Share This Post

Koinonia’s Coaching Program Helps Prepare New DSPs  

Submitted By: Gena Hart, Lead Organization Learning Specialist, Koinonia Homes Inc.

Koinonia Homes Inc. strives to create a safe and inclusive environment where individuals can come together to learn, share, and grow. We believe that our direct support professionals (DSPs) are the backbone of our organization and we are committed to supporting them in any way we can. We are dedicated to providing them with the tools and resources they need to be successful and to helping them reach their fullest potential. 

Our New Hire Coaching Program seeks to provide support and resources to our DSPs. The ultimate goal is to create a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve. In the coaching initiative, new hires get reinforced training that is provided during their orientation, are informed about resources that are available to them, and training goals are set and tracked for each site. 

The coaching initiative also provides mentorship opportunities to ensure that new hires have a supportive team to help them develop their skills and grow into their roles. Regular check-ins are conducted to ensure that goals are met and that employees are meeting their milestones.

The Impact Of The New Hire Coaching Program

Our New Hire Coaching Program has allowed us to improve our performance by streamlining our processes and increasing collaboration between departments. It has also helped us to identify new opportunities and create innovative solutions to difficult problems. Finally, it has enabled us to better serve our DSPs and build stronger relationships. 

By utilizing the coaching program, we have increased existing training utilization, promoted awareness of live events, including OADSP Frontline Supervisor, made employees aware of our internal intranet ‘K-nect’ or our Learning Management System (LMS) from Relias, and identified training gaps and strengths. 

“The New Hire Coaching Program has help provide me with great structure. I have managed to become more communicative, building a bond. I’ve been able to perform tasks efficiently – this has been very valuable!”

Nevaeh, DSP, Koinonia Homes Inc.

The program has resulted in a higher retention rate of DSPs, as well as an increase in job satisfaction. It has also enabled DSPs to develop a better understanding of their role, leading to improved job performance. Additionally, DSPs have reported feeling more supported and empowered in their positions. 

This has resulted in improved outcomes for people receiving services, and has also had a positive impact on employee morale. Overall, the program has been a success in helping DSPs become more effective in their roles. This has been reflected in the feedback we’ve received from DSPs. Many feel that the program has made a meaningful difference in their lives. We are confident that by continuing to invest in the development of DSPs, we can achieve even greater success in the years to come. 

Steps To Implement A New Hire Coaching Program

Organizations looking to replicate our efforts should focus on developing an effective support system for DSPs, investing in training and mentorship programs, and providing access to the latest technology. Additionally, organizations should prioritize creating an inclusive and safe working environment that values the contributions of DSPs. This can help to foster a sense of belonging, boost morale, and encourage DSPs to stay with the organization. Ultimately, this will create a positive and productive work culture that is beneficial to all. 

Here are specific action steps you can take to establish your own New Hire Coaching Program: 

  1. Touch base with new hires during last day of new hire orientation, before their release to the service location. 
  2. Use the new hire’s skills self-assessment to establish at least one S.M.A.R.T. goal
  3. Help to focus and address area(s) of concern during first 30 days. 
  4. Answer any questions they may have before going to the site location. 
  5. Use this time as an opportunity to reinforce available resources, such as your internal intranet. 
  6. Follow up after 30 days. 
  7. Determine whether S.M.A.R.T. goal(s) was accomplished. 
  8. Identify gaps and strengths in site-level training. 
  9. Reinforce availability of resources and provide coaching for issues that may have arisen. 

Challenges Involving The New Hire Coaching Program 

Organizations may face challenges in implementation due to communication difficulties or lack of resources. To prevent or confront these challenges, organizations should ensure that they have clear communication channels and adequate resources to support the initiative. They should also encourage open dialogue between management and DSPs to ensure that the initiative is successful. 

Organizations should also provide adequate training for staff to ensure that they are well-versed in the new system and should provide incentives for employees to stay motivated. Additionally, organizations should establish clear goals and objectives for the initiative and track progress to ensure that these goals are achieved. 

Finally, organizations should also develop a system of feedback from DSPs to ensure that their needs are being met and that they are satisfied with the initiative. This feedback should be taken into consideration when making decisions about the program.  

“The New Hire Coaching Program was amazing. It helped me so much and made me confident in myself and work ability.” 

Vanita, DSP, Koinonia Homes Inc.

About Koinonia Homes Inc.

Koinonia is Northeast Ohio’s leading agency dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and other complex conditions. Founded in 1974, Koinonia provides residential, adult day, and career services to more than 360 people, with a staff of over 450 professionals. Our service portfolio includes 19 licensed group homes, 50 supported and shared living arrangements, transportation services, and shared living options. 

Koinonia serves as a lifeline to true independence, health, meaningful employment, self-esteem, and community inclusion. You can learn more about Koinonia Homes Inc. by visiting the agency’s website: 

# # #

Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.