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Over the last few years, there have been many obstacles in healthcare that have impacted employee pay and working conditions. These obstacles have led to many employees quitting the industry altogether, increasing the demand for healthcare worker jobs as workers seek other opportunities. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nearly half a million nurses will retire between now and the end of 2022, creating a shortage of over one million nurses in the country.

These numbers will also affect long-term care, assisted living facilities and hospitals, as nurses leaving bedside nursing may lead to more stress on staff members and reduce the quality of care for patients. As a manager, admin, or CEO of your nursing facility, it's critical to know the trends in healthcare and what's causing workers to leave their positions. Knowing the top reasons why nurses are quitting will help you stay ahead of the curve and find ways to improve your management practices.

Why Are Nurses Quitting?

Healthcare workers encompass a wide range of staff, including nurses and physicians, who have faced mental, emotional, and physical challenges, such as exhaustion. This has led to high turnover rates within the healthcare industry, which is a costly factor. Studies show that it costs about two times a staff member's salary to replace them, which is why retention rates are so important.

Employee turnover doesn't just have a financial impact on a business but also on productivity, treatment outcomes, and patient care. Training new healthcare workers, such as nurses, can be expensive and time-consuming, leaving your system short-staffed. One study found that high rates of employee turnover were directly associated with high patient mortality. In addition, financial or overall job stress can also lead to a decline in productivity and cause medical errors.

Let's take a closer look at the top five reasons why nurses are leaving the healthcare industry.

1. The COVID-19 Pandemic

It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic put an immense amount of physical, emotional, and mental stress on all healthcare workers—especially nurses. From nurses in hospitals to caregivers in assisted living facilities, many staff members worked long shifts and reused the same masks or gloves due to nationwide shortages.

The strain of the pandemic also made it difficult for nurses to see their loved ones, making many of them lose the passion they previously had for caregiving. Others contracted COVID themselves and could no longer work. These issues drove many nurses out of the field and caused frustration for the ones who stayed.

Usually, nursing schools see nearly 190,000 new nurses every year, but by their second year in the industry, 33% of them leave the bedside. After the pandemic, these numbers are even worse. Nearly one in five healthcare workers quit their jobs since the start of the pandemic.

As the height of the pandemic and quarantine times have decreased, there is more relief in the workforce, but many nurses may still feel the effects of the pandemic and feel the industry is ill-equipped to support their needs.

The COVID-19 vaccine is also a source of stress for many nurses as some healthcare facilities may require them for all staff members. One study conducted by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) found that 40% of assisted living facilities reported that employer and state vaccination requirements have been the biggest obstacle when hiring new staff.

 

2. Burnout

Burnout is a severe form of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion and stress caused by constantly feeling overwhelmed. Many workers who feel emotionally drained or unable to keep up with the demands of their jobs and personal life may be experiencing burnout, but there are many other causes and symptoms.

While burnout can be present in any job, it's particularly high in the healthcare industry. Working through a pandemic and dealing with the overall stress of caring for others can become overwhelming for many nurses, even those with years of experience. One report found that 44% of nurses cited burnout and a high-stress environment as the reasons for their desire to leave their jobs.

The nature of caregiving jobs can make staff members take on a heavy emotional toll. Along with burnout, nurses may feel immense stress and trauma as they regularly deal with sickness and death. Healthcare workers want to help their patients and residents, and it can become frustrating if they feel powerless because of their own stress.

Many nurses that deal with burnout are also more susceptible to other mental health conditions and depressive disorders. When facing many different stressors, nurses might also become emotionally detached or even irritable with patients and colleagues as a result of burnout.

3. Financial Stress and Lack of Work Benefits

Financial stress and employee benefits are other primary reasons why nurses are quitting. It's easy to imagine how financial stress can impact the well-being of nurses and their job performance, especially when dealing with a pandemic or staffing shortages. Financial stress affects many workers in the United States, including those in healthcare already coping with burnout.

When your staff deals with emotional exhaustion and financial stress, it's hard not to carry those feelings into their daily job. Financial burdens might cause nursing staff to feel less satisfied and less focused on the task at hand, which can also affect the quality of care for residents and patients.

However, instead of increasing salaries, many hospitals and other healthcare facilities have opted for sign-on bonuses to attract new nurses. In Texas, there was a significant increase in offers with sign-on bonuses, from 16% in 2020 to 58% in 2021. These bonuses ranged from about $5,000 to $10,000, but overall salaries in the state actually decreased by 5% within the last year. In addition, many permanent nursing staff members feel increased financial competition with travel nurses, who tend to have much higher rates.

These compensation differences can cause major dissatisfaction, another issue that can pressure nurses to leave their positions in assisted living or long-term care facilities and create more turnover.

Nurses are also looking for better job benefits that incentivize staying in their positions even through grueling working conditions, such as more PTO, paternal leave policies, and job security. From reduced salaries and benefits to canceled raises and longer hours, it's easy to see why many nurses feel undervalued and seek employment in other industries. When under financial stress and the feeling that their work isn't worth the lack of benefits, nurses may leave in search of jobs with greater flexibility and more opportunity for career advancement.

 

4. Working Conditions

Nursing staff, among all healthcare workers, deal with trauma, stress, and death in many different circumstances. For those working in long-term care or assisted living facilities, caring for residents and feeling responsible for so many loved ones can become taxing if working conditions are not up to speed. Working conditions encompass a wide range of issues, from adequate staffing to proper PPE to efficient management processes. Nursing staff can also deal with negative working conditions when dealing with patients and residents themselves.

For example, patient frustrations and discrimination are just some of the issues nurses deal with outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nurses have experienced physical or verbal attacks by patients or their family members with threats, obscenities, and violence. Unfortunately, violence in the healthcare setting is nothing new. One study found that between 8% and 38% of all healthcare workers around the world experience some form of violence, which only adds to an already stressful environment.

More research shows that nurses rely heavily on leadership and management to keep working conditions positive and create a better work culture. Having effective leadership and support from supervisors and other administrative staff is key to addressing employee concerns and preventing issues like job dissatisfaction.

5. Staffing Shortages

Nurses dealing with payroll errors, miscommunication, staffing shortages, scheduling issues, or denied PTO or sick leave are some problems facing management. With the work and stress load that most caregivers already bear, poor management practices for essential administrative tasks can be the last straw for some healthcare workers. Many healthcare facilities are still battling staffing shortages causing longer wait times for patients. In fact, reports show that staffing shortages are a top patient safety concern.

If fundamental needs, such as an adequate nurse-to-resident ratio, aren't met, it can be easier for nurses to make mistakes on paperwork, forget to complete documentation, or unintentionally neglect patient needs as they become overwhelmed with other tasks.

As of March of 2022, 28% of nursing facilities have at least one type of staff shortage. Additionally, 96% of assisted living communities are facing staffing shortages, and 30% of these communities say their staffing situation has become severe. The study conducted by the AHCA and NCAL also found that 100% of assisted living facilities are asking some of their nursing staff to work overtime or take on extra shifts, and 28% limit new resident and patient admissions—all due to staffing shortages.

Appropriate staffing levels can provide many benefits to these facilities, including more job satisfaction, better retention rates, and a decrease in medical errors.

 

Solutions to Reduce Nurse Turnover

Employee turnover is a costly issue in any industry, but retaining quality nursing staff in healthcare has proven to be a challenge lately. The better your retention rates, the better quality you can deliver to your residents and keep productivity high. However, as more and more healthcare workers justify leaving their positions, businesses need to fight to give them more control over their careers, access to more benefits, and reduce their administrative burdens.

These types of solutions can help create an immediate impact by giving staff more flexibility and helping them avoid feelings of stress and burnout. For instance, using a nurse management software to keep watch of your staff member's overtime to ensure they aren't working too much will show them you're looking out for their well-being. Investing in a nurse management software like SmartLinx that provides solutions to several problems at once makes it easier to automate administrative tasks and improve other processes.

