Fred Finch Youth & Family Services Offers Innovative Incentives to Attract New Employees

Sign-on Bonuses, Flex Benefit Options and Paid Tuition Pave Way to Attract and Retain Quality Talent in Tight Job Market.

As demand for qualified mental and behavioral health clinicians grows, the talent pool continues to shrink, prompting Fred Finch Youth & Family Services to get creative in an effort to attract and retain qualified employees.

“Frankly, we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Lois Woods, Senior Director of Human Resources for Fred Finch. agencies like ours are in competition with major healthcare brands for the same limited resources, making it challenging to not only get qualified applicants, but also to keep current staff from being lured away by a larger institution.”

Fred Finch has taken a creative approach to attracting and retaining talent at both its Oakland and San Diego campuses, including sign-on bonuses, monthly flex dollars for employees, opportunities for tuition assistance and annual funding for job-related education and training.

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As education costs for becoming a clinician have steadily risen over the past several years, Fred Finch is finding ways to help eligible employees cover those costs. “Within six-month of services, employees are eligible to apply for the Education Support Programs (ESP) with two separate programs: Degree Assistance Program (DAP) which currently provides five eligible staff members the opportunity to receive $10,000 towards their tuition for a year,” said Woods.

The second program is the Education Fees Advancement Program (EFAP) designed to encourage and support Fred Finch employees to pursue education and career advancement by providing $1,000 per fiscal year towards their job-related education or additional training that is not offered through the agency’s training program.

Fred Finch employees are eligible to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program while working full time with the agency. “We’ve had a lot of passionate and talented clinicians come work with us not only because of our amazing benefits package but also the supervision hours required for licensure and loan forgiveness are a plus, many of those clinicians are still with us,” said Woods.

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Fred Finch is also doubling down to retain staff. After extensive meetings with employees, they learned they needed to do a better job meeting staff’s varied financial needs so they created a new program.

“We recognized that while some staff are struggling with the burden of student loan debt, others are in need of childcare, or additional retirement savings, so we created The Flex Benefit Program,” Woods said.

The Fred Finch Flex Benefit Program is an additional $150 per month given to all full-time staff (prorated for part-time) that can be used for the pre-tax benefit of the employee’s choosing whether that’s paying down student loan debt, covering childcare, or contributing to their 401k.  Employees can also choose to include it in their paycheck as additional, taxable income.

“With the high cost of living, and the abundance of employment opportunities currently on the market, we have to do all we can to offer working conditions that are not only professionally and personally rewarding, but also supportive of our staff’s needs,” Woods said.

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