Christie is an active and independent young woman. She loves to swim, volunteer, and spend time outdoors. She’s also deafblind. Christie was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at birth that causes low vision and hearing. For her whole life, she’s had to balance her desire for autonomy and independence with her need for support.
When Christie started receiving support from DeafBlind Ontario Services, that balance became much easier to achieve. With the help of an intervenor, Christie moved into a home that is suited to her unique needs. Her intervenor has helped her hone her communication skills, participate in her community, and pursue the activities that bring her joy. They’re an indispensable resource that make it possible for Christie to live a fuller life.
We know that the majority of what we experience of the world is captured and filtered by our five senses. But did you know that 95% of what we learn comes from our eyes and ears alone? When you’re deafblind, the world can feel further away, and much harder to reach.
The hundreds of professionally trained intervenors at DeafBlind Ontario Services act as the “eyes” and “ears” of people with deafblindness, like Christie, at 21 residential locations across the province of Ontario. They help people achieve higher levels of independence, build life skills, communicate, and be active participants in their daily lives. And they help relieve pressure on families and guardians, too.
DeafBlind Ontario Services was founded in 1989 by a group of parents who set out to lobby the provincial government for funding for community based supported living programs to commence when their children completed their education. The organization has been growing ever since, empowering people with deafblindness to achieve their goals and dreams.
This growth has created a great impact in the community, and some interesting challenges for the organization’s small HR team, located in Newmarket, Ontario. Effectively managing remote staff and providing easy-to-use communication channels is just one part of the puzzle. Meeting the demand for intervenors, and providing them with adequate training, is another.
Only one college in Ontario certifies intervenors, so the organization has developed and delivers its own curriculum and training opportunities. This has created significant pressure to retain employees once they are trained, and to provide appropriate support and career development opportunities. DeafBlind Ontario Services’ HR team needed a system that could help them accelerate the recruitment process and keep track of training and development opportunities.
Alyssa Young is the Director of Human Resources. She’s been with the organization for seven years and has seen a lot of growth and change over that time. The organization needed a more robust solution that could solve their recruitment and training challenges. DeafBlind Ontario Services wanted to bring scheduling and payroll into one system to ease the data entry burden on busy frontline staff and reduce errors on the back end. They wanted a system to automate onboarding and orientation for employees and students, that would be able to keep up with their scheduling, reporting, and workforce planning. Dayforce checked all the boxes. DeafBlind Ontario Services migrated in 2013 and haven’t looked back.
“We use Dayforce for recruiting, HR, scheduling, payroll, and tracking our employee information – pretty much everything. We live in the system,” says Young. “It's a one-stop shop for us. We can use information from payroll and track it in scheduling because everything is speaking the same language. It helps with our accuracy and efficiency, and cuts down on administrative errors that we had from using multiple systems.”
Prior to Dayforce, it took two days for the team to process payroll. Just running a payroll preview alone could take up to two hours. Corrections for errors caused further delays, as a new payroll preview had to be generated. The time lost was significant, and led to stress on employees, and missed opportunities. “I used to spend my day running payroll previews to make sure payroll was accurate,” remembers Young. “But since our migration to Dayforce, our payroll has gone from two days to two hours on the HR side of the process.”
While the time savings has been a positive change, Young says the biggest win for the team has been having access to historical workforce data to track employee pay increases, attendance records, time off, changes in work location, and other key information. DeafBlind Ontario Services’ previous multi-system set-up made it challenging to store and access historical information on employees and events. With Dayforce, that information is now all in one place.
“Our a-ha moment was seeing all the access to information that we have,” says Young. “Compared to what we had in the past, this is drastically different. We can create any report we want with the data that we have within the system. It helps us move fast. We can use Dayforce to help us view important employee information, and we know it's accurate because it all came from a single system.”
Dayforce has also made recruiting and retention easier for Young and her team. Having their workforce information centralized in one place makes it easier to post vacant positions quickly. Automating onboarding and training through the system has also saved the team time and ensured that new hires are receiving a consistent experience.
DeafBlind Ontario Services strives to enrich the lives of the people they work with, allowing them to thrive. Dayforce is helping them live that mission, says Young: “Dayforce helps us ensure that our culture is shown throughout the organization.” With a robust and trusted system in place, the organization can now focus on building a positive and open work culture, and staff can focus on supporting clients and their families to live the fullest lives possible.