Reduce Scheduling Hassle

Research shows that having adequate staffing and limiting the number of hours per shift are primary factors to help alleviate nursing burnout. SmartLinx offers solutions that let you handle real-time scheduling and personal data in one simple platform to ensure adequate staffing for each shift. You can provide immediate notifications to employees about any scheduling changes, open shifts, new schedules, and time-off request approvals through a variety of communication methods that make it easy to stay in touch.

Enabling employees to easily submit time-off and open shift requests creates several options to help avoid short-staffing among nurses. With the management demands in assisted living and long-term care facilities, seamlessly managing shifts with automation can streamline administration and reduce issues with nursing schedules. With SmartLinx, you can optimize your operations and tailor the software to meet your unique needs.

Balancing day-to-day priorities can be challenging, but keeping your nursing staff and residents happy should be at the top of the list. By automating your existing processes, you can easily find replacements for staff members on leave or communicate last-minute schedule updates through mobile access features that employees can access at their fingertips. With this feature, employees can also swap shifts, pick up more shifts, and adjust schedules on their own. This allows your staff to feel more in control of their career and easily lets them reduce or increase their hours instantly from their phone.

Likewise, giving your staff more control over the schedule can make it easier on you and your management team, so you don't have to constantly adjust whenever someone requests a change in their hours. Your staff members can quickly confirm or update you about a shift in seconds, leaving you more time to focus on other priorities.

Automate Administrative Processes

Software that can improve your workforce management makes it easier for you to spend more time supporting your staff and addressing their needs and concerns. For instance, automation technology from SmartLinx lets you empower employees and give them more control of their personal data, freeing up administration and staff time. This allows your employees to focus on residents. You can also see your staff's attendance and easily monitor their overtime to manage costs and make informed decisions.

When it comes to management processes, a solution like SmartLinx can assist in tracking applications, job posting, and onboarding to streamline the entire hiring process. Automation can reduce the obstacles you face when hiring more staff to alleviate the shortage you might be experiencing. The Applicant Tracker even allows you to add pre-screening questions and post on your website or social media instantly, connecting you to more qualified nurses faster and easier.

Provide Same Day Pay

A great way to help reduce financial stress for your nursing staff is by offering same-day pay and flexible/catered payments to benefit nurses' irregular scheduling. With SmartLinx nurse management software, you can provide these options to your staff and allow them to access their pay much faster after their shift instead of waiting weeks to get paid. This may even encourage staff to take on more shifts or longer hours because they can receive the immediate benefit at the end of the day when they clock out.

Same-day pay benefits for nurses also help them stay on top of their bills and ensure they make ends meet. Whether they need to pay off a student loan or get their bills in order before their next paycheck arrives, allowing your staff to get paid in advance will help them budget and track spending and saving. Because many nurses don't work a typical 40-hour workweek, same-day pay makes it easier for them to see if they'll have a shortfall in their earnings and seek more shifts as needed.

Improve Conditions for Your Nurses With SmartLinx

In today's conditions, it's critical that your healthcare and nursing staff feel appreciated, valued, and supported. With an automated nursing software like SmartLinx, you can reduce the time your nurses spend on administrative tasks, give them more control and flexibility over their schedules, and ease their financial stress with same-day pay. By speeding up your existing processes and making them more efficient with easy-to-use, intelligent solutions, you can diminish the burden on your staff and let them spend more time with patients.

Investing in your nurses' well-being is essential to staff retention and satisfaction at your long-term care facility. While this solution can increase productivity and reduce labor costs, it will also help prevent burnout among your staff. Schedule a demo today, or contact us to learn more about our products, services, and solutions.

 

Employee leave management may not seem like something that should make your top list of priorities, especially in a busy nursing facility. However, an effective leave management policy ensures your assisted living facility runs properly while giving staff members a chance to recover from illness or injury or attend to their loved ones.

As a manager or owner of a nursing facility, it's essential that you also free up time dedicated to payroll, scheduling, time clocks, HR issues, and applicant tracking to manage your staff leave and keep them happy. Here's what you need to know about building an effective employee leave management policy.

What Is Employee Leave Management?

Employee leave management, or time-off management, is the process of managing and organizing time-off requests for parental leave, vacation, sick leave, holidays, or emergencies for your nursing staff. There are many different nurse leave policies, guidelines, and rules that you and your staff members must follow to stay in compliance and keep your assisted living facility running smoothly.

Organizing all aspects of leave management will also ensure that your staff members receive the benefits they're entitled to and make them feel supported during their absence. Here are the most important elements of employee leave management:

While these aspects of leave management are essential, they can be difficult to handle on top of running your facility or overseeing other essential nursing functions, such as payroll or scheduling.

The primary goal of leave management is to effectively handle staff time-off requests fairly and accurately while maintaining other staffing requirements to help keep everyone on the same page. Having a strong, clear staff leave management process makes it easier for team managers, staff members, and HR departments to work together and meet everyone's needs.

 

Adhering to FMLA in Healthcare

It's critical to remain compliant with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when managing your staff time-off requests. The FMLA provides eligible staff members to take job-protected, unpaid leave for certain medical, family, or emergency reasons under specific conditions and terms. Staff members under the FMLA still maintain their group health insurance coverage and are entitled to up to 12 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period for reasons such as:

Staff members are typically eligible for leave under FMLA if they've worked at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months. The FMLA ensures staff members get these 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year if they meet certain requirements while maintaining their job security and health insurance benefits. Here are some ways you can simplify FMLA leave compliance in your nursing facility to make your processes more efficient and protect against lawsuits and violations:

Benefits and Challenges of an Employee Leave Management Process

You have to deal with many things as a CEO, manager, or admin of a long-term care facility. While it's necessary to ensure your staff gets the leave they are entitled to, it's vital that you do everything correctly to avoid violations, abuse, or compliance issues. Here are the primary benefits and challenges of employee leave management and how you can improve your process.

 

Benefits of Leave Management

While, at first, the sound of giving every staff member up to 12 weeks off work may feel counterproductive, there are many benefits to giving your workers this time off if they request it. A transparent leave management process can improve your facility's bottom line by:

When you have an accurate and detailed schedule of when people will be absent for leave, you can benefit from better work planning and organizing your staff schedules and hours. Without a precise leave management process, it can be challenging to know which of your staff members' positions you have to cover or how to adjust schedules to ensure no one works too much overtime.

Getting your leave policy right can also help attract new staff members and ensure you apply the policy fairly and consistently across your company. This consistency can help reduce any issues or errors with communication or documentation, leading to more effective team workloads and less disruption with productivity. These overall improvements can also create more engagement among your nurses.

Challenges of Leave Management

Now that you know the many benefits of a strong leave management process, it's wise to be aware of some of the challenges you may face when implementing it for the first time or adjusting an evolving policy.

There are many different parts to maintain when managing your business workflow and staff leave, which can easily throw your staff off track and result in lower productivity. Not to mention, complying with regulations and labor laws is a top priority. Here are a few obstacles you could face when managing staff leave.

Best Tips and Practices for Your Employee Leave Process

Building and maintaining well-balanced employee leave procedures can be challenging without the proper knowledge and tools. Here are some helpful tips and best practices to guide your policy development and leave management process.

Understand the Law and Stay Consistent

The first step in creating an efficient, fair leave program is to know the ins and outs of local, state, and federal laws regarding your nursing staff and assisted living facility. This will help you ensure your leave policies align with all ordinances and mandates that apply to your healthcare business. There are many ways you might run into legal trouble if your leave management policies are not consistently applied or if you unintentionally discriminate against different staff members.

For instance, you might want to consider a staff member's circumstances and make exceptions. However, bending the rules for some people means others won't receive that benefit, which can create legal trouble. To avoid these issues, you need to have clearly written policies and ensure all schedule makers, admins, or managers are adequately trained to stay consistent with your entire staff.

