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Evaluating An HCM Platform? Here's What Senior Care Providers Should Look For

August 6, 2021 | Jess Modic

Evaluating An HCM Platform Heres What Senior Care Providers Should Look For (2)Human capital management (HCM). It’s a term that’s thrown around often these days, but what does it really mean? According to TechTarget, it’s a comprehensive set of practices and tools used for recruiting managing and developing employees. A true HCM approach “views employees as assets to be invested in and managed to maximize their business value.”

This sentiment is something every senior care organization understands. After all, their workforce is their greatest asset. But as any provider will tell you, their labor is also their greatest expense. As costs continue to rise in the industry, many are looking into HCM technologies that allow them to balance both cost and care, while also helping to hire faster, manage more efficiently and engage employees to boost retention. Unfortunately, many of the human capital management platforms on the market are generic solutions, designed to meet the needs of industries ranging from manufacturing to retail and beyond. 

The complexities of long-term care and senior living demand more than just a generic solution; one that is purpose-built to meet the needs of their organizations, their residents and of course, their employees. Simply put, the stakes are just higher for senior care providers, who are tasked with providing care and service to our most vulnerable population. Compliance standards and staffing mandates are increasingly under scrutiny and getting tighter all the time. Staffing shortages and high competition for talent make it difficult to not only recruit staff but retain them long term. Labor costs continue to rise as margins grow thinner and thinner.

However, using a generic HCM solution only intensifies these challenges. And the impact of having the wrong platform in place can be devastating. Here’s what to look for as you evaluate HCM software to ensure you have something that is truly purpose-built to meet your needs.

A Memorable Candidate Experience Across All Roles

Finding and hiring staff is currently the top challenge for providers, according to our latest Workforce 360 survey. Because of this, it’s important to look for software that allows you to source top talent and move candidates quickly down the hiring funnel in a way that is logical for their experience level and role. OnShift Employ, our talent acquisition software, allows you to adjust the application process based on role. For example, a hiring manager may not need a full resume and credentials from someone applying for an entry-level housekeeping position like they would an executive director or HR manager.

A platform designed for the needs of the senior care industry also makes recruiting easier and more efficient for busy hiring managers. OnShift Employ streamlines the hiring process, alerting candidates and recruiters to next steps and drastically shortening the time to hire. In fact, providers that use our talent acquisition software have been able to improve time-to-hire by 50%.

And because job seekers often apply for several positions at once, especially in senior care, it’s important to make sure candidates have visibility as to where they are in the hiring process, as well as the ability to complete background checks and fill out all new hire paperwork right in the system. That way, come day one, new hires can focus on learning the ropes, connecting with colleagues and meeting the residents they’ll serve.

Schedules That Meet The Needs Of Residents & Employees

Since labor is a provider’s largest operating expense, software specifically built for senior care helps providers minimize these costs while still maintaining quality care. For example, OnShift’s scheduling software uses predictive analytics to help providers see where they stand today and, in the future, so they can avoid making inefficient or costly staffing decisions. OnShift Schedule has helped providers prevent unnecessary overtime by up to 70%.

Many generic solutions don’t consider how highly regulated the industry is – especially the skilled nursing sector. Providers face hefty fines and risk their reputation when they are unable to meet staffing standards, many of which have become more rigid over time. And while assisted living organizations may not currently face the same level of regulation, they still must be appropriately staffed for quality service. Failure to do so results in low customer satisfaction and puts their reputation on the line. 

A workforce management solution that understands the senior care industry should have the ability to determine the exact number of hours and HPPD (hours per patient day) requirements by position to meet the care and service needs of residents through proper staffing and quality care. OnShift is able to achieve this, while also providing the proactive insights you need to quickly adjust staffing based on fluctuations in demand or acuity.

And to get credit for care provided via the Payroll-Based Journal reporting system, LTC providers should prioritize solutions that make it easy to collect, review and submit this staffing information directly to CMS.

But creating best-fit schedules for residents is just the start. The right solution also prioritizes the employee experience, facilitating schedules that employees love. The OnShift All-In-One Mobile App helps create a collaborative scheduling experience by giving employees 24/7 access to view their schedule, request open shifts and swap shifts, all from their mobile devices.

Open shift requests can even be automattically approved for those not at risk of overtime. This kind of automation is critical for more than one reason. First, it gives staff the instant gratification of knowing they’ve been assigned to a shift of their choice. But it also ensures providers are not utilizing unnecessary overtime and takes a piece of schedule management off busy schedulers’ plates.

