Four Tips for Optimizing the Modern Workforce

Four Tips for Optimizing the Modern Workforce

The healthcare sector, like many others, has experienced significant disruption due to the pandemic and the so-called “Great Resignation”.

As the frontline battles the impact of the coronavirus, healthcare workers have experienced stress and burnout like never before. Research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) conducted during the first wave of COVID-19 in Australia showed that three-quarters of respondents struggled with their obligation to work and the risk of infecting themselves and their families. family, and 42% were less willing to work than them. had been before hatching.1

With the pandemic now in its third year, the healthcare industry and its workforce are under continued stress and pressure, with many employees reconsidering their future in the industry. However, despite the challenges, the sector is also able to identify and exploit new opportunities.

For example, government research shows that employment in the industry has grown by 22% over the past five years, with further growth predicted to be 14% by 2025.2 This is due to new employees entering the workforce as well as former employees returning to previous positions. However, fluctuations in the working population make health care increasingly competitive. As such, providing a great employee experience is critical for healthcare organizations looking to attract and retain the right talent.

Technology can help provide a better experience for healthcare workers, especially when it comes to optimizing staffing. Many healthcare organizations are turning to smart scheduling solutions to help mitigate the risks of excessive overtime and burnout.

There are four ways smart scheduling solutions can help healthcare organizations optimize their operations, helping to recruit and retain valuable talent:

1. Optimized planning

Different areas of the healthcare industry have unique planning requirements. For example, complex and dynamic environments like emergency rooms or surgical units may require constant realignment of resources based on demand, whereas a GP clinic may be more static. By deploying an automated scheduling solution, healthcare organizations can ensure they are placing the right people, with the right skills, on the right shift, at the right time.

Having real-time visibility into attendance and productivity data means leaders can quickly pivot to ensure staffing levels meet patient needs in a cost-effective manner, while eliminating time-consuming manual lists. Using an automated scheduling solution allows managers to more effectively manage real-time staffing changes and quickly rebalance staffing levels based on coverage and workloads.

2. Control of overtime

Needless to say, excessive overtime can be detrimental to the health and well-being of any worker, and particularly those working in the healthcare field, as fatigue and burnout can creep in and , ultimately lead to a reduction in the quality of care provided to patients. It is essential that healthcare organizations implement solutions that help them better manage overtime among their staff.

By leveraging automated scheduling solutions, healthcare organizations can create rosters that reduce overstaffing and understaffing, as well as unplanned overtime occurrences. Smart scheduling solutions can account for anticipated patient demand in conjunction with corporate and regulatory policies, helping to anticipate each shift’s needs more accurately and reduce tiring and excessive overtime.

3. Effective shift management

Shift changes can be a tedious process, especially for industries like healthcare that require round-the-clock support. However, savvy healthcare organizations are increasingly investing in technology solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and employee self-service options to automate routine and time-consuming processes such as time off or shift swap requests.

Using digital solutions to automate this process can eliminate the need for healthcare staff and managers to call other potential workers to cover shifts when an employee is unavailable, especially when changes are needed at the last minute. Solutions that open shift availability to the entire workforce also ensure that shifts can be filled immediately by those who want them, without resulting in a compliance breach.

4. Automate and access more benefits

Improving the management of shifts, schedules and overtime can help keep healthcare workers engaged, combating the dissatisfaction that drives workers to seek opportunities elsewhere. Healthcare professionals can also provide better quality of patient care when controls are in place to reduce fatigue or burnout. When healthcare organizations fail to do this, they risk losing talented and committed employees, impacting both the effectiveness of their care and their bottom line.

To mitigate these risks, healthcare organizations should consider investing in digital solutions that streamline and automate workforce management. This includes solutions that: empower and engage healthcare workers with self-service capabilities available from anywhere, on any device; leverage mobile tools and self-service to streamline time off and shift swap requests; and automate policies and processes to ensure consistency across the organization.

1 https://www.ecu.edu.au/newsroom/articles/research/australian-healthcare-workers-facing-burnout-less-willing-to-work-since-covid-outbreak
2. https://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/GainInsights/IndustryInformation/HealthCareandSocialAssistance#:~:text=Health%20Care%20and%20Social%20Assistance%20employees%20approximately%201%2C875%2C300%20persons %20(ABS,increased%20by%2022.8%20by%20cent

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Monkey Business

Michael A. Bynum