Seven Secrets of Highly Effective Workforce Management Solutions

April 23, 2020 Lynne Jackson

It’s no secret that managing today’s workforce is fraught with challenges. Employees often span multiple departments, campuses, and generations. A workforce management solution designed specifically for senior care facilities can help you cost-effectively meet these challenges.

For example, consider how simple it would be to look at a color-coded dashboard and gleam key performance indicators (KPIs) for all your departments in an instant. What about having mobile functions that provide personalized “anytime, anywhere” notifications for schedulers, administrators, and nurses. In addition, when you eliminate exasperating processes with automation, you free up time and resources.

In the end, meeting every expectation of today’s senior living and skilled nursing workforces may remain tough. But an effective workforce solution will enable you to focus more on providing care for your residents and give employees the resources they need to balance work and life responsibilities. Here are seven features of workforce software that support both managers and frontline staff.

1. Ease of use for workforce management

Nowadays, employees make up a diverse blend of ages, hailing from all different generations. They may have different levels of technical savvy. But they all have one thing in common. They don’t want to spend a lot of time searching through an app to find the information they need.

That’s one reason why the best workforce management solution is intuitive. A graphical user interface makes it easy for everyone from administrators and schedulers to nurses to find what they want fast so they can get back to their real priorities—taking care of residents.

With a graphical interface lists information the way a user expects, managers can easily access, schedulers can fill open shifts, and nurses can easily navigate the system to submit PTO, check their schedule and swap shifts. The workforce management solutions helps workers quickly find what’s important to them, instead of sifting through lots of unnecessary fields, which makes them more productive.

As an administrator, promoting productivity among the staff is an excellent benefit but not your only responsibility.  Creating and updating schedules is still daunting unless you have an integrated workforce management system. When the software connects to all the data, it can automatically track staffing requirements and generate schedules. This ease of use helps you support various facilities, ensures compliance, and cut down on time and stress.

2. At-a-glance dashboards

Being able to track staffing information on a single screen is a great way to spot trends and improve performance. Workforce management solutions help with this, letting you gather data into customized dashboards.

With the ability to track a facility’s performance against its metrics, you’re able to see (and respond) to trends. For example, you can see projected overtime costs and agency spends and make decisions to better allocate your resources and reduce costs. An integrated solution not only gathers customized data, but it also allows you to drill down into the information. This way, you can determine where inefficiencies originate.

At-a-glance dashboards aren’t just about responding to problems.  When you can see all the live attendance and scheduling data for all your departments in all your facilities in one color-coded view, you can spot inefficiencies fast and nip performance issues in bud.  

3. Open shift and overtime prevention

One of the biggest challenges with senior care facilities is ensuring proper staffing. Getting the right workers placed in the right shift, around the clock, means being able to respond to changes quickly.

An intelligent workforce management solution operates within the bounds of your policies. And it’ll identify problems and solutions in real time. For example, when an open shift occurs, the system can recommend qualified employees. But you can set it to exclude those who are at (or nearing) overtime hours. The most advanced systems also work with union rules, to ensure schedules don’t violate any union policies.

When administrators and staff both can respond to changes in real-time, open shifts get resolved promptly.

An intelligent system will rank open shift notifications, first choosing qualified employees who are not near their overtime threshold. Intelligent open shift resolution is one of the most effective ways to solve scheduling challenges.

4. Multichannel mobile communication

Mobile technology impacts nearly every part of our lives these days. Your workforce depends on their mobile device to stay in touch with the people and information most important to them. It’s no wonder they expect the same convenience from their employer. Therefore, it’s no surprise mobile technology now plays a significant role in workforce management.

When employees have access to key information about their jobs, they become empowered. Whereas  physical bulletin boards and paper requests make it difficult for them to stay up to date and in control of their schedules. When life happens and your nurses realize they cannot work a scheduled shift, having to access, complete, and distribute paper forms makes their lives unnecessarily harder.

