DSP Recruiting Strategies: How to Attract the Staff You Want

To successfully compete in today’s talent market, disability service agencies should start thinking like tech companies.

Nap pods. Ping pong tables. Pet-friendly offices. Perks like these have become common — expected, even — at tech companies like Google, Netflix, and Spotify.


However, these perks  haven’t completely caught on in other industries — which is why offering them could be  the perfect opportunity to make your disability service agency stand out. 


Forward-thinking leaders know that raising wages alone isn’t enough to attract the staff you want. Today, you’ve got to focus on the employee experience. 


But don’t just take our word for it — here are a few stats that underscore the importance of employee experience:


  • Only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace [Gallup]
  • Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies [Corporate Leadership Council]
  • 47% of workers actively looking for a job say that they would prefer working for a company with an established and thriving culture [Smarp]
  • Companies that invest in the employee experience have 4x higher profits than those that don’t [HBR]
  • Nearly two-thirds of employees (62.3%) want perks or benefits more than they want a pay raise [Staples]


So while you might not be able to compete with Google or Netflix in terms of pay, there are other ways to appeal to potential candidates. It all comes down to treating your employees like customers too, and making each interaction a positive experience. Below are 15 ways to do that:

1. Communicate your mission

Employees are attracted to companies with a strong purpose and values. That’s good news for disability service agencies — if you do a good job of highlighting what your organization stands for. It’s vital that your mission is clear to prospective employees from the moment they visit your website, view your application, or step into your office.

2. Brand your business

Branding isn’t just for your clients. It also lets potential employees know what to expect from your company. Everything from your company colors and logo to your website and even your annual report sends a message of what your organization is about and why they should become a part of your mission.

3. Allow employees to work from home

After the pandemic is over, many employees want to continue working from home at least part of the time — making this an incredibly attractive perk for potential new hires. In fact, nearly two-thirds of employees said they would choose a permanent work-from-home arrangement over a pay raise! Many individuals and their families also want to continue with remote services, so expanding offerings like these are a win-win for everyone.

4. Offer flexible work arrangements

In addition to remote work, there are plenty of other ways employers can give their staff more flexibility. For example, many companies have ditched the traditional 9-to-5 and are allowing employees to set their own schedules. In the disability services industry, this could translate to allowing DSPs to schedule their own appointments so they can drop off their kids for school or avoid rush hour traffic. It could also mean offering longer shifts but fewer days (e.g., 12-hour shifts), or allowing workers to bid on open shifts and trade with coworkers.

5. Provide volunteer opportunities

Incentivizing volunteering at a local soup kitchen, hosting a coat drive, or planting trees is a great way to give back even more to your community and live out your company’s core values. Offering paid volunteer opportunities will attract candidates who share a similar mindset, and improve feelings of connection and belonging within their community.

6. Team activities in the breakroom

Being a DSP can be emotionally draining at times, so it’s important to have ways for employees to kick back and relax. Puzzles, pool tables, mini golf, and basketball are all fun ways for staff to unwind together in common spaces — and they’ll wow any prospective employees touring your facility.

7. Food and snacks

It turns out that the way to new employees’ hearts is through their stomachs: 48% of employees said they would weigh company benefits and perks, including the  availability of snacks, in choosing their next job. Stocking the breakroom with free coffee and fun creamers, a variety of teas, or a seltzer machine is an easy way to impress employees. If you want to take things a step further, set out a basket of healthy treats or fill your freezer with ice cream and frozen yogurt for team members on the go. 

8. Create a welcoming work space

Picture this: You’re working at your sleek standing desk, surrounded by plants and natural light, with your puppy snoozing at your feet. Who wouldn’t want to come to work in an office like that? As offices reopen, think about how you can make your workplace feel more like home for your team members. Or, if employees work remotely, consider offering a stipend for them to furnish their home office or offset costs of essentials like their Wi-Fi. 

9. Transition to a tech-friendly office

If you still have one, it may be time to scrap your cell phone policy and start thinking about how tech can add to, rather than take away from, your team’s work. Let employment consultants meet with clients over FaceTime, or teach individuals to use Facebook to connect with their community. Along the same lines, consider reimbursing employees for tech purchases like iPads and headphones that help them do their jobs more effectively.

10. Provide lifestyle perks

Having a healthy work-life balance is important not just for attracting but also for retaining employees. Gym passes, yoga classes, free childcare, onsite massages, and nap rooms are just a few wellness perks employees will love. And of course, offering more flexible work arrangements like split shift schedules will make it easier for employees to stay healthy and get enough shut eye.

11. Negotiate employee discounts

Basic essentials like groceries are getting more expensive every day. However, many businesses offer employee discounts that can save your staff big bucks at no extra cost to you. Discounts on food, restaurants, mobile phone plans, home and auto insurance, and gas are valuable perks that will help you attract new employees.

12. Recognize employees for their accomplishments

Imagine pulling up to an office for an interview and seeing an “Employee of the Month” parking space right by the front door. You’d probably want to work there, right? Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, whether that’s with prizes, shout-outs during your team meetings, or a simple thank you.

13. Celebrate a job well done

Work hard, play hard” is a theme among the most desirable companies to work for. It makes sense: Having fun builds camaraderie and reduces stress. Host an epic holiday party that employees will look forward to every year, where everyone dresses up and you hand out door prizes. Or, think outside the box and throw a murder mystery party, host a Turkey Trot, go ice skating or sledding, or visit an escape room. You can also have staff celebration days throughout the year like pajama day, ugly sweater day, or bring your pet to work day.

14. Start an employee referral program

By now, you’ve probably heard the saying “a happy customer is the best advertising”. The same goes for happy employees. If you treat your current employees right, they’ll reward you by referring their friends. You can even spur this along by offering cash bonuses for employees who refer quality candidates who stay past a certain length of time.

15. Cultivate employee ambassadors

An employee ambassador is exactly what it sounds like: a representative of your company who helps spread the word about your mission and recruit new team members. They’re usually already loyal employees who know and love the company. Employee ambassadors help promote your company by leaving positive reviews on recruiting sites, sharing company updates on their social media networks, wearing your company t-shirt in their everyday life, and telling friends and family about opportunities at the company.

The bottom line

You don’t have to be a tech giant to attract top talent. All you need to do is focus on your employees and your mission, make your workplace a fun place to be, and offer the perks that people want from an organization.

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