Outline Your Leave Policy Guidelines

There are many different types of leave or circumstances your staff members will need guidance on, so you should include all of the following information:

Be sure to clarify these rules and answer any common questions or concerns about FMLA leave you and your staff might have to avoid an influx of confusion or emails regarding PTO or unpaid leave. You can even promote your company culture in these policies by encouraging staff members to take advantage of these benefits if their circumstances fit the criteria.

 

Allow Your Policies to Evolve

It's possible to miss a detail or two even if you plan your policies well. A staff member may have a unique situation that doesn't fit the guidelines in your policies, so it's important to allow your policies to evolve and change them as needed to accommodate your staff's needs.

For example, if you discover a flaw in your outlined rules, you can always make the necessary changes and look for new ways to improve existing policies. This will help your staff feel supported and know that you're keeping track of important issues.

Communicate Your Policies Clearly

You must communicate with your staff, whether you send out a digital staff handbook, post your policies in the lounge, or hold a meeting to go through your PTO and leave policies verbally. Make sure your staff is aware of their benefits and rights throughout every level of your organization. Your nurse managers should thoroughly understand your policies so they can answer any questions and resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.

In addition to regularly discussing your policies and promoting transparency, it's important to immediately communicate any changes to your policies, rules, or guidelines with your staff. Though it might be challenging to get every staff member to attend a meeting at once, you can send emails with your employee handbook and highlight these changes.

Include any necessary information about these changes, such as when they go into effect and whether they change any staff leave requests already in place. Give all staff members as much notice as possible when making changes so they don't feel caught off guard.

Maintain a Sustainable Workflow

You can help your staff members in your facility by improving their workflow—even with an absent employee or two. One study found that nurses spend at least 25% of their day on administrative tasks. You can make these processes easier and more efficient with automated software to optimize scheduling, enhance control and flexibility for time and attendance, and improve reporting and compliance.

Maintaining a sustainable workflow will also help support staff members taking leave. If your staff members feel too stressed to take leave or guilty that their colleagues and other nursing staff will be under too much pressure in their absence, it can create even more frustration. Providing your staff with automated solutions will help them get through their tasks quickly and accurately, improving productivity and accuracy and reducing stress while others are on leave.

Your nursing staff already multitasks as they deal with residents and patients in your long-term care facility. They can become stressed as they spend more time on documentation or become interrupted by phone calls and other administrative tasks that keep them from spending time with patients. Keeping your workflow efficient will also help you focus more on investing in the well-being of your nurses, which will allow them to invest more in their patients.

 

Schedule Effective Leave Management With SmartLinx

The hustle and bustle of your facility can make it difficult for your staff to feel comfortable asking for leave and following the proper processes, which makes it challenging for you to manage these requests without being left shorthanded. Optimizing your workforce with automation from SmartLinx can help you efficiently distribute staff hours, schedules, and temporary transfers to allow other employees to take extended time off. It's no secret that technology can ease administrative burdens for healthcare workers, and it also allows them to deliver better quality care.

In addition, SmartLinx software allows you to manage nursing leave scheduling and communicate changes instantly with your staff. Your staff can benefit from less stress and more flexibility when they can get notifications directly to their phone about time-off requests. Whether you're looking to improve your staff leave management processes or optimize your current workforce and shift your business conditions, SmartLinx provides an all-in-one solution to your long-term nursing facility needs. Schedule a demo today to get started, or contact us online with any questions.

Nurses in assisted living and long-term care facilities face many challenges. As caregivers working with sick, injured, or disabled residents, nurses put much of their energy and dedication into supporting their patients—which can be demanding. These demands can make your nursing staff feel depleted and lead to burnout, among other negative impacts. With the rising concern of mental health issues for healthcare workers, it's critical to take precautions to minimize caregiver strain and focus on the well-being of everyone in your facility.

When you know what signs to look for, you can take proactive measures and implement new tools to help your nursing staff in their daily tasks and promote positive company culture. Preventing nurse burnout is essential for the overall health of your residents, staff, and facility. Keep reading to learn about the issues many healthcare workers face and how to reduce burnout in nursing and caregiving.

What Is Nurse Burnout?

Nurse or caregiver burnout refers to the overwhelming physical and emotional exhaustion of healthcare workers who provide support and treatment for long-term care patients. The healthcare industry can be highly stressful, especially during staff and supply shortages. These issues can lead caregivers to lose their passion for their job and even develop resentment. Nurse burnout is often caused by increased workloads, physical demands, lack of personal and financial support, and outdated technology that makes it difficult to do their job.

Google Trends shows an increasing rate of concern for nurse burnout, with searches for the term hitting their highest point ever in March of this year.

While burnout is highly present in the healthcare industry as a whole, long-term positions in emotionally demanding situations can take their toll on your staff. As nurses juggle caring for patients, taking care of their personal lives, and supporting other staff members, it's no surprise that many become unhappy in their careers. Research shows that, as of 2021, at least 37% of nurses considered leaving their profession due to burnout and stress. Symptoms of caregiver burnout include:

While burnout can refer to a general feeling of high stress and emotional drain, there are different stages of burnout your nursing staff can experience. The stages of burnout become more severe over time, including:

  1. Stress: The first stage of burnout can come from general frustration, irritability, or sadness by feeling undervalued or not receiving any gratitude from patients, leadership, or colleagues. Regardless of what causes the stress, it usually becomes worse if not addressed.
  2. Burnout: Prolonged stress from constantly caring for others can create burnout. At this stage, nurses often feel overworked and lack the motivation to care for their mental health properly.
  3. Compassion fatigue: The final stage of burnout is when nurses are in a state of despair and begin to lack empathy for their patients. Nurses will often feel disconnected after prolonged periods of tension and exposure to difficult situations, such as death and other trauma.

The Rise of Mental Health Concerns for Healthcare Workers

In addition to burnout, healthcare workers face many other mental health problems. Those who suffer from burnout are more likely to develop other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Over the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's easy to see how nursing staff may become overwhelmed due to staffing shortages, lack of adequate compensation, and emotional tolls.

One survey found that 93% of healthcare workers reported experiencing stress, 86% experienced anxiety, 76% reported burnout and exhaustion, and 75% reported feeling overwhelmed due to the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. This same study reported that over half of all respondents felt they were experiencing compassion fatigue, while 45% of nurses felt they were not getting the emotional support they needed.

With such high numbers of mental health concerns, it's worth discussing why healthcare workers are more likely to experience these problems due to their working conditions than in other careers. Even before the pandemic, working in healthcare has always involved:

Combating nurse burnout begins with reducing workforce shortages, faster access to pay, and advanced technology to make administrative tasks more manageable. For instance, nurses and other healthcare workers spend more time on documentation activities than patient care activities, which can lead to many issues in your long-term care facility. As your nursing staff spends more time taking notes, charting, checking their schedules, or trying to access their payroll, they spend less time delivering quality care to residents.

 

The Benefits of Automation Technology on Burnout

While there are many solutions to alleviate nursing staff burnout and stress, implementing automation technology can, directly and indirectly, create a better environment. Nurse management software provides you and other managers, schedule makers, or administrative staff with features and tools to conduct many different tasks in a single, easy-to-use platform. Here are some ways automation technology can reduce burnout and make life easier for your nursing staff:

Optimize Workflows

While caring for patients, nurses are constantly interrupted by a number of competing needs within their facilities. With a robust workforce management system like SmartLinx, you can reduce the administrative burden on nurses and ease their burnout with a suite of products that help you and your employees make better decisions.

Juggling multiple systems and manual processes daily can be a hassle. Simplifying attendance, payroll, and other basic tasks with fewer clicks and faster processing frees up time and allows your staff to coordinate more effectively. When nurses have the tools to easily collaborate with colleagues and do their job more efficiently, it can reduce their exhaustion at the end of their shifts and help them feel supported and motivated to care for their patients.