This win-win scenario gives employees control over their schedules and helps providers ensure they’re properly staffed at all times.

A Modern, Mobile Experience That Fuels A High-Performing Workforce

Since turnover is another top challenge facing providers today, your HCM platform must go beyond just the basics of a great employee scheduling experience. Take, for instance, how employees clock in and out each shift.

Timeclocks are not only expensive for providers to purchase and maintain, but for your staff, they are outdated and often come with complex UIs and faulty biometrics. Providers should invest in HCM platforms that modernize their organization and provide employees with a quick and easy punch experience.

OnShift Time, for example, is a completely mobile timekeeping system. Staff can punch from any tablet or even their own personal device. They also have easy access to view punch history, timecards and request PTO. While these tasks may seem simple, they make a big impact on the employee experience. Plus, state-of-the-art facial recognition biometrics makes punching as simple as taking a selfie. And because this is the only biometric that is visually auditable, staff are never stopped from punching due to a low biometric score. This not only leads to less frustration on the part of your staff, but fewer missed punches to manage when it’s time to process payroll.

It's also important that your HCM platform offers some of the top benefits today’s senior care employees have come to expect, such as a rewards and recognition program and the ability to regularly provide feedback to their managers. With OnShift Engage, providers can automatically reward employees for key behaviors including punching in and out on time and consistently showing up for their assigned shifts. Our employee engagement software also makes it easy to identify top performers and recognize their contributions via automated rewards.

OnShift Engage also ensures employees have a voice in the workplace. Pulse surveys capture actionable feedback in real-time, while also allowing providers to closely monitor overall satisfaction. Plus, custom surveys allow you to capture more specific feedback. These surveys were invaluable to OnShift customers throughout the pandemic, helping them to gauge how employees were coping and learn how they could best support them. More than 900,000 employee surveys were executed using OnShift in the first half of this year.

Another key perk on the list for employees is the ability to access their earned wages before payday. OnShift Wallet helps employees achieve financial wellness with instant, anonymous access to the funds they need when they need them. Our financial wellness software has helped senior care employees pay their bills on time and avoid late fees, high-interest fees and payday loans. In fact, OnShift Wallet users accessed over $29 million in early wages from January to June of this year. That brings the total wages accessed to date by OnShift users to over $110 million, proving this solution has a tangible impact on senior care staff.

A Team Of Experts Dedicated To LTC & Senior Living Success

Software that is truly dedicated to serving the senior care space understands that meeting goals takes a collaborative approach and has cultivated deep partnerships with state and national associations to facilitate the open sharing of best practices and assist in advocacy efforts. OnShift, for example, works closely with AHCA/NCAL, LeadingAge, American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and is Argentum’s Partner In Workforce Development.

It’s also vital that senior care providers have the ongoing support they need when they need it. Many HCM vendors on the market offer support and some even have dedicated customer success teams. However, very few of these platforms offer the industry-specific expertise long-term care and senior living organizations rely on to achieve both initial and sustainable success.

When evaluating providers, make sure their team knows the industry inside and out. OnShift’s Customer Success team is dedicated to LTC and senior living and works with you to provide guidance specific to the unique needs of your organization. In fact, many OnShift customers consider their CSM to be an extension of their own team. 

An Extensive Network Of Partners & A Library Of Integrations To Maximize Value

Every senior care organization is unique and this is often reflected in their technology stack. Look for a vendor that can help you create a customized HCM solution that allows you to tap into data across your various systems to maximize value and visibility.

For example, integrating clinical data directly into your schedule can help ensure your staffing requirements automatically adjust based on changes in census or acuity. This level of visibility is essential as you create and manage schedules from day to day.

As you evaluate HCM vendors, it’s also important to consider their ability to create a complete HCM experience with best-in-class software. For example, you may have an HRIS or payroll system in place that works for your organization. But, perhaps, that vendor doesn’t offer an industry-specific solution for staff scheduling and employee engagement. Partnerships and integrations can help close those gaps and ensure you have the solutions you need to meet your unique business needs.

OnShift has helped thousands of providers see the value of an industry-specific HCM platform each day. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what Jerol Schrag, CFO, Bluestem Communities has to say…

“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.”

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About Jess Modic

Jess Modic is the Vice President of Customer Success at OnShift.

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