In times of uncertainty, how healthcare organizations support their employees will be remembered for years to come. Aside from the resource necessities like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), how providers look out for the safety and well-being of their employees will impact their engagement, productivity and loyalty in times ahead. With the new norm continually evolving, what are some workforce management trends that we think will stick? Here are four current trends we are seeing 

Mobile to the masses 

Mobile self-service and self-scheduling capabilities will play a much bigger role given the dynamic changes in hospital care settings. Dedicated “pop up” COVID-19 hospitals in conventions centers and parking lots forced operational change and the emergence of new workers. One day a finance person is a hospital greeter, or a cardiovascular nurse specialist is assigned to work in a COVID-19 unit. How quickly organizations redeploy and manage a more agile staff remotely is critical. From collecting punch data when the device is online or offline, to pushing notifications to keep managers informed, and finally to enabling shift swaps that allow employees to take back their personal lives once the COVID-19 peak is over. Mobile workforce management will be part of the new norm going forward. 

One customer who broadly adopted mobile a year or so ago had already realized the benefits. According to David Shearer, application analyst for UK HealthCare, employees love the mobile solution. He stated, “we are showing our employees that their time and their happiness are valuable to us – we don’t want them experiencing the frustration of having to wait in line to start their day or not be able to leave work on time,” he said. “We’re willing to invest in technology that will improve the workplace experience for our people. Ultimately, it’s made their lives easier and patient care better.” 

Good news for all of us, Workforce Dimensions was built using responsive design, providing employees and managers the same fulfilling experience on all their devices – mobile, tablet and PC’s. No additional licenses are needed! Why not empower employees and managers to connect with the reliable data they need to make informed decisions and allow them to work where they want (and where they are needed most in the next emergency)?  

Battling fatigue and burnout 

Right now, all care providers are putting the interest of their patients and the public before their own. It’s the professionalism of healthcare, embedded in their DNA. Moving forward, how can organizations better support their caregivers and manage fatigue post peak? According to Wake Up to the Facts About Fatigue ebook, nurses identified excessive workloads (60%), inability to take lunch and dinner breaks during a shift (42%), and inability to take any breaks during a shift (41%) as the largest causes of fatigue. The solution? 55% of nurses said having more control over their schedules would alleviate their fatigue and 60% said if they had more say in their schedule, they could have better work/life balance.  

With Workforce Dimensions Scheduling, effective schedules can be generated with a mix of employee skills and experience to deliver quality care. Providing nurses and other caregivers with self-scheduling capabilities that allow them to set schedule preferences, swap and choose open shifts can help improve their work/life balance and decrease absenteeism. Schedules can also be built based on how much time employees should have off between shifts or the maximum hours they can work in a given period. Enterprise-wide scheduling solutions, like Workforce Dimensions, give organizations the tools to identify, monitor and minimize fatigue risks.  

From a shift-to-shift staffing perspective, nursing leaders need to combat fatigue by managing the workload for caregivers based on each patient’s unique care needs. Workforce Dimensions workload manager functionality measures each patient’s level-of-care intensity to quickly compile total workload, validate staffing levels, and generate balanced, equitable patient assignments for review and approval.  

Giving front-line peace of mind  

Financial stability is also a top concern. Organizations can help address those fears in creative and meaningful ways. We all know not all hospital and health system workers are doctors and nurses that command higher salaries; many in a health system setting are “essential”, yet make close to minimum wage – think of certified nurse assistants, dietary aides, and custodians. With 55% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, many employers are offering free financial wellness benefits and instant access to earning to their employees.  

Through the Kronos Partner Network, we developed a broad network of alliances that empowers our customers to deliver creative solutions via advance pay services from Branch, Even and PayActiv. Workforce Dimensions’ robust API and integration framework enables this extensibility and simplifies integration with other systems. Its state-of-the-art platform helps organizations solve their workforce challenges and provides additional opportunities to positively impact your recruiting and retention efforts.  

Navigating through these uncharted waters 

Each day, across the continuum of care, the adoption of technology has accelerated and driven new innovations. New ways of work will emerge as providers navigate through these unprecedented times at remarkable speeds. Yet at the end of the day, healthcare is all about people – your staff, your patients and your population. Looking out for their safety and well-being starts with your staff. Enable and empower them with the workforce management tools they need to automate, streamline and inform their daily decisions. 

Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2020