Improve Communication and Employee Scheduling

Optimizing nursing scheduling and streamlining communications can also lighten the load on your nursing staff. Inefficient scheduling can create issues in your workflow and cause frustration among your employees. With automation technology, you can generate smart schedules that adapt to changes in real-time, such as rotations, replacements, and unexpected call-outs or extended leave.

Mobile access allows your staff to instantly view changes, request additional shifts, and confirm replacements through notifications and text messages. Nurse management software from SmartLinx keeps all staff and leadership communication in one place with user-friendly menus, making it easy to keep your organization running smoothly and remain fully staffed.

Streamline Human Resource and Workforce Management Processes

Creating a better employee experience starts with improving your HRM and workforce management procedures. Identifying gaps in your current systems and finding ways to enhance your processes is key to relieving nursing staff of frustrating, tedious tasks, such as trying to check their payroll or request a day off. Your HR department should focus more on people, not paperwork. From approving PTO to regulatory reports to hiring and onboarding new staff, it's important that you can rely on technology that does the hard work for you.

With SmartLinx solutions, you can make it effortless to track applicants, reduce scheduling conflicts, engage your employees, and fix common issues from any location. The more you can do for your nursing staff—and the more control they have over their careers—the more satisfied they will be.

Reducing stress on your nursing staff can make them happier and allow them to spread that engagement to your residents. With a thorough workforce management process, you can also improve your bottom line, boost productivity, enhance company morale, and prioritize mental health.

Alleviate Nurse Fatigue and Burnout With SmartLinx

Preventing burnout in healthcare is critical to the mental health and well-being of your staff and residents. With SmartLinx, you can give your nurses more control and flexibility over their schedule, let them access same-day pay, and communicate with them quickly and efficiently.

Instead of spending hours of their day dealing with inadequate, unreliable technology or multiple disparate systems, your staff can focus on delivering quality care to their patients. Schedule a demo with us today, or contact us to learn more about how our services and solutions can help your nursing staff.

Running an assisted living or long-term care facility would be impossible without the help of your dedicated nursing staff. A nurse's devotion their patients helps ensure patients receive the best care possible and families feel confident their loved ones are in the right hands. There is no doubt that nurses are exceptional, but they can also feel overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and burnout.

Because they are so busy taking care of others, they rarely make time to care for themselves. This can lead them to feel dissatisfied with their jobs and affect their well-being. Let's discuss some ways you can support your nursing staff's mental health and provide them with resources to prioritize their cognitive, physical, and emotional health.

What Causes Nurse Stress and Burnout?

Two of the most significant influencers that affect the well-being of nurses are stress and burnout. While stress has varying types and degrees of severity, burnout is more extreme. Generally, nurse burnout in long-term care is a combination of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that leads to other side effects like depression and feelings of hopelessness.

There are many work-related factors that cause stress and burnout. Nurses are often pressured to work long hours, make quick decisions, and take on their patient's worries and needs. Some other causes of nurse stress include managing a large number of patients, constantly multi-tasking, and lack of sleep.

Without regulation, this stress can build up over time and lead to burnout, causing nurses to feel detached or disengaged from their tasks and how they interact with others. Once a nurse reaches this point, they may show symptoms of burnout while at work, including:

Going through burnout can significantly impact a nurse's performance alongside their well-being and happiness. When nurses experience burnout, their patients and employers can also suffer the effects, as burnout can lead to:

Specifically, burnout is becoming a significant problem for nurses in long-term care facilities, particularly those with a lack of education and training on coping with such stressors. While the effects of burnout are enough to cause alarm, you may think your organization or facility does enough to help manage staff stress. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

How Can Employers Support Staff Mental Health?

As mental well-being and resilience become more challenging to manage during stressful periods, your staff needs all the help they can get. As a manager or employer, you can implement a few different tactics to help your staff recover from burnout and learn to manage symptoms in the future before it becomes too much to handle. Adding resources to your organization or facility can also help mitigate staff dissatisfaction and reduce your turnover.

One of the best ways you can help invest in your nurses' well-being is by creating and offering a program that focuses on stress management methods and learning to practice boundaries.

Building Staff Well-Being Programs

Put nursing wellness into action and increase job satisfaction by supporting a work-life balance. Research shows that improving work-life balance can reduce nurses' intention to leave their jobs. This indicates that nursing staff values the ability to have a clear distinction between their work and home life, where they don't have to take on the effects of being a caregiver every day.

With this type of program, you can focus on any significant issues your staff may be experiencing, such as bridging the gap between knowledge and action in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Training your staff will help them feel supported along their journey as they encounter challenges and remind them to communicate their feelings about work-related stress.

As a manager or employer, you can decide how long or often your program continues and what specific offerings you can make available for your staff, including:

To help establish a program that works for your long-term care nursing staff, you can hold a meeting and reach out to your team about what they'd like to see in the program.

Let's look at some strategies you can implement in your well-being program.

1. Talk About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the most helpful ways to help minimize the negative thought cycle brought upon by stress. When you encourage your staff to practice mindfulness, they can become more self-aware, making it easier to focus on positive emotions and outcomes.

In your program, you can highlight how important it is to be accepting of your thoughts and emotions. However, you must also stay focused on the present moment and use your energy to reframe the negative aspects into something positive. Mindfulness is also an effective strategy for reducing anxiety, depression, and burnout and leads to more job satisfaction.

2. Encourage a Culture of Well-Being

It's always important to lead by example, so promoting the prioritization of well-being in your work culture can inspire your nursing staff to take their health seriously. From the moment you begin the onboarding process, you should highlight the different resources and support your nursing staff can benefit from and what your work culture does to mitigate stress.

Implementing a wellness program in your facility can improve social cohesion among staff, boost communication, and help your staff build stronger relationships. You may also see an improved sense of community and enhanced quality of life.

3. Examine Nursing Staff Scheduling

There's no denying that working long hours can be stressful, so it's important to look at your scheduling and staffing practices to find ways to improve your staff's workflow. Try to work with your staff to find the best balance for nurse-to-patient ratios. Getting feedback from your team about where they need extra help and support can make them more productive and ready to take on their shift.

Do what you can to limit the number of hours worked per shift so your nurses can experience more work-life balance practices. Adding specific scheduling policies to your program can help you uphold the well-being of your staff and let them know they're a priority.

4. Focus Coping Strategies

Supporting your nursing staff through empowerment and engagement also means providing practical, effective ways to cope with challenges they face as caregivers. Learning to deal with conflict is an important skill, especially when working with long-term patients and concerned family members. Reminding your staff to take care of themselves can help them prioritize their own well-being.

Some effective coping strategies you can introduce to your team include:

5. Automation

Investing in automation to reduce the manual administrative labor your nurses deal with can help lift the emotional burdens they carry while on the job. While your staff is busy taking care of patients, research shows that 36% of clinicians spend more than half their workdays tending to administrative tasks that could be handled with automation.

While that amount of time already intercepts your nurses' devotion to your patients, 50% of administrative staff say the volume of manual data entry has increased over the past 12 months and 72% expect to spend more time on administrative within the next year.

Additionally, 89% of clinicians must consult different electronic systems at least a few times a day just to access patient information, which can make it difficult for nurses to stay on top of their tasks and feel productive in their daily routines. With the help of automation, administrative labor can be significantly reduced and make it easier on nurses by minimizing or eliminating the amount of effort it takes them to view patient information or enter important data.

The more time they spend on these tasks, the less time they have to meet their other daily requirements, which is why automation is so important. In fact, 93% of clinicians and 86% of administrative staff agree that prioritizing automation is essential for the future.

In addition to employees, managers and executives see the value in automation and AI features in the field of long-term caregiving. In fact, 38% of executives fear their organizations won't be able to keep up with competitors, and 35% believe the patient experience will decline if their organizations aren't able to increase their use of AI in the next one to two years.

