Incentives, Wages, and Retention Among Direct Support Professionals: National Core Indicators Staff Stability Survey

Intellect Dev Disabil. 2022 Apr 1;60(2):113-127. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-60.2.113.

Abstract

Direct support professionals (DSPs) provide a range of supports in a variety of settings to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who count on these supports to live, work, and contribute in their communities. Despite this, high annual DSP turnover rates are problematic. DSP turnover is disruptive to people who receive supports as the lack of stable, reliable supports can negatively impact their important day-to-day outcomes (e.g., safety, community participation, and choice). Turnover also comes at a cost to provider organization in the hiring and training of new employees. To retain DSPs, organizations offer incentives (e.g., bonuses, retirement plans, health insurance). This study utilized National Core Indicators® (NCI®) Staff Stability Survey 2018 data to examine the relationships between wages, different types of incentives, including benefits (e.g., paid time off, access to health insurance, disability insurance, wage bonuses, health incentives programs, etc.) to annual turnover in participating states in the United States. Results indicated that incentives were not positively associated with DSP retention. Staff wages were the most notable factor associated with differences in DSP retention rates, along with the state in which the organization was located as well as organization vacancy rates.

Keywords: IDD; National Core Indicators; direct support professional; incentives; turnover.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Motivation
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States