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Senior Care Scheduling Tips from Starbucks

January 20, 2017 | Mike Pumphrey

starbucks-employees.jpgThe senior care industry has been in competition as of late with the likes of Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and  fast food restaurants—for employees, that is.

While senior living doesn’t look or feel a whole lot like a quick-serve restaurant, executives in the industry lately have said these organizations are drawing from the same talent pool. With comparable wages to these organizations, providers have had to double down on their efforts to recruit and retain their workers.

As it turns out, though, there’s a lot that the senior care industry can learn from the these organizations when it comes to staffing. For example, Starbucks’ approach to scheduling includes tactics that senior care providers can easily adopt themselves.

The Starbucks scheduling method involves three main prongs, with several established principles that adhere to each. The goal is always to balance the needs of employees with the needs of the business.

  • Principle #1: Manage individual needs.

When someone is hired at Starbucks, he or she must provide their availability and preferred schedules. That way, the stores can acknowledge and respect an employee’s desires from the start.

Another principle that Starbucks abides by, which goes in line with employees’ individual needs, is that managers help transfer workers who have commutes that are longer than an hour to a store closer to their homes.

Key Takeaways: Senior care providers can similarly pay attention to employees’ desired schedules to improve worker satisfaction and engagement. In OnShift’s mobile app, employees can set their work and notification preferences with what is most convenient for them. That way, when a call-off does come in, there is a targeted list of employees who want to work those hours.

  • Principle #2: Be as consistent as possible.

Employees at Starbucks are always given a “good faith estimate” of the hours they will work each week. This gives employees regularity in their schedules and it gives Starbucks stores the same in the staffing of each shift. What’s more, store managers at Starbucks are required to give their workers at least eight hours off between a closing and opening shift.

Starbucks strives to provide stability and consistency in schedules for employees, and the company promises to continue to improve better scheduling capabilities moving forward. This commitment proves promising for schedulers and workers alike, as they can expect continuity of schedules.

Key Takeaways: Manual scheduling processes is still common for many providers – which can lead to inconsistencies and confusion as to when employees are scheduled to work. With scheduling software like OnShift, operators can quickly create schedules and provide staff members visibility into their schedules weeks before they are scheduled to work. Employees appreciate knowing their schedules far in advance so that they make plans accordingly.

  • Principle #3: Maintain some flexibility.

Starbucks posts schedules at least 14 days in advance, so that workers can see the current work week along with the next two weeks. This allows employees to plan ahead if anything is different in the schedule, and get shifts covered or switched if needed.

If issues arise, Starbucks maintains a support team, where employees can turn to ask questions or share concerns about scheduling policies.

Key Takeaways: While consistency is important, employees also value flexibility. It’s important to issue schedules early so they can adjust and plan accordingly. Also, making it clear that employees can bring questions or concerns to schedulers or management is an excellent rule of thumb.

With OnShift’s mobile app, employees can view their schedules, swap shifts, and submit call-offs from their mobile phones. This added flexibility drives employee engagement, and it’s something employees are starting to expect.

Senior Living Communities, an OnShift customer, is an example of this efficient scheduling process. Employees appreciate the 24/7 access to their schedules, and they can easily make adjustments from anywhere. Staff satisfaction is up!

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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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