Administrators and schedulers don’t enjoy having to sort through paperwork to determine who’s available to pick up an extra shift or who will be out for an upcoming shift. Your workforce will be more productive and happier with a system lets them access their schedules on their mobile device and submit a change as needed. Administrators appreciate the immediate access to changes and real-tie tracking of who is and who isn’t available.

In addition, pushing mobile notifications out to personnel ensures that everyone gets updates at the same time. With open, two-way communication, staff can send requests, such as paid time off, changes to personal data, and corrections for inaccurate punches. With a modern workforce management solution, these updates take seconds—rather than days or even weeks. And with self-serve access, employees can also bring up their personal information, such as pay stubs or scheduling data. Implementing mobile communications will cut administration time and maximize efficiency.

Despite the suitability of a mobile workforce management solution, it’ls only as effective as the  staff make it. That’s why the tech should allow the user to select their preference for notifications. Options to consider include email, text, voicemail, or in-app notifications. Using a mobile multichannel approach means everyone gets the info they need and no employee ends up frustrated.

5. KPI monitoring, alerts, and fixes

Continuous improvement is about looking back and finding ways to optimize going forward. A workforce management solution that consolidates facility data can help with this process. Tracking against KPIs is an important step.

With separate systems, you may have the data needed, but if you can’t combine it in real time to provide insights, it won’t mean much. An effective workforce management solution combines time and attendance, scheduling, and payroll. Monitoring KPIs based on this data gives a comprehensive overview.

Labor is one of a senior care facility’s highest costs. Therefore, measuring scheduled hours vs. actual hours is an important KPI to watch. A workforce software that integrates KPI alerts can help identify preventable overtime. Real-time monitoring allows you to respond promptly to trends such as early arrivals and late departures.

Setting thresholds and alerts for KPIs allows you to respond to problems and make informed predictions for the future. Advanced workforce management solutions also use analytics to suggest fixes. With proper monitoring and alerts for KPIs, you’re able to make better management decisions.

6. Self-scheduling capabilities

Keeping up with schedule changes is a constant challenge for skilled nursing and senior living facilities. Self-scheduling allows employees to handle their schedules directly with your workforce management software. This type of real-time entry eliminates many of the inefficiencies caused by schedule changes.

An effective workforce management solution notifies employees of open shifts. Staff can then respond to requests in real-time. Rather than calling in sick at the last minute, workers are able to swap shifts with each other directly. This ability relieves the burden on administrators to find and secure qualified personnel. It also helps eliminate overtime, notifying only the employees who won’t incur overtime costs.

Self-scheduling gives staff the tools they need to take charge of their time and quickly address problems before they arise. Unlike a paper system, managers can approve shift changes and schedule updates in moments. Modern self-scheduling systems are intuitive and straightforward, no matter an employee’s technological know-how. Administrators can avoid both understaffing and overtime while guaranteeing compliance with regulations.

7. Integrated compliance tracking and reporting

Staying on top of regulations, Payroll-Based Journal reports, and the Affordable Care Act submissions is always difficult and more so when the auditor arrives, demanding to see records within minutes. A workforce management solution tailored to senior care helps you prove compliance in an instant without breaking a sweat.

Collecting compliance data means:

  1. Pulling information from multiple parts of your workforce management system.
  2. Putting the data together to generate a single report.

Integrated, real-time tracking makes compliance reporting much quicker and easier. Information is all interconnected, and it’s always up-to-date, meaning you won’t have to stress about getting complex Payroll-Based Journal reporting completed on time. With an integrated system, the proper reports are at your fingertips.

A workforce management solution with real-time information has other benefits too. Auditors will arrive and request to see information for specific dates, campuses, or departments. It’s helpful to generate custom reports for them on demand. That way, you can confidently prove compliance in minutes.

A workforce management solution designed for ease of use, communications, and compliance makes life simpler for all employees. Staff can manage their time, schedules, and information wherever they are. And with an intuitive graphic interface, a multigenerational workforce can easily surpass the barriers of technology. All these “secrets” will contribute to keeping your entire workforce involved and up-to-date.

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