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[INFO] 5 Quick Scheduling Tips For Caregivers In LTC & Senior Living

February 9, 2018 | Mike Pumphrey

How to build best-fit caregiver schedules

Work-life balance. It might just sound like the latest buzzword in employee engagement but for today’s workforce, it’s a must have. Millennials and Gen Zer’s are taking over the workplace. And they expect their employers to be considerate of their needs both in and outside of work. Avoid the pitfalls of common staff scheduling mistakes and follow these scheduling tips.

scheduling tips for caregivers in ltc and senior livingWith the current workforce shortage, increased competition for talent and high turnover rates, caregivers in LTC and senior living providers need to focus on employee satisfaction and retention. And while there are a number of techniques and perks that can help you create a more engaged workforce, it’s important not to overlook the employee schedule to ensure you're  providing high quality care.

Management should work with each employee to ensure they have a schedule that works not just for the organization, but for the needs of employees as well. Doing so can help provide the work-life balance today's senior care workforce craves.

Here are five quick tips for creating best-fit employee schedules:

  1. It’s Not Just When You Work, But Who You Work With

Best-fit caregiver schedules aren’t just about when you work, but who you work with. Personality traits, skill sets, levels of experience—these should all be taken into consideration when creating your employee scheduling preferences, for their sake and the sake of your residents.

The most effective teams are comprised of individuals with a mix of tenure and skills, so make sure you always balance seasoned employees with your less experienced ones. This can help ease the stress of newer employees, allowing them lean on the experience of their coworkers to help ensure they are providing high quality resident care.

  1. Give Employees Scheduling Flexibility

Everyone has a life outside of work. School, family obligations or a second job can make it difficult to create an effective schedule without employee input. Be sure to document and regularly assess employee work preferences or risk increased call-offs, no-shows or even turnover. 

However, not every employee can get every shift they want.  Make sure you communicate to staff why some of the shifts they’re assigned don’t match up with their preferences. They will likely understand and appreciate that you want to provide the best schedule possible.

  1. Make Posting The Schedule ASAP A Priority

One of the most staff common staff scheduling mistakes providers make is posting new schedules too close to the starting rotation date.

Typically employees won't tell managers they need a day off or need to come in late until they learn they have to work that shift.  The longer your scheduler waits to post the schedule, the more likely they'll end up scrambling to make adjustments.

Try and post schedules 2-4 weeks in advance. This will ensure employees have ample time to discuss any adjustments and provide more time to fill shifts so that your community is properly staffed.

  1. Offer On-The-Go Schedule Access

Today's workforce uses their phones for just about everything. Use this to your advantage. Giving staff mobile access to their schedules ensures they always know when they work and helps hold them accountable to their schedule.  A schedule app allows employees to swap shifts, request PTO and pick up open shifts.

Better access to schedules doesn’t just improve the lives of employees, it also makes creating and managing the schedule much easier.

  1. Enlist Your Employees To Help Fill Scheduling Gaps

Scheduling gaps happen. To help fill them, make sure your entire staff has visibility into open shifts and can easily request to fill them. You'll be surprised how many staff members are looking to pick up a couple extra shifts.

Online scheduling software like OnShift can help. Mobile apps make it easy for employees to see and request open shifts from anywhere. And last-minute call-offs can be filled in an instant by allowing schedulers to easily communicate with available staff. 

Implementing stellar scheduling practices have been proven to improve employee engagement, reduce costly turnover and drive quality care - so why wait?

Dowload the infographic here!

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About Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey is Vice President of Product Marketing at OnShift. His expertise in staffing and labor management strategies in long-term care and senior living is foundational to his role leading OnShift’s Product Marketing team. Mike works hand-in-hand with state and national associations, senior care providers, and with OnShift’s Customer Success and Product teams to create impactful best practices aimed to help solve the daily workforce challenges in senior care. Mike shares insights, research and recommendations to improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes through regular blog posts and conference speaking engagements.

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