Case Study

Bluestem Communities

Bluestem Communities

Key Results

improved resident care


Resident care with engaged employees

88 reduction in overtime hours


In overtime hours

Reduced schedules from 17 to 1

Number of Schedules

Reduced to 1

Happy and less stressed staff


And less stressed staff

Company Background

Bluestem Communities formed with the merger of two long-standing long-term care facilities, Kidron Bethel Village and Schowalter Villa, to create one healthcare organization. With a combined 145 years of serving seniors, Bluestem Communities offers skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living to its residents and employs over 500 healthcare professionals.

The Challenge

Bluestem Communities transitioned from using OnShift’s scheduling and labor management software to an integrated scheduling product within their newly purchased HRIS and time and attendance vendor. Bluestem Communities had to maintain 17 nursing role schedules because the new system lacked a master schedule. This quickly led to employee frustration, a lengthy scheduling process, and overtime that was more difficult to manage.



Rising labor costs


consistency of care


scheduling complexities

Soaring Labor Costs

  • $10,000 of additional overtime was incurred in two months because the scheduling system lacked easy visibility into employee overtime
  • Schedulers had to manually pull an overtime report to see employee overtime hours causing unnecessary overtime to incur when filling shifts
  • Schedulers each incurred 4-5 hours of overtime each week due to maintaining 17 role specific schedules and time consuming daily adjustments

Consistency of Care Challenges

  • Schedulers lacked visibility into overall staffing requirements and had to sort through 17 schedules which led to lack of consistent hiring
  • With the basic scheduling system, schedules were based only on open shifts and lacked assignments to specific neighborhoods, which made person-centered care nearly impossible
  • Employees were often confused and frustrated when arriving to work as they did not know the neighborhood where they were working until they arrived as the mobile app did not display this information

Scheduling Complexities

  • Schedulers needed to maintain 17 position-specific schedules for each unit within Bluestem Communities. Creating each 2-week schedule consumed an entire week, including hours over the schedulers' weekends
  • Daily shift updates to the schedule required intensive changes to a cumbersome template, which taxed the scheduler as the process took, on average, three hours to complete
  • When open shifts occurred, the schedule physically posted the openings on a board in the community as the system lacked SMS capabilities. This limited their pool of available candidates which caused them to typically rely on staff to pull a double to fill-in


The Solution

Due to soaring labor costs and inefficiencies, Bluestem Communities ditched their basic scheduling system and returned to OnShift’s scheduling and labor management software. Ease-of-use, employee communications, and proactive overtime controls were key reasons Bluestem was thrilled to return to OnShift.


reducing cost of labor


Consistent staffing and efficiencies


Happy and engaged staff

Improving Costs

  • Reduce costs with predictive overtime analytics and real-time staffing data which allowed Bluestem to prevent overtime before it occurred
  • Reduce unnecessary overtime when filling shifts with alerts indicating better choice candidates
  • Eliminate scheduler overtime by consolidating 17 schedules into one master schedule with OnShift

Senior Care Scheduling Made Easy

  • Eliminated scheduling mistakes as schedulers now maintain just one master schedule in OnShift versus 17 schedules with their previous vendor
  • Improve scheduling processes and increase efficiencies with repeatable templates and key staffing data at the scheduler's fingertips
  • Improve overall employee communications, especially open shift management, by communicating shifts equitably and fairly via text message, email, phone call or mobile push notification, based on each employee's preference

Achieving Person-Centered Care

  • The scheduler can easily assign employees consistent shifts to consistent locations, allowing them to care for the same residents, which strengthens staff-resident relationships and improves quality of care
  • Achieve person-centered care with repeatable staff assignments while still having the ability to make adjustments when needed
  • Employees readily know when and where they are working at all times which has eliminated confusion and improved satisfaction

“I helped with daily scheduling using the old system and honestly, it was a nightmare. Once we got into OnShift, it literally cut the time in half of what we needed to do.”

- Joanna, Scheduler

The Results

  • Achieve person-centered care with consistent staff to resident assignments
  • 94% reduction in time to make daily schedule changes
  • Employees are happier and less stressed at work with more control over their schedules
  • 88% reduction in overtime hours within the first 8 work periods upon return to OnShift
  • 93% reduction in time to create the month-long schedule
  • Integration of punch and employee data with Bluestem's new HRIS for a seamless labor management experience

Why Bluestem Communities returned to OnShift:

“Our previous scheduling vendor wasn't in the long-term care market. It didn't allow us to have person-centered care where we needed to schedule based off a neighborhood, not just an open shift. We like all of our residents to have the same staff taking care of them, so that way our staff can get to know who they're taking care of. The other scheduling vendor didn't quite understand all the intricate details of how a long-term care facility works.”
Jerol Schrag, CFO
Bluestem Communities

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