General Tips and Best Practices

Whether you decide to create your own program or invest in an outside program, you can still promote your nurses' well-being in many other ways. Here are some tips and best practices to prioritize nursing staff mental health beyond your well-being program.

1. Prioritize Communication

 

Fostering better communication in your facility is a great tip for getting one-on-one feedback from your staff. Regularly meeting with your nurses and other staff is an opportunity to discuss the demands of their roles and which methods would help boost their well-being and satisfaction. Incorporate staff meetings, performance reviews, and surveys so that your staff has plenty of forms of communication to talk about any issues they're facing.

2. Offer Social Activities at Work

One way to support collaboration and social cohesion at your facility is to organize social activities for your nursing staff. Whether you want to include monthly social events or more minor, fun daily routines, you can adjust to your staff's preferences and see what benefits them.

Organize group activities like workplace awards, weekly competitions, fundraisers, and theme days. Trying out different ways to get everyone involved and shake up their routine can make them excited to come to work and ready to dedicate their day to their patients.

3. Encourage Meditation

In addition to yoga and exercise, meditation is an effective relaxation and mindfulness technique that can improve overall productivity and do the following:

Meditation allows you to reflect on your emotions and thoughts and come to a relaxed mental state. This can help your nursing staff pinpoint their stressors and work through them in a calm, controlled environment before the stress escalates to burnout and exhaustion.

4. Support a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

It's important to encourage your staff to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, but you can also offer options for them to practice these lifestyle changes while at work.

During long shifts, your staff may choose to eat whatever food they have available or go to the nearest vending machine for a candy bar. Many nurses also rely heavily on caffeine. Studies show that nurses who consume too much caffeine through coffee or energy drinks reported poorer sleep and higher stress levels.

Try introducing healthy food alternatives and work with your scheduling staff to implement regular mealtimes. In addition to nutrition, you can also provide access to a fitness center to help your staff increase endorphins and enhance their moods through consistent exercise.

Benefits of Investing in Staff Well-Being

 

When your nurse's personal wellness suffers, it's difficult for them to be at their best for those who rely on their care. In fact, nurse burnout directly correlates to lower levels of satisfaction and safety among patients and negative organizational outcomes. While supporting your nurses is a top priority, investing in their well-being also spreads the same positive effects to residents, patients, employers, and managers.

Fostering a culture and work environment where you encourage everyone to take care of their physical, mental, and emotional health benefits all parties involved. Here are the benefits of making your staff's well-being a priority:

1. Build Resiliency

Staff members who focus on their well-being can see reduced anxiety and depression, which helps them become more resilient during challenging times and be able to uphold their performance on tough days. Building better resiliency among your nursing staff fulfills your role of showing the same care and devotion they show to your patients and residents.

Resiliency also has many health benefits and positively impacts other areas of your facility as your staff learns to:

2. Improve Staff Appreciation

It's important for your staff to feel nurtured, and investing in their well-being shows that you value them and their efforts to keep your residents comfortable and happy. When workers feel valued, they're more likely to show better morale and engagement and contribute more meaningfully at work. Promoting well-being is a two-way street, so your commitment and enthusiasm for caring for your staff will come back around and influence a positive company culture.

3. Improve Staff Retention

With more focus on their well-being, staff members will likely stick around longer, improving your retention rates and reducing staff turnover. Their improved health may also help them feel more loyalty toward your company and make it easier for them to form relationships with residents. As an employer or manager, taking care of your staff impacts company culture and trickles down to help everyone feel valued, including residents and patients.

4. Enhance Your Facility's Reputation

As you commit to improving the health and wellness of your staff, your company's reputation will thrive. Residents, patients, and families will see how your workforce stands out as a community of support, communication, and teamwork.

As your facility's reputation improves, so will your reputation as an employer, which can make it easier when recruiting new talent. Adding well-being programs and best practices to your company will make your job offer look more tempting and stand out from other long-term care facilities.

5. Reduce Costs

Another benefit of investing in clinical well-being is improving productivity and reducing the risk of medical errors, which can be costly. Your reduced costs will also come from your reduced turnover rates, helping you invest more into your staff and resident wellness.

While the cost of replacing nursing staff differs for every facility, it can certainly slow down your productivity as you get new hires up to speed with your policies and training procedures through onboarding and orientations.

How SmartLinx Can Help You Support Your Staff

Taking care of your nursing staff's well-being starts with improving your existing processes. With SmartLinx, you can make a change, starting with the most fundamental aspects of your staff's job.

With SmartLinx, employees can quickly and easily access their schedules and request open shifts when they become available. They can get notifications right to their phones about open shifts, new schedules, scheduling changes, time-off request approvals, and more using the SmartLinx Go App. They don't even need to call out or submit time off when a last-minute conflict pops up, as they can manage their schedules and communicate changes with their teams instantly through the app.

With more control and flexibility, your employees will experience less stress. They'll also have access to the Rain Same-Day-Pay integration right from their phones, so they can gain early access to their paychecks right after each shift, helping to alleviate some financial stresses. Now, employees can focus on what matters most to them—their patients—without the worry of financial instability or the additional weight of administrative tasks distracting them.

Making your scheduling and payroll management functions quicker and more accurate can help put your nurses' minds at ease. As you eliminate common payroll hassles, you'll also benefit from an improved overall workflow and reduced inconsistencies—letting you focus your energy on the needs of your staff and residents.

From optimizing scheduling to tracking attendance and maintaining compliance, SmartLinx's Payroll system can help you reduce labor costs and generate reports within one simple solution. You can also integrate our solutions with your existing systems, making it easy to analyze all the details and keep your facility running smoothly.

Schedule a demo to get started investing in your staff's well-being or contact us to learn more about our products and solutions.

In today's healthcare environment, patient satisfaction and technology go hand in hand. Senior living facilities can use digital healthcare tools to build a foundation for positive patient experiences, leveraging the power of data for better organization, efficiency, and care quality. Technology offers various direct and indirect benefits, from reducing expenditures to streamlining a nurse's workday.

Let's take a look at how information technology can improve the work of clinicians to support positive patient experiences.

What Does the Patient Experience Look Like in Long-Term Care?

The patient experience is heavily influenced by the technology that moves the practice forward. If caregivers are working with slow, frustrating programs that don't provide robust patient information, they might miss important healthcare details, develop poor bedside manners, or become too overworked to deliver quality care. Since technology forms a foundation for most clinical tasks, poor solutions create ripple effects for the entire staff and ultimately detract from the patient experience.

 

Some elements of that affect experience include:

  1. Healthcare outcomes: Of course, the quality of care is one of the most significant parts of an independent living facility. Residents should be receiving the highest quality of care possible, and technology can enable important insights into healthcare outcomes. Without the right tools, a facility may struggle to improve its quality of care and resident experience.
  2. Healthcare delivery: How patients receive their care can also impact their experiences. Frustrated, overworked caregivers, unnecessary delays, and miscommunications can significantly damage a patient's perception of their care.
  3. Interactions with staff: Older generations typically prefer providers who provide emotional support and explain conditions clearly. Staff members can create positive assisted living resident experiences by understanding their patients' expectations and delivering empathetic, friendly interactions that put the patient first. Technology can support these goals through detailed data access and efficient processes that leave time for caring interactions.

Data collection and management underlies virtually every part of the patient experience. Data drives decision-making and can power new capabilities, like leveraging artificial intelligence and optimizing care through increased access to information. Tech can be a powerful tool in improving the patient experience, particularly when it comes to personalization.

Why Is Patient Satisfaction Important in the Healthcare Industry and LTC?

The patient experience is a vital part of patient satisfaction, a metric that has some wide-reaching effects. It can impact everything from reimbursement to marketing to health outcomes, with some direct and indirect benefits.

