Youth Dynamics boosts engagement thanks to Sage People

Nonprofit heals workforce engagement, morale, and wellbeing through Sage People insights

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Youth Dynamics






Not for profit

Youth Dynamics

Executive summary

Transforming HR by reimagining manual work

Youth Dynamics is a mental health agency that expanded from a small foster care organization 40 years ago to over 30 locations today. The nonprofit organization provides mental and behavioral health services, including child and family therapy, and therapeutic group homes for 4,000 youth spread across the U.S. state of Montana. With 600 distributed employees, continued growth, and frequent turnover of mentors and foster parents, the human resources team faces several obstacles in its efforts to unify, align, and engage an extended workforce. Previously, the team was hindered by tedious, inconsistent HR tools and processes before deciding to adopt more robust learning, timekeeping, and HR and People system.

Will Tedrow, HR Director at Youth Dynamics, remembers, “We had separate systems and spreadsheets that had been pieced together. Our old HRIS required a lot of manual work and couldn’t integrate with other HR systems, so we had to do triple or quadruple entry. We needed a solution that would streamline time-consuming tasks like applicant tracking, connect everything seamlessly, and prepare us for the future of HR with people analytics that could act as a unified ‘brain’ to inform decisions.” He continues, “We looked at Bamboo, Namely, and Paylocity, but in the end, we chose Sage People for its awesome workforce experience interface. I immediately saw the potential Sage People had to amplify what we call our ‘actively caring culture’ and get employees excited about it.”

By deploying Sage People, Youth Dynamics sped time-to-insight for HR data review by 75%, accelerated hiring decisions by 66%, and doubled employee survey engagement—gaining priceless visibility to fuel employee retention.

Automating the employee journey for efficiency and scale

Working with Sage People’s implementation team, Youth Dynamics established end-to-end workflows tailored to its unique needs, which made life drastically easier for not just the HR team, but for people managers and employees across the board. “Sage People created a one-stop-shop for our managers to do everything they need to do throughout the employee journey—from hiring to performance management and more,” says Tedrow. “We’ve already automated 40% of our operational processes since implementing the system last year, which has been fantastic.”

In particular, the organization improved what had been an inefficient recruiting process for hundreds of part-time mentors, 50-80% of whom turnover each year. By integrating Sage People with job posting software from Broadbean, Youth Dynamics made it easier for candidates to apply, saved the HR and People team 750 hours per year, and sped hiring decisions from 30 days to just ten. HR also achieved similar productivity improvements through timekeeping, payroll, and benefits integrations. “We used to dread doing anything in the old system because it was so hard to use and we had to transfer data via email and paper records,” notes Amy Stone, HR and Education Specialist at Youth Dynamics. “We’re now able to share information electronically without human intervention, thanks to automation, so payroll onboarding and open enrollment are instantaneous and 100% accurate. Sage People created a more positive work atmosphere and brought a whole new surge of energy to our HR team.”

Sage People’s powerful functionality has been able to free managers from cumbersome spreadsheets and paperwork via built-in online forms for performance management and development plans. Now that managers can better document and manage continuous conversations with a simple touch of a button, unemployment costs have dropped 90%— saving the organization $95,000 it can put towards mission-driven programs instead. Lastly, the system’s easy-to-use pulse surveys, peer recognition, and mobile-friendly self-service portal all enhance the employee experience. “Sage People helps us bring more intention to the kinds of details our employees need, so we really filter down to the most crucial communications,” shares Tedrow. “With the COVID-19 outbreak, about a third of our workforce are working from home, and Sage People is their lifeline. We’ve seen an uptick in usage, and it’s become a very effective tool for them.”

Enriching employee experiences through People insights

As a result of redirecting energy away from data entry, the HR and People team is serving Youth Dynamics’ mission in a deeper way, providing guidance to managers, and increasing their focus on employee retention and wellness. This benefits not just full-time professional staff, but mentors and foster parents as well. “We’ve never had a platform that our extended workforce got to be part of. Bringing everyone into Sage People to engage with each other and with us as a company shows that they’re a key part of the organization,” mentions Tedrow. “It also provides more visibility, so HR no longer feels like some walled-off fortress that people don’t really have access to.”

In addition, the HR and People team can dig deeper into performance management analytics than ever before. With fully automated employee engagement surveys on Sage People every quarter, as opposed to just once a year, response rates have doubled, and the organization can now access instant results as opposed to spending weeks compiling the data. Tedrow completed Youth Dynamics’ most recent HR data review in just two weeks, versus the eight weeks it used to take him. He uses Sage People to analyze productivity and progress towards organizational goals, performance review scores, employee demographics, career progression, and more, over a 10-year time range.

By more closely monitoring important trends like engagement and performance metrics in Sage People, the HR and People team can predict leavers and drill into specific locations to better understand employee needs. “Earlier this year, we noticed a morale problem centered around one specific position,” recalls Tedrow. “Using that insight, we were able to evaluate the situation quickly and decided to dissolve the role. Rather than force a one-size-fits-all approach, we restructured that office into a more team-based model with clear expectations for everybody.” projects, move people around if appropriate, and better plan labor for new grants.”

Company overview

Youth Dynamics provides family focused mental and behavioral health treatment founded on the principles of an actively caring and trauma-sensitive culture in which people can realize their full potential. Since 1981, the nonprofit children’s mental and behavioral health agency has provided evidence-based treatment for kids through therapy, case management, family education and support, foster and respite care, mentoring, therapeutic youth home care, equine-assisted therapy, substance abuse treatment, and independent living skills.

Previous Software:

  • People-Trak

Results with Sage People:

  • Delivered critical communications to remote workers during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Sped time-to-insight for annual HR data review by 75%
  • Increased survey frequency 4X, boosting response rate 2X
  • Accelerated hiring decisions by 66%
  • Fully automated 40% of manual HR processes, eliminating 1 FTE
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