How Scheduling Technology Relieves Staffing Challenges of Long-Term Care
Gina Brodie | February 15, 2019
Employee scheduling, in and of itself, is an extremely time consuming and complex process. However, within the long-term care industry, employee shift scheduling also involves additional considerations such as severe worker shortages and increased demand for long-term care from an aging population. Providers must balance the need to deliver quality care with the reality of low staffing levels, tight budgets, and high employee turnover.
Administrators must also strive to create consistent, predictable schedules to help nurture positive staff/resident relationships. They must maintain care ratios in the face of unexpected vacancies. And they must ensure only qualified workers are scheduled across numerous job roles at multiple locations. Controlling overtime and worker burnout are also top of mind.
This multitude of factors is difficult to manage using manual tools such as spreadsheets, phone trees, and email. Providers are now turning to technology and strategic scheduling to address their unique staffing needs. Here are three ways employee scheduling software is helping administrators oversee the complexity of scheduling their dynamic workforces.
Create schedules and fill open shifts faster.
Relying on multiple spreadsheets to manually track employee availability, employee qualifications, shift assignments, and time-off requests is a time-consuming burden for administrators and supervisors. Scheduling technology consolidates relevant employee data, including trainings and credentials, in one centralized database. With automated scheduling, administrators can ensure only eligible employees are scheduled on the master schedule, and that only qualified per diem staff are notified when open shifts become available. Eliminating the cumbersome process of manual scheduling frees supervisors to focus on new trainings, business analytics and other initiatives intended to provide better care and support to those in need.
Control labor costs and reduce overtime.
Manual shift scheduling processes often involve last-minute scrambles where worker inboxes and voicemails are flooded with shift requests from multiple managers at different locations. Managers unable to find workers for vacant shifts are often forced to work the unfilled shifts themselves. Not only does this result in manager overtime, but it also fuels staff burnout. This is a heavy price to pay in an industry already in crisis from a worker shortage.
With employee scheduling technology, schedulers have access to real-time data regarding a worker’s hours any given week. This information provides visibility to workers eligible to pick up extra hours under the 40-hour threshold. Labor reports can also provide directors/managers with the transparency they need to see labor expenses per location.
Employees also have 24/7 access to the schedule, and eligible staff can be empowered to opt in and pick up extra shifts, leading to quicker fill rates, improved worker satisfaction, and reduced overtime expenses. Employees who can make decisions about their schedule have greater job satisfaction, perform better and feel more loyalty to their employer.
Track credentials and maintain workforce transparency.
For long-term care providers, worker trainings often need to be renewed every 1-2 years. Manually tracking these certifications and notifying workers when they need recertification is another time-consuming, but critical aspect of shift scheduling. When this process is automated using scheduling technology, trainings can be bulk uploaded into each employee profile. Notifications can be sent to workers automatically when they are eligible for re-certifications. Automating this process reduces not only the manager’s stress, but it also mitigates any risk of scheduling under-qualified labor.
Besides the efficiencies in tracking trainings and credentials, scheduling technology also provides an audit trail for shift scheduling discrepancies and incident reports. Long-term care providers funded by the state are often subject to intense scrutiny. With shift scheduling technology, providers can establish a trustworthy audit trail to easily show compliance with state regulations, or run reports if an incident should ever arise.
Technology fuels the strategic scheduling process.
Optimizing the scheduling process is becoming increasingly critical for an industry finding itself in crisis by a worker shortage and surging demand for services. Technology and strategic scheduling together can powerfully address many of the challenges long-term care administrators face.
In an effort to help employers navigate the challenge of improving employee retention in long-term care and other industries, we partnered with Lux Insights to conduct research. The survey-based study explores the factors that drive hourly worker satisfaction. Learn more about the key drivers of hourly employee satisfaction and retention here.
Learn how employee scheduling software can transform staff operations, reduce overtime, and improve quality of care.