Scheduling in a community-based care setting isn’t always so simple. Particularly for those in the Behavioral Healthcare and IDD space, scheduling is about more than just filling shifts—it’s about getting the right person, in the right place, at the right time to ensure the highest in quality care and client satisfaction.
Juggling staff across multiple locations, manual scheduling processes and the growing staff shortage all make filling shifts and consistently maintaining desired staffing levels difficult. Here are five tips to help you get more out of the staff you have and fill shifts faster.
- Understand employee shift preferences & availability. Knowing when your employees prefer to work can go a long way in reducing call-offs and last minute open shifts. Regularly document employee preferences and honor them whenever possible. Additionally, make sure you have a record of when each staff member may be available to pick up shifts outside their normal shift times. This can help you more efficiently identify staff to fill last-minute shift needs.
- Post new schedules as far as advance as possible. Many community-based care providers make the mistake of posting new schedules too close to the start date. Posting new schedules at least two to four weeks in advance can help you avoid future scheduling headaches such as call-offs or scrambling to fill shifts at the last minute. It can also give your staff the chance to volunteer for any open shifts still on the schedule once it’s posted.
- Make it easy for staff to request open shifts. Managers and schedulers can greatly reduce the amount of time they spend on daily schedule management by including their employees in the scheduling process. One way to do this is to make it easy for them to view and request open shifts. Staff scheduling software like OnShift gives caregivers the ability to browse open shifts and request to fill those shifts from any computer, tablet or smartphone. Engaging your staff in the scheduling process helps you fill shifts faster and improves overall staff satisfaction and engagement by giving employees a say in when they work.
- Share staff across locations. Providers with multiple locations or group homes in the same geographic region can get more out of the staff they have by sharing employees across their various locations. Employee scheduling software provides managers and schedulers the visibility they need to easily assign shifts to employees across multiple of locations. Not only does this allow your staff the opportunity to pick up some extra hours, but it gives providers a wider pool of employees to pick from when trying to fill open shifts.
- Simplify the call-off process. For many community-based care providers, filling call-offs generally means manually calling down a list of names until they find a replacement. This frustrating process can take hours and multiple call-offs per day can consume a large part of a manager or scheduler’s time. Simplify the call-off process by notifying all eligible and available employees when a shift becomes available and make it easy for staff to reply if they are available. This practice helps fill last-minute needs more efficiently and gives your staff a fair and equitable chance to claim those shifts, increasing overall satisfaction and engagement.
The right level of visibility into staffing is the best way to ensure the shifts you need are filled. Technology can help you get there. Many behavioral healthcare and IDD providers are still using manual scheduling methods such as pen and paper or spreadsheets. By moving the scheduling process online, providers can gain the visibility they need to quickly identify gaps, so they can take timely action.