Each year, we ask our customers to nominate their hard working, committed schedulers for OnShift's Scheduler of the Year Awards. Nominees should embody the mission of their respective organization and contribute to high quality care, operational efficiencies, employee and client satisfaction and cost savings, among many other valuable achievements.
Recently, we caught up with Scheduler of the Year Jen Thompson of Marklund, a nonprofit intermediate care organization that serves infants, children, teens and adults with serious and profound developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs located on the outskirts of Chicago. Marklund's three residential locations -- Marklund Hyde Center, the Marklund Philip Center and the Marklund Wasmond Center -- are currently home to 174 clients. As with all schedulers, Jen’s main responsibility is ensuring that Marklund Hyde Center is properly staffed to provide quality care. This includes scheduling for 230-270 caregivers, while juggling things like PTO, unexpected call-offs and more...and doing all of the above in the most cost effective way.
Jen has a lot on her plate (just read her list of daily responsibilities below!), but that doesn't stop her from being a superstar scheduler. According to Rachelle Jewison, Administrator of Marklund Hyde Center and Community Based Services, Jen’s “amazing critical thinking skills” allow her to keep close tabs on the staff schedule and “save Marklund a lot of money in overtime costs."
Read below to learn more about Jen, her life at Marklund, how she uses OnShift and her advice for other schedulers in the industry!
Fun Facts About Jen
Favorite ice cream flavor: Purple Cow Chocolate or Butter Pecan
Favorite vacation spot: Jamaica
Favorite hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, as well as outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, hiking and gardening
Cubs or White Sox: Neither, Stock car racing, Demo Derbies or Chicago Blackhawks.
Life at Marklund
How long have you worked at Marklund?
9 years and 3 months.
What do you love about Marklund?
Our clients and dedicated staff.
Describe Your Day-to-Day Responsibilities.
My scheduling duties include maintaining the OnShift schedule and ensuring staffing requirements are met, receiving call-offs 24-hours a day Monday through Friday, tracking employee call-offs, as well as maintaining our master schedule as employees come and go. I also manage time-off requests, as well as labor allocations, approving timecards for both staff and agency. In addition, I fill out employee statuses and requisitions for weekly job postings, interview new job candidates, provide tours of the community, and offer positions to new staffing candidates.
How Jen Uses OnShift
What were your scheduling challenges before implementing OnShift?
I spent a lot of time making phone calls. Today, I would not be able to fulfill my responsibilities without the OnShift messaging feature.
Have you seen an improvement in your day-to-day scheduling process since using OnShift?
Dramatic improvement—the messaging feature, staff being able to submit their shift requests, time off requests through OnShift—saves so much time and paper.
Can you tell us how OnShift is able to help you in a tough staffing situation?
On some of the harder shifts to fill, I’m able to attach a “bonus” to the message, making it more appealing for staff to pick-up.
Do you have any unique ways you are using the software?
I adjust our templates and requirements frequently. I’ll break open shifts into 4 or 8 hour shifts, making them more appealing for staff to pick-up.
What are the top three or four items you would tell other schedulers to focus on to be successful?
Always meet your staffing requirements, break up shifts to make them more appealing to pick-up (for example: split up a 7am-7pm shift into 7am-3pm & 3pm-7pm shifts ) and always tell staff "Thank You" and how much they are appreciated.
Do you have any words of advice for new schedulers using OnShift?
Encourage your staff to use it and promote it.
Who Jen Would Like to Thank for this Award
Our clients—if it was not for them, a scheduler would not be needed.
Our staff - they are so dedicated to our clients. You can see the bonds that develop as the clients’ faces light up when their caregiver enters the room.
My Marklund teammates and supervisor (my work family) – Thank you for supporting me and being so sneaky when sending in all your nominations and then hiding that I won and that OnShift was coming to our campus to congratulate me. They managed to keep it all as a surprise, and wow was I blown away!!!
I never expected to win OnShift Scheduler of the Year...what an honor.
Thanks for taking the time to share your success story, Jen, and again, congratulations! Stay tuned for more OnShift Scheduler of the Year profiles to learn tips and best practices for scheduling. And who knows, maybe your scheduler will be named the next OnShift Scheduler of the Year.