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 mobile-friendly enterprise apps because, according to Forbes “enterprise apps increase worker and overall corporate productivity,” when they provide employees with what they need to thrive.

SmartLinx Go 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 mobile device, the mobile app helps streamline scheduling, attendance, and HR functions. Each function was vetted by a diverse array of skilled nursing employees, who told us what an app should do and how it should do it. Read on to learn what engages employees and drives business outcomes.

Why engagement matters

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 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. Tangible tactics and intangible perceptions are more related that many of us realize.

When you create an environment that helps employees succeed, eliminates unnecessary frustrations, and gives them easy access to the information they want, you foster engagement and help your employees feel valued. The right tools 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. 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 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 frustrating since they expect technology to automate simple, manual tasks. In other words, they know there’s a better way to perform a task 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 technology that requires little or no learning curve engages employees right away. When you use this technology to deliver the features they desire and ones that make 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 quickly find and respond to new schedules well in advance, they can more easily balance work and family responsibilities, which makes them feel better about their job and their employer. A mobile app can 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 approach that helps workers understand their scheduling options and their impact. Doing so enables them 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 app should automatically display this information or make it available in one click.

Ideally, long-term and senior care employees should have the ability to quickly get into their schedule, find new information, double check the time and places they’re working, and fix any issues they see. For example, if they notice they didn’t punch out one shift, they should be able 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 want to use their mobile device 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.

Likewise, when a colleague offers to swap shifts, they want to see how the new shift affects their schedule before deciding. Employees don’t want to run to their manager every time they’re considering a shift change, but rather request approval at the end of process and be immediately notified when their manager responds. Most importantly, employees want to see and do everything quickly and easily on their phone.

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. Giving them 24/7 access to important financial information also helps them manage their personal lives. 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.

When a mobile 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 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 app supports business

Quickly close scheduling gaps

A full-functioned mobile app helps managers close scheduling gaps by informing them when gaps occur and who’s qualified and available to work. The 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 enterprise mobile 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 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

SmartLinx Go 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 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 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 app and use it before receiving the available training.

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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