Caseload and Workload Management
Series: Issue Briefs|
Child Welfare Information Gateway. |
|Year Published: 2010|
Workload Studies and Other Tools
The process of caseload and workload management often begins with workload and time studies. These studies analyze how work is being done and how time is spent, and frequently compare the actual data with estimations of what is needed to deliver quality services and best practices. Workload studies can provide a foundation for:
- Determining how many workers are needed to handle cases effectively in different program areas and then setting caseload standards and staff allocations accordingly
- Understanding how much time workers spend on providing services to clients, documenting their work, completing other administrative tasks, traveling, etc., and then identifying more efficient processes and practices
- Exploring how various case characteristics (such as risk levels, number of siblings, immigrant status) can influence workload and assessing workflow implications (Tooman & Fluke, 2002)
- Managing work expectations, which can lead to higher work satisfaction and boost staff morale (Edwards & Reynolds, 2008)
- Justifying resource allocations and building stakeholder support for caseload/workload management strategies
Often working with expert consultants, many States and counties across the country have conducted workload studies using various methodologies to address their workforce issues. Several States are now moving from point-in-time studies to periodic and automated tracking of workloads and caseloads to inform ongoing workforce decisions. Analytic tools, like those used in Minnesota and New Jersey, serve as further supports to routinely assess caseload data and their implications for staffing and workflow management.
In other States and counties, however, it has not been feasible for cost, time, or other reasons to conduct workload studies. These jurisdictions can still improve their workforce management by learning from other workload study findings to approximate their staffing and workforce needs (Wagner, Johnson, & Healy, 2008).
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