For example, hospitals have a direct incentive to achieve high patient satisfaction—it affects their reimbursement rates. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) withholds a small portion of Medicare reimbursements and only pays it out to hospitals that meet specific standards. These standards include having an appropriate readmission rate and achieving high scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), a survey given to a random sample of adult patients about their experience.

But patient satisfaction isn't just about reimbursement—it's often a marker of overall success, positively affecting revenue and helping attract new residents. Hospitals with excellent HCAHPS patient ratings, for instance, saw net profit margins averaging 4.7%, compared to just 1.8% for hospitals with low ratings.

A high patient satisfaction score can also help LTC facilities set themselves apart from the competition. It shows the real-world assessment of a facility's patient experience and encompasses many aspects, making it an excellent number to track. It can offer prospective residents an at-a-glance measure of what to expect.

Other positive outcomes associated with high levels of patient satisfaction include:

Whatever your organizational goals, patient satisfaction likely plays a significant role. Fortunately, with so many different aspects involved, you have many options for improving it.

 

How Can Technology Help?

One of the most promising options for improving the patient experience is leveraging digital tools, especially as an aging population increases the strain on the healthcare workforce. The number of people aged 65 or older has increased from 41 million people in 2011 to 71 million in 2019—a whopping 73% increase in just 8 years. The U.S. Census Bureau expects that number to continue to rise.

Almost 70% of industry experts say that digital healthcare solutions are highly relevant for the business. For most respondents, improving well-being through health outcomes is the primary purpose of digital health services. It's also good for keeping up with the competition, retaining customers, and reducing expenditures. Virtually all U.S.-based health system leaders agree on the importance of actively investing in digital transformation.

To improve the patient experience, LTC facilities must use it correctly. Some of the top reasons for a negative healthcare experience include a lack of efficiency and helpfulness. Many digital healthcare solutions aim to fix these problems, streamlining work processes and optimizing care.

For example, self-service scheduling can help prevent burnout, allowing staff members to enjoy their work and stay engaged. On the backend, the facility might use AI to match team members with patients based on their skills or create a schedule according to census and business demands.

The possibilities are endless, and digital tools are a major part of improving patient satisfaction in the modern healthcare system.

 

How to Improve Patient Experience in Healthcare With Digital Tools

Digital tools are one of your best patient experience solutions nowadays, but they should also help you improve aspects like convenience, trust, and health outcomes. Here are some of the ways LTC facilities are improving patient care through technology:

1. Collect and Analyze Data

More tech means more data. LTC facilities need to process that data to learn from it effectively. From remote monitoring solutions and patient scheduling to employee trackers, the amount of information entering your systems can be extensive. Digital healthcare technologies can make sense of it all, placing your data in a centralized platform that links up these different systems and helps you find new insights.

AI might alert providers when a new treatment would interfere with an existing condition, while a comprehensive scheduling solution could incorporate census data to generate optimized schedules. Better data handling can help speed up a range of processes, like patient intake, payroll administration, and staff assignments. It can also provide valuable information on various metrics, like health outcomes and efficiency.

These insights can guide decisions throughout the business. In scheduling, for example, you might collect and analyze census data, employee availability, screening information at time of clock-in, and other elements required for a satisfied, efficient workforce.

2. Streamline Administrative Processes

LTC facilities commonly turn to digital tools to speed up their processes. Team members can work more efficiently by eliminating time-consuming manual processes and improving transparency and communication. By spending less time on administrative tasks, they can spend more time focused on what's important—the patients.

Say an office manager spends the majority of their day on scheduling and resolving various HR demands. They choose to implement a time-saving scheduling platform that allows staff members to self-service their scheduling needs and provides at-a-glance project management tools through a real-time dashboard. The administrator frees up a significant part of their day to meet the organization's overarching goals.

The program may also use AI to streamline the administrator's day. It can help facilities predict resource requirements, adjust schedules, and intelligently address other operational needs.

3. Attract and Retain Talent

An enjoyable patient experience depends on the care team. When staff members are in a good mood, enjoy their work, and don't feel stifled by technological limitations, they can provide better care. Fortunately, tech can enable efficient workflows that allow team members to focus on more valuable tasks, like interacting with patients.

Easy access to tools like time-punch platforms, early paychecks, and scheduling can make the workday more enjoyable, helping keep employees happy and engaged. Optimizing these elements is valuable for both employee and employer. Staff members can enjoy schedules and payments that fit their needs, and employers can avoid conflicts or gaps while minimizing the time it takes to issue paychecks and schedules.

The right tools can help your employees feel valued. You might use attendance tracking features to easily identify top employees, offering rewards and acknowledging them for their hard work and dedication.

Technology can also help during the selection and onboarding process. You might have many applicants to work with or benefits to manage, and technology can simplify the process. It can help you make job postings, sift through applications, communicate with candidates, and find the best fit for your organization.

4. Improve Communication

Improved communication among staff members of a facility can speed up the workday, enhance patient care, and increase employee satisfaction. Strong technology solutions allow administrators and clinicians to easily communicate with each other, providing timely responses for filling shifts, last-minute conflicts, and other issues that could lead to a scrambled and overworked team or a dissatisfied employee.

Fast communication methods can also streamline on-the-job activities. Rather than tracking down an employee to relay an important message, administrators can push information to all applicable employees from their time clocks, freeing up more time for everyone. Attentive team members who have time to devote to patient care can also help create a more understanding, focused experience.

5. Achieve High Visibility

A powerful feature of digital healthcare tools is the ability to collect all of your data in one place.

Your EHR collects patient data in one spot, but you can also use centralized information in areas like managing overtime and scheduling. An administrator might, for instance, look at a real-time dashboard to understand key labor trends, hours reconciliation, and budgeting data for a full picture of the practice. They can better meet the needs of staff, increase engagement among the workforce, and take steps to improve the patient experience—all while protecting the bottom line.

Technology can also create visibility on an individual level—mobile schedule management allows staff members to receive notifications on their phones about open shifts, new schedules, schedule changes, time-off request approvals, and more. They can stay in touch with supervisors and help ensure quality staffing and patient care.

6. Create Equity Among Staff

A key part of staff satisfaction—and by extension, patient satisfaction—is equity. Self-serve options can limit logistics issues and help ensure everyone has the same level of access to available shifts, direct communication, time-off requests, new schedules, and other important elements of their work experiences. In addition to helping employees accomplish various tasks, the right technology can offer peace of mind. Employees can rest easy knowing their work needs are simple to manage.

Equity can help limit animosity among team members and boost teamwork, ensuring a staff that works together to offer the best patient experience possible.

7. Focus on Continuous Improvement

Technology can also help facilities reach their goals of continuous improvement. You might use those powerful analytic capabilities to assess performance and find ways to improve. New insights might help you predict resource needs, make more informed decisions, and improve compliance. You could also use punch attestation to collect staff surveys and get a pulse on how their workdays are going.

One example of a digital feature for continuous improvement is Spotlight and its Five-Star Rating predictor, which helps you see how past, present, and project staffing for your facilities compares to federal regulations. It delivers custom suggestions for helping you meet your rating goals.

8. Consolidate Your Systems Using Automation

Using multiple disconnected systems means you're not taking advantage of the easy-to-access, centralized capabilities of modern digital healthcare tools. Almost 90% of clinicians said they need to consult different electronic systems at least a few times a day to access patient information. During the COVID-19 pandemic, executives said they added five systems on average.

Look for all-in-one platforms that can help with a variety of tasks with automation systems. SmartLinx, for example, performs payroll, scheduling, workforce analytics, HR, and much more. You can limit the number of programs your staff needs to access to do their jobs well and deliver exceptional patient experiences.

 

How SmartLinx Helps Improve Patient Experience

Many types of digital health tools are available for LTC facilities, but perhaps the most important is the one that underpins everyday operations. Technology automation and data can streamline your scheduling, payroll, and other HR demands, leaving staff members to focus on the important things. That's where SmartLinx comes in.

