How to Use a Mobile App to Enhance Employee Productivity

May 30, 2019 Will Pereira

Your employees work hard taking care of residents every day. When they get a free moment, they want to take care of other business. Enabling them to conveniently balance work and personal responsibilities strengthens their focus on resident care, increases their productivity, and reduces the likelihood they’ll seek employment elsewhere.

Consider a mobile workforce management app because, according to Forbes “enterprise apps increase worker and overall corporate productivity,” when they provide employees with what they need to thrive.

The SmartLinx Go mobile workforce management app was created to engage employees and help them access the tools and information they desire most. In addition to enabling employees to conduct requested work-related tasks on their phone or tablet, the mobile workforce management app helps streamline scheduling, attendance, and HR functions. Each function was vetted by a diverse array of skilled nursing employees, who told us what a mobile workforce management app should do and how it should do it. Read on to learn what engages employees and drives business outcomes.

Why engagement matters and how mobile workforce management helps

Engaging healthcare employees and reducing turnover is more important and challenging in long-term care and senior care than ever. Employee turnover continues to rise with the senior care industry reporting a 33% annual turnover rate. Meanwhile many skilled nursing facilities experience turnover rates that exceed 50% with the highest rates among the nursing staff.

Disengaged employees are not only poised to leave their role in search of better opportunities, they also spread discontentment that increases overall employee turnover rates. This discontentment can even contaminate your recruiting efforts.

According to the HR technology company, Hibob, “69% of employees will reject a job offer if they find out that a company’s workers are generally unhappy.”

Research continues to prove that engaged employees are more productive and committed to your organization. Their dedication also influences their coworkers and creates a positive atmosphere.

“Engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work -- highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. Engaged workers also are more likely to stay with their employers. In high-turnover organizations, highly engaged business units achieve 24% less turnover. In low-turnover organizations, the gains are even more dramatic: Highly engaged business units achieve 59% less turnover,” according to Gallup

In long-term care and senior care facilities, employee engagement directly correlates with the level of care employees give residents.

HR Solutions surveyed 29,000 healthcare employees and found that “85 percent of engaged employees displayed a genuinely caring attitude toward patients, compared to only 38 percent of disengaged employees while 91 percent of engaged employees recognize their workplace as dedicated to patient care, compared to only 42 percent of disengaged employees.”

Fortunately, disengagement can be remedied. Effective engagement practices and tools like mobile workforce management apps can inspire employees to do their best work and find meaning it, which enhances employee retention as well as quality care. Engaged workers also foster engagement among colleagues. Read 8 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Engagement in Long-Term Care and Senior Care for proven tactics.

What your employees want

The factors driving employee engagement often seem intangible, such as feeling valued, included and inspired by meaningful work. However, tangible tactics and intangible perceptions are more related that many of us realize.

When you leverage mobile workforce management to create an environment that helps employees succeed, eliminates unnecessary frustrations, and provide easy access to the information they want, you foster engagement and help your employees feel valued. A mobile workforce management tool can also help employees work more efficiently and even manage work-life responsibilities.

Consider the workplace dynamics common in many long-term and senior care facilities. Tedious and manual processes continue to thrive as many workforce management systems prove difficult to use. In addition to caring for residents, the nursing staff must hunt down schedules, forms, and HR information from different physical or online locations just to perform simple tasks. These manually-intensive workforce management processes disengage employees, who are looking to get what they need quickly so they can focus on what’s important—your residents and their lives. Millennials especially find these practices and legacy workforce management tools frustrating since they expect technology to automate simple, manual tasks. In other words, they know there must be a better, mobile-friendly workforce management system to support their activities and are annoyed it’s not an option. Learn more, read Is Your Organization Wasting Its Most Valuable Resource?

The converse is also true. Delivering intuitive, mobile workforce management technology that requires little or no learning curve engages employees right away. When you use this type of workforce management system to deliver the features they desire and in a way that makes their life easier, you keep them engaged and help them feel valued. 

Take control of their schedules

Since healthcare employees often rotate between shifts and facilities, they want to plan their schedules in advance and stay informed of changes. When employees can use a mobile workforce management app to quickly find and respond to new schedules well in advance, they can more easily balance work and family responsibilities. This flexibility makes them feel better about their job and their employer. A mobile workforce management app can also let them review schedules anytime and prevent scheduling conflicts.

However, giving workers access to static information isn’t enough. To boost employee engagement, you need to deliver a unified workforce management approach that helps workers understand their scheduling options and their impact. The right mobile workforce management app enables employees to balance work-life responsibilities. When they receive an invitation to pick up extra hours, employees want to know how the additional hours would affect their schedule and their pay. Likewise, if they cannot work a scheduled shift, they want to be able to quickly determine how taking time off would affect their PTO balance and paycheck. A mobile workforce management app should automatically display this information or make it available in one click.

