with the help of the Springbrook team.”
Springbrook was using a legacy system that lacked core functionality required by the HR, IT, and Finance teams. Processes were not streamlined and there was significant manual data integration required, meaning the team was spending too much time on coordination and manual processes. Data was not always recorded properly, resulting in duplicate or missing forms. The organization’s inefficient HCM processes were holding back Springbrook’s future growth and creating a poor user experience.
Springbrook implemented Dayforce in 2015, including modules for HR, Workforce Management, Document Management, Dashboards, Onboarding, and Recruiting. The Dayforce solution provides Springbrook with a single application and one user record, offering the organization a one-stop-shop for managing the complete lifecycle of an employee, for time capture, check printing, and W2s.
Since implementing Dayforce, Springbrook’s HCM has become more efficient and streamlined. Dayforce is user-friendly, allowing Springbrook to reduce the workload of its payroll and management departments. There have been improvements in the internal audit control, tracking and visibility of employee data, and time processing payroll. Springbrook has been able to eliminate paper and manual processes. There is now one record and one user experience across all processes.
The Dayforce system was invaluable in enabling Springbrook to implement an across-the-board pay raise for its direct support professionals, positioning the organization as a first mover and leader in compensation for its industry in the state of New York.