Having to manage a large caseload can be an overwhelming task. My first day as an employment consultant I was handed a list of 120 names and had to figure it out all by myself. Throughout the years, I would like to think that I have mastered the art of managing a caseload through fault, some error and shadowing some of the best in the employment services industry, both in Australia and the UK. I have included 5 tips I have learnt which consistently worked for me, and many of my previous colleagues who were mostly on top of their caseload.
1. Know your Caseload
You need to know your caseload inside and out. Know who is on that list, what job they are looking for, why they would want to be employed, and how you are going to help them. Besides relying on your own internal I.T software it’s a must to create an excel spreadsheet with name, age, contact details, job preference, skills, barriers, resume status etc. Depending if you’re a DES, Jobactive or TtW provider, your caseload size will be different. If you do have a large caseload, then study it for at least 2 to 5 minutes a day, that way you familiarise yourself with any new clients. Knowing your caseload is also crucial for job placements. For example, one time an internal job advert for 50 warehouse assistants came through and I was able to submit 26 resumes within five minutes based on having all the information right there on my excel sheet. I even had links that went directly to their resume when I clicked on their name on the excel sheet. Out of those 26 submissions I got about 12 job placements.
2. Prioritise your caseload
Split your caseload into a group of three. Meaning that within your own caseload you should have a rating system of most job ready to least job ready. You can make it easier by having a red, amber or green ranking system, where green is used for most job ready and the red for least job ready. A way to do this is to place the client’s name on your excel sheet in the category of red, amber or green based in their job readiness. The main benefit of using this system is you will be able to monitor your caseload effectively. You will also have a clear idea of who needs the most support in regard to overcoming barriers, and which job seekers are self-sufficient in looking for employment. An advantage I found in using this system is that I wasn't wasting time and energy on the people who didn't want to work. I was also able to get a clear idea of who needed to be referred to external support. Another must is having a top 5 or top 10 list of those clients you can effectively reverse market. On that list, be sure to have the jobseekers with an urgent willingness to work, including an updated resume and relevant qualifications.
3. Manage your time
How do you usually manage you time? Are you a procrastinator who waits until the last minute to get things done? It’s vital to have a system in place to managing your calendar, appointments and deadlines. Managing your time is about being organised, preparing your day and prioritising between urgent and non-urgent tasks. Another way to do this is to avoid looking at and replying to emails that can wait. Delegating tasks is another important factor to consider. Are your jobseekers expecting you to do everything for them? Do you sit there for an hour typing up their resume when they could be doing it instead? Do you give them ownership of their action plan? You also need to set expectations and enforce punctuality. One late jobseeker can set your whole day behind. Managing your time will not only make your job easier, but you will start to notice an increase in outcomes and KPIs achieved.
4. Frequent Contact
Frequent contact is essential and keeps you on top of your caseload. That way you're also up to date with client’s Job search activities, changes in circumstances, support needed and employment status. Make sure that you set expectations and enforce compliance in regard to attending meetings, so you are not sitting there all day with no one to see. Because what usually follows is the most time-wasting aspect of all, chasing them up, having a back log of non- attendance to file and writing up failure to attend reports. Although contact is mostly done via face to face, that doesn’t mean you’re unable to pick up the telephone and give your clients a call. Tracking individuals through telephone contact gives you an added bonus, as it’s quick, easy and many times I’ve had clients tell me that they had found a job just from me calling them.
5. Group Activity
This tip is only if your site or manager allows it. Kill a group of birds with one stone. Instead of meeting a client per half an hour, see six minimum per hour. What I’ve found most useful was doing employability workshops with them, such as: interview techniques, goal setting, resume writing, hidden job market and motivational sessions. Another one of my favourites is getting them to do their own reverse marketing during the group activity. Say you have a guy on your caseload who is looking for a plumbing apprenticeship, why not sit him in front of the telephone with a list of local plumbing businesses from the yellow pages and get him to contact them.
Just remember that getting the hang of managing a caseload effectively isn’t something that is to be learnt overnight, but with time, patience, and practice you will get there. Be sure to observe and learn from colleagues and model those who are effective in producing results.
Yet the most important thing you can do so your day can run smoothly, and your clients can show up on time, listen to you and make your job easy, is to build a connection and rapport with them. Once you work at making them like, trust and respect you, then managing them on your caseload is half the work done.
By Rana Kordahi
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