In addition, long-term and senior care employees should have the ability to quickly access the mobile workforce management app to get their schedule, find new information, double check the time and places they’re scheduled work and even fix any issues they see. For example, if they notice they didn’t punch out one shift, employees should be able to use the mobile workforce management app to fix the punch and submit the fix for administrative approval, simply and easily.

Flex to support changing demands

If they can’t work a scheduled shift, employees should also be able to use a mobile workforce management app to notify the right people and submit PTO or swap shifts. In addition to accessing their PTO balance, they need to find co-workers who are qualified and available to switch shifts and be able send them a shift swap request immediately from their mobile workforce management app.

Likewise when a colleague offers to swap shifts, they want to see how the new shift affects their schedule before deciding and need the mobile workforce management app to display the impact to their schedule. In addition employees don't want to run to their manager every time they're considering a shift change, but rather use their mobile workforce management app to request approval at the end of the process. They also want the workforce management app to immediately notify them when their manager responds. 

These capabilities drive employee engagement by helping them make the best decisions for their life while also closing scheduling gaps and preventing unexpected open shifts.

Most importantly, employees want to see and do everything they can to manage their responsibilities quickly and easily on a mobile workforce management app. These capabilities drive employee engagement by helping them make the best decisions for their life while also closing scheduling gaps and preventing unexpected open shifts.

Understand their finances

Since their hours and pay vary from week to week, long-term care and senior care employees want to quickly access timecards and detailed pay information and fix any errors. Providing a mobile workforce management app that gives them 24/7 access to important financial information helps them manage their personal lives. For example, when applying for credit, they want to immediately print or download paystubs without contacting HR or logging onto a personal computer. Likewise, they want to update employee data themselves on the mobile workforce management app.

When a mobile workforce management app helps workers better manage their personal priorities, they will notice and appreciate it. Empowering employees with the ability to make informed financial decisions strengthens their commitment to you, increasing engagement and retention rates.

An intuitive, user friendly app

Employees want an intuitive mobile workforce management app that works with their device---no matter the type or version—and want it to use familiar terminology and formats, so they don’t need to dig for features or take tutorials. 

How a mobile workforce management app supports business goals

Quickly close scheduling gaps

A full-functioned mobile workforce management app helps managers close scheduling gaps by informing them when gaps occur and who’s qualified and available to work. The workforce management app should enable managers to notify each worker in their preferred method with the click of a mouse. It should also track who signed up for a new shift, who’s swapping shifts, and how new requests would impact each individual’s work week (and overtime hours). Managers should be able to see this information at a glance in an intuitive interface and be able to approve or deny requests in a couple of clicks.  

Management also needs the mobile workforce management app to integrate seamlessly with scheduling, attendance, and analytics to ascertain the business outcomes of their decisions, know who’s approaching overtime, and be able to limit requests for more hours.

Easily track and equip remote employees

Since a growing number of workers, travel to different sites to care for post-acute and long-term care residents, employers want a mobile workforce management app with the ability to authorize remote locations and enable workers to punch in there while tracking their whereabouts to ensure compliance.

Increase productivity and reduce turnover

 

The SmartLinx Go  mobile workforce management app quickly engages employees by giving them access to what they need, when they need it regardless of where they are. Enabling employees to take better control of their work life and finances frees them up to focus more fully on their work.

We designed the SmartLinx Go mobile workforce management app based on input from long-term and senior care workers. Nurses, administrators, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), directors and managers weighted in on what their ideal mobile workforce management app would do and how it should look and operate. We continued to seek their input throughout the process and adopted an iterative approach in which we designed, tested, and revised each feature based on actual employee input. The results garnered widespread praise and enabled workers to easily navigate the mobile workforce management app even before receiving the available training. Doing so put the healthcare worker in control and continues to benefit their lives and the facilities where they work.

Gallup reports that “30 percent of workers strongly agree that at work, their opinions seem to count- by moving this to 60 percent of employees, organizations could realize a 27 percent reduction in turnover, a 40 percent reduction in safety incidents and a 12 percent increase in productivity.”

Learn more, read How to Improve Employee Engagement with SmartLinx Go.

 

 

About the Author

Will Pereira

Will Pereira serves as SmartLinx Director of Product Experience. As the principle user experience designer for the SmartLinx Solutions suite, Will conducts in-depth usability studies, interviews, ideation and feedback sessions with clients and developers with the goal of developing scalable, responsive solution that solve client problems.

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