SmartLinx is a comprehensive workforce management platform that simplifies these tasks using automation, allowing you to create more efficient and enjoyable patient experiences. Your staff can spend less time focused on the day-to-day minutia of administration and more time creating a great patient experience.

Learn more about how one easy-to-use platform can empower you to:

Explore everything SmartLinx has to offer or reach out to us today to learn more about technology improving healthcare.

 

While caring for the ill or older adults can be a rewarding experience, it also has its challenges. Failing to acknowledge the stress of caregiving can affect your employee's health, relationships, and state of mind, leading to burnout. Learn how to recognize and understand the causes and symptoms of caregiver burnout so your employees can continue to provide excellent care to those in need.

 

Causes of Caregiver Burnout

Burnout is a state of physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion that occurs when caregivers overextend themselves or don't receive the help they need.

Caregivers are often so busy looking after others that they forget to care for their own needs. Some of the most common causes of burnout include:

Symptoms of Burnout

When caregiver burnout reaches a critical level, it may manifest in physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

The physical signs of burnout can affect a caregiver's health by:

Mental and Emotional Symptoms

Burnout symptoms can also affect the mental and emotional health of a caregiver by:

Support Your Workforce With SmartLinx

Caregiver burnout is a serious issue that affects patients and employees. At SmartLinx, we provide workforce management for healthcare to ensure your caregivers have the support they need. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Taking measures to battle employee turnover is an important way to optimize your organization's operations and make the most of your time and money. Retaining the right talent for your company starts with offering competitive benefits and meeting your employees' needs.

For organizations looking to keep their workers longer, implementing same-day pay can encourage staff loyalty and benefit your team.

Learn more about staff turnover and how to effectively fight it by giving your employees earlier access to their wages.

What Is Staff Turnover?

Staff turnover is the measurement of employees that part with an organization over a specific period.

It can be costly and problematic for organizations of all sizes when they experience high turnover rates. In 2021, the annual total turnover rate was 47.2%, meaning nearly half the workforce in the United States parted ways from their job as a result of one of the following:

These separations fit into two categories — voluntary or involuntary turnover. Voluntary turnover refers to instances where a worker chooses to leave an organization by quitting their position or going on retirement. Involuntary turnover occurs when an employers ask a worker to leave the organization through firing or layoffs.

To calculate the turnover rate as a percentage for a company, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by taking the number of employee separations.
  2. Multiply how many current workers your facility has by 100.
  3. Divide that number by the total separations for the separation rate.

What Causes Staff Turnover?

A few key factors commonly contribute to voluntary staff turnover, including:

Inadequate Compensation

Money and benefits are the primary reasons people abandon their jobs. Earnings are a major motivator for workers in many industries, and people want to feel valued by the organization they work for.

Whether they feel unfairly compensated or are looking for another position with higher pay, money is often the reason people feel uncertain about the longevity of staying in their role.

Poor Management

Having bad hiring practices and inadequate management is a recipe for high turnover rates. Bringing the wrong people onto your team can cause a plethora of issues. It is expensive and time-consuming to train new employees, and that money can go to waste if new hires leave early in their employment.

Without good managerial organization and hiring practices, staff morale is likely to plummet, and current employees may feel strained from the turnovers.

No Opportunity for Advancement

It is important for staff members to see their future with a company. When a worker starts feeling complacent in their role, they are more likely to look for other positions where they can grow and further their career development.

People yearn to learn. They want to participate in programs and jobs that teach them new skills or help them sharpen old ones. If they feel they cannot advance in their job, they will likely walk away from it.

Little Work-Life Balance

Thirty-nine percent of people who quit their job say that working too many hours was their primary reason for doing so. Poor work-life balance can leave workers feeling like they have little control over their life, leading to turnover.

Feeling overworked contributes to higher levels of daily stress that lead to burnout. This motivates employees to find less demanding positions and prioritize flexibility.

 

Undesirable Work Environments

In 2019, businesses in the United States lost $223 billion because of turnover fueled by company culture. One in four employees also noted they truly dreaded going to their job every day. Having an undesirable workplace is a key motivation for why people leave.

Toxic work environments cause workers to feel disrespected and undervalued. Some people even take positions with lower pay to avoid having to endure unfair or uncomfortable work conditions.

Importance of Staff Retention

Retention is an important factor for every organization to consider. Staff turnover is not just inconvenient for businesses. It has real negative implications.

Costs

When an employee walks away from their job, they take their industry knowledge and skills with them. Organizations lose the money they invested in recruiting, hiring and training workers. The employer often has to spend more money to find an adequate replacement. Not only can turnover cause businesses to lose a lot of money, but it also wastes precious time and compromises productivity.

Time

Bringing on new employees requires a good deal of time. Companies have to attract and recruit potential candidates, then go through the interviewing process. Once they make a new hire, they then spend time training the employee and helping them to learn the ins and outs of the company. If that worker decides to leave, the time spent on them is often a waste.

Productivity

To make matters more complicated, turnover can interrupt day-to-day operations and interfere with staff productivity. Other workers are left to pick up the slack and learn to work with new individuals.

High turnover rates can negatively impact employee attitudes and cause feelings of uncertainty. These factors can cause teams to produce lower quality work and compromise the organization's overall culture. Employee retention is important for saving time and money while also boosting worker outputs.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

If your organization is wondering how to reduce staff turnover, consider the following ways to boost worker retention.

Implement Workforce Management Software

Workforce management software can transform your organization's human resources operation, giving you the structure and support to optimize everything from recruiting to payroll.

This type of software can help your organization stay organized and automate repetitive tasks so your management team can focus on finding and keeping the right talent.

The scheduling capabilities give your team more flexibility. You can optimize schedules and plan ahead. Reduce employee stress by offering shift schedules as far in advance as possible. This gives workers enough time to swap shifts or request time off without causing operational disruptions.

Ask for Honest Feedback

It is so crucial for organizations to have open communication between management and staff. Asking employees for their feedback is an important way to show you value their opinion and work. People want to feel seen and heard by their employers.

Look for ways to make work more stimulating and engaging for your team. Introducing programs for employee development and learning can be very beneficial. A key to employee retention is offering a clear path to advancement. This helps create a culture of growth and honesty essential for the success of any organization.

Offer Innovative Pay

Beyond meeting industry standards for compensation, it is helpful for companies to offer annual pay increases to boost employee retention. Boosting compensation for certain skills is another way to attract new talent and offer competitive wages.

Implementing a management process that identifies your top performers so your organization can pay them accordingly is another effective way to inspire employee loyalty.

Offering same-day pay is a benefit that can inspire workers to stay at the job for longer. Its convenience lets employees access their earned wages whenever they want, giving them flexibility and reducing stress.

How Same-Day Pay Boosts Staff Retention

Same-day pay is a great way to incentivize your staff and give them the flexibility of having around-the-clock earned wage access.

What Is Next-Day Pay?

For years, most companies have paid their employees on a semimonthly or biweekly schedule. With these payment plans, workers receive their paychecks every couple of weeks. Now, you can give your team access to the money they earn almost instantly with same-day pay.

Same-day pay has a lot of other names, including:

With expedited pay, employees work and get paid the same day — no more waiting weeks to get their next paycheck.

Not having access to earned wages can be stressful for workers. Whether they live paycheck to paycheck or not, it is a major benefit for employees to have 24-hour access to their earnings. Unexpected life events or emergencies can pop up at any time and leave workers needing their hard-earned money. Daily pay makes this possible and is an effective way to boost employee retention while giving back to your team.

How Does Daily Pay Work?

Advance pay works by allowing employees to request access to the money they've already earned but have not received yet. For organizations to offer daily pay, they have to include same-day pay capabilities in their payroll systems.

