Scheduling and shift management can be a huge challenge for staff in long-term care and retirement homes, especially during a pandemic. A shortage of qualified caregivers, combined with increasing demand for services, puts a huge strain on Scheduling Managers, Administrators, HR Managers and Directors of Care — not to mention the stress of juggling last-minute changes and back-to-back shifts.
Better shift-filling solutions and strategies are needed to reduce time spent on shift planning, curb employee turnover, and improve patient care. Here are 4 ways to help make shift management easier for your LTC or retirement home.
Plan Ahead for Staffing Gaps
You can’t predict when an employee is going to call in sick or have an emergency that keeps them from coming to work, but you can avoid a scheduling crunch by planning ahead for busy times and holidays. StaffStat gives you access to data and reports at your fingertips that will unveil recurring gaps based on your own shift posting trends. Can’t fill your gaps internally? Having a backup staffing partner like Plan A will provide you with a dedicated and reliable pool of health care professionals to pull from to help strengthen your staffing foundation.
Communicate Early and Often
Poor communication is a top driver of employee dissatisfaction and ultimately, turnover. On the other hand, the more informed your staff is, the more empowered they will feel. Make upcoming schedules available to your team as far in advance as possible so they can plan their lives accordingly. Encourage your employees to look ahead in the year when planning time-off to allow your organization adequate opportunity to fill shifts internally or book lines with your backup staffing partner. To further strengthen communication in your home, StaffStat’s Broadcast Messaging tool can help your organization send out mass messages to staff in a few easy clicks. Use this tool to remind staff to submit vacation requests, notify employees of new policies/procedures, or send off appreciation notes—the possibilities are endless!
Shift filling software like StaffStat assists with communication by broadcasting open shifts to your retirement or long-term care home employees in seconds. When a sick call comes in, post the unfilled shift to StaffStat and our technology will notify your team of health care professionals about open shifts in seconds. This enables your team to take an active role in scheduling by filling or declining open shifts on their own, with less interaction required from you.
Strike a Balance Between Flexibility and Consistency
Try to remember that your employees have lives outside of work. They may have personal or family demands which have intensified during the pandemic. If possible, try to provide options when it comes to starting times, days worked, and shift length. A bit of flexibility goes a long way in boosting employee morale and retention. That being said, while things may need to change from time to time, most employees will appreciate a framework of consistency in their schedule. Employees like knowing when they’ll be free throughout the week for a few reasons: it makes it easier to plan their life outside of work; it makes it easier for them to project their expected income, and it reduces the stress employees feel around work-life balance. If you don’t have a staffing strategy in place in your senior care organization, contact us to book a 1:1 strategy session. We’ll help your organization achieve staffing success in 3 easy steps.