Top 8 Innovative Trends in Human Services
Advancing technology, newer practices, and mental health have caused many service providers to reconsider their workflows. While these current trends in human services are overwhelmingly positive, they can be challenging to keep up with — especially if you're also dealing with a heavy caseload.
As a case manager, staying up to date on the most significant issues in the human services field ensures you will always provide the best possible care for clients.
What Does the Future Look Like for Human Services?
The modern human services industry can often feel like a mess, but it's evolving for the better. Many human services professionals have had to adopt new practices, protocols, and training to stay ahead of industry shifts. Fortunately, most of the changes are positive as we learn more about clients' needs and the best workflow options.
Many current human service issues require social workers to adapt to new technology, including case management software. These trends will only continue to improve your workflow for faster, more focused client services.
8 Human Services Trends That Will Shape Its Future
Industry changes have caused case managers to reconsider their workflows, care plans, and organizational structures. Below are the top eight trends impacting human services agencies.
1. Multiple-Scenario Planning and Strategic Service Delivery
Scenario-based planning is one of the most critical aspects of the human services field. On a case level, it consists of developing response strategies for different events, such as a client falling while home alone. As the name suggests, each plan varies by scenario. So, case managers must plan for multiple unforeseeable events based on each client's situation.
Outside of a client-to-client basis, social workers must also consider scenario planning for their organization and career. The human services industry constantly shifts with better policies, practices, and structures. Therefore, social workers must look beyond their current human service needs to anticipate their future ones.
Multiple-scenario planning requires you to follow current trends to anticipate future changes. For example, will you be able to recommend the same care plans for your clients in five or ten years — or will some services become unavailable? Alternatively, could better options become available? Considering your options and goals in advance gives you more time to prepare and provide the best possible service.
Follow the changes in insurance, technology, treatment, legality, and availability of the services in your field. Then, consider your goals and create a plan or solution for every scenario. You never know where your clients or career may take you, but planning ahead will simplify your implementation.
2. Hybrid Work for Enhanced Services Through Collaboration
Information-sharing and collaboration are key to providing the best possible services. Whether you're taking on a client together or sharing similar care options for enhanced services, collaborating with others will give you unparalleled help. Collaboration also strengthens organizations, allowing them to create better, more resilient workforces.
Collaboration is especially beneficial for hybrid work, limiting in-person requirements and giving you more time to focus on the clients. As a result, you can provide more customized person-to-person care.
As you develop or adjust to your hybrid setup, ensure you can easily connect with your clients, coworkers, and other organizations. Breaking down the geographic barriers early will simplify your communication moving forward. This way, you can easily consult coworkers on more challenging cases and connect with other service providers during your care plan.
3. More Human Leadership and Approach to Human Services
One of the loudest recent criticisms in many industries has been leadership being out of touch with employees' needs. In human services organizations especially, employers must adopt empathetic and constructive leadership strategies. In doing so, they can improve their company culture, employee retention, and overall service quality.
Empathy is essential to ensuring people feel heard, including coworkers and clients. Case managers' jobs are about advocating for clients based on their needs and goals. So, it's already one of the most essential trends in human services.
As an employer, empathetic leadership will help you gauge your employees' needs so they can better support their clients. It will also help you prioritize mental health as you manage your organization's workflow.
Constructive leadership takes a similar approach that helps employees embrace their strengths and needs to form their best workflows. This management strategy is especially effective in hybrid settings, enabling caseworkers to manage their responsibilities without constant oversight. This leadership strategy improves your team's problem-solving skills and employee satisfaction, especially when paired with empathetic leadership.
4. Artificial Intelligence for Predictive Analytics
Many industries reap benefits from artificial intelligence (AI) and other advancing technologies. In human services programs, AI can help by cutting down on administrative tasks and focusing your workflow on the most critical details.
For example, suppose you have a client with previous care plans from other organizations — reasonably, you'll have a lot of paperwork. An AI-enhanced case management platform like Casebook will start by compiling all of the client's data into one interface. This will save you hours of transferring and transposing documents. From here, the AI will recommend the next steps, such as scheduling intake and sending documents for signing. The AI can then recommend the best care plans for complicated clients or suggest other solutions based on predictive analytics.
Adopting AI tools into your human service delivery can be incredibly beneficial for both you and your clients. Additionally, as more organizations adopt these practices, staying up to date with AI ensures you don't fall behind the latest trends.
5. Healthier and More Inclusive Workplaces and Organizations
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are more essential than ever in the modern workforce. They impact your company's culture by expanding perspectives and employee satisfaction by making your organization a better workplace.
The word "inclusion" is mentioned a lot in 2023 and beyond, but it can take on various critical meanings. At a base level, inclusion is about ensuring you have a diverse workforce that doesn't discriminate. Beyond that, it's about ensuring everyone in your organization feels included in the conversation, which is often more challenging to gauge. Consider adopting person-by-person training to stress the importance of inclusion and help eliminate unconscious biases.
Accessibility also plays a significant role in your organization's inclusivity. Accessibility impacts those with physical limitations, nonphysical limitations, and even remote schedules. For example, a case manager who operates primarily from home should still be able to access the information crucial to their job. Case management software and other hybrid resources can make your organization more inclusive for everyone.
6. Alternative and Sustainable Financing Models
Securing funding is one of the most prominent issues in human services, especially for nonprofits. Some nonprofits get by with a combination of donations and grants, which is not sustainable in the modern market. Instead, many human service providers seek alternative financing models to keep their services accessible to clients.
One sustainable financing model is for providers to consolidate or partner with another service provider — usually corporate-sized businesses, such as hospital chains. Unfortunately, consolidating with a larger company can restrict your current workflow by introducing new rules or limiting insurance acceptance.
If you want to keep your organization independent, consider your options for investments, grants, crowdfunding, and additional government funding. Despite maintaining otherwise sustainable business models, many service providers need help amid current transitions. The right investors see this and aren't afraid to invest their money in a worthwhile cause.
7. Customizable Human Services Software
Case management software is a popular solution for resolving current human services issues. These programs help you optimize your social services by consolidating paperwork, scheduling appointments, and recommending next steps. From here, you can review all of a client's data in one centralized interface and easily adjust your human service delivery settings.
Platforms like Casebook are vital for organizing your workflow. Instead of messaging clients across emails, texts, and calls, you can keep all your communication within one app — while ensuring clients receive their preferred contact method. You can review all messages later within the Casebook app to ensure you don't miss anything.
8. Online Training To Level Up Skills
Continuing education has always been crucial to responding to the current trends in human services. Fortunately, the internet makes finding educational resources easier than ever. Whether you need learning experience for new practices or are interested in bulking up your soft skills, the web likely has opportunities for you.
Consider learning more about the following skills:
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
Transform Your Human Services Approach With Casebook
Prepare your organization for the latest trends in human services.