Payroll software integrates with business bank accounts to allow employees access to their earned wages. Some companies set a predetermined percentage of daily earnings on the same day the work is complete. Any amount of money withdrawn as part of daily pay is deducted from the rest of the employee's regularly scheduled payments.

 

Benefits of Same-Day Pay for Employees

Introducing same-day pay to your staff can have many benefits for your employees, including:

Reduced Stress

In 2021, as much as 61% of the United States population lived paycheck to paycheck. And this is not exclusive to those who find themselves near the poverty line. Of workers earning six figures annually, 42% were living off each paycheck as they received it.

Living this way is stressful, and it can be very alarming when unexpected expenses come up. When workers can access their earnings on-demand, this takes away some financial pressure and reduces stress.

Same-day pay can combat the negative attitudes and distractions caused by financial issues since employees can enjoy having more control over their earnings.

Boosted Flexibility

People value flexibility, especially when it comes to their money. By allowing employees to access their earned wages whenever they want to, your organization can help boost financial flexibility.

Financial flexibility refers to the capacity to live beyond paycheck to paycheck by managing expenses. Same-day pay makes it easier to do things like pay bills on time or cover unforeseen expenses. Early wage access helps employees to take ownership of their finances and find ways to make everyday life more affordable.

More Incentives

Next-day pay can be a powerful incentive for employees. Not only do workers have a heightened awareness of their earnings, but they also are more likely to understand the value of a day's work. This means they will be more inclined to think twice about taking the day off.

The instant gratification of working and receiving one's earnings right away can lead to fewer employee absences. Likewise, workers will consider the benefit of having same-day pay before looking for a new job.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Pay is a huge factor in job satisfaction. Giving your team same-day pay capabilities is a great way to make employees more content with their work. Earn wages access can show your staff how much you appreciate and value their time.

If your organization is not in the position to offer workers competitive wages, introducing on-demand pay is a great alternative. This gives your team financial benefits without digging deeper into your organization's pockets and compromising employee retention.

Increased job satisfaction is motivating and can boost employee morale, leading to a healthier and more productive workplace culture.

Benefits of Same-Day Pay for Healthcare Facilities

In addition to benefiting staff members, introducing early wage access can be helpful for businesses too. The following are three of the primary advantages of same-day pay for employers:

1. Attracting, Hiring and Retaining Talent

Offering employee benefits like on-demand pay shows talent you care about your workers and their well-being. It is a great way to boost efforts to attract new candidates for open positions. Your organization is also more likely to retain employees who have access to same-day pay.

From hiring efforts to keeping talent for longer, innovative pay practices can transform your business and help you build the best team possible.

2. Better Patient Experiences

When your facility's workers are content with their jobs and have immediate access to their earnings, they can stress less about finances and focus more on the people they work with.

Patients can benefit from having consistent staff members that are happy with their employers. Increasing morale will benefit the entire team and uplift your company as a whole.

3. Boosted Staff Productivity

Financial stress makes it almost impossible for employees to give their best effort and concentrate fully on their work. By reducing stress, you can also reduce distractions and improve focus.

Employers benefit from having a more productive staff. From getting more work done to improving company culture, boosting productivity is a great way to reach further success as an organization.

 

Try a Demo of SmartLinx Workforce Management Solutions

Staff turnover is a serious challenge for healthcare facilities that rely on their team to care for patients and keep operations running smoothly. Taking steps to combat high turnover rates is essential for creating a work environment your team is excited to be part of.

Offering on-demand pay is a great way to boost staff morale and improve retention. SmartLinx partners with Rain to offer an easily integrated software solution that allows you to share instant same-day payments with your team. We help you enjoy frustration-free payroll management and minimize your payroll hassles.

Are you interested in learning more about SmartLinx? Request a demo today!

It's no secret that managing today's workforce is fraught with challenges. Employees often span multiple departments, campuses, and generations. A workforce management solution designed specifically for senior care facilities can help you cost-effectively meet these challenges.

For example, consider how simple it would be to look at a color-coded dashboard and gleam key performance indicators (KPIs) for all your departments in an instant. What about having mobile functions that provide personalized “anytime, anywhere” notifications for schedulers, administrators, and nurses. In addition, when you eliminate exasperating processes with automation, you free up time and resources.

In the end, meeting every expectation of today's senior living and skilled nursing workforces may remain tough. But an effective workforce solution will enable you to focus more on providing care for your residents and give employees the resources they need to balance work and life responsibilities. Here are seven features of workforce software that support both managers and frontline staff.

1. Ease of use for workforce management

Nowadays, employees make up a diverse blend of ages, hailing from all different generations. They may have different levels of technical savvy. But they all have one thing in common. They don't want to spend a lot of time searching through an app to find the information they need.

That's one reason why the best workforce management solution is intuitive. A graphical user interface makes it easy for everyone from administrators and schedulers to nurses to find what they want fast so they can get back to their real priorities—taking care of residents.

With a graphical interface lists information the way a user expects, managers can easily access, schedulers can fill open shifts, and nurses can easily navigate the system to submit PTO, check their schedule and swap shifts. The workforce management solutions helps workers quickly find what's important to them, instead of sifting through lots of unnecessary fields, which makes them more productive.

As an administrator, promoting productivity among the staff is an excellent benefit but not your only responsibility.  Creating and updating schedules is still daunting unless you have an integrated workforce management system. When the software connects to all the data, it can automatically track staffing requirements and generate schedules. This ease of use helps you support various facilities, ensures compliance, and cut down on time and stress.

2. At-a-glance dashboards

Being able to track staffing information on a single screen is a great way to spot trends and improve performance. Workforce management solutions help with this, letting you gather data into customized dashboards.

With the ability to track a facility's performance against its metrics, you're able to see (and respond) to trends. For example, you can see projected overtime costs and agency spends and make decisions to better allocate your resources and reduce costs. An integrated solution not only gathers customized data, but it also allows you to drill down into the information. This way, you can determine where inefficiencies originate.

At-a-glance dashboards aren't just about responding to problems.  When you can see all the live attendance and scheduling data for all your departments in all your facilities in one color-coded view, you can spot inefficiencies fast and nip performance issues in bud.

3. Open shift and overtime prevention

One of the biggest challenges with senior care facilities is ensuring proper staffing. Getting the right workers placed in the right shift, around the clock, means being able to respond to changes quickly.

An intelligent workforce management solution operates within the bounds of your policies. And it'll identify problems and solutions in real time. For example, when an open shift occurs, the system can recommend qualified employees. But you can set it to exclude those who are at (or nearing) overtime hours. The most advanced systems also work with union rules, to ensure schedules don't violate any union policies.

When administrators and staff both can respond to changes in real-time, open shifts get resolved promptly.

An intelligent system will rank open shift notifications, first choosing qualified employees who are not near their overtime threshold. Intelligent open shift resolution is one of the most effective ways to solve scheduling challenges.

4. Multichannel mobile communication

Mobile technology impacts nearly every part of our lives these days. Your workforce depends on their mobile device to stay in touch with the people and information most important to them. It's no wonder they expect the same convenience from their employer. Therefore, it's no surprise mobile technology now plays a significant role in workforce management.

When employees have access to key information about their jobs, they become empowered. Whereas  physical bulletin boards and paper requests make it difficult for them to stay up to date and in control of their schedules. When life happens and your nurses realize they cannot work a scheduled shift, having to access, complete, and distribute paper forms makes their lives unnecessarily harder.

Administrators and schedulers don't enjoy having to sort through paperwork to determine who's available to pick up an extra shift or who will be out for an upcoming shift. Your workforce will be more productive and happier with a system lets them access their schedules on their mobile device and submit a change as needed. Administrators appreciate the immediate access to changes and real-tie tracking of who is and who isn't available.

In addition, pushing mobile notifications out to personnel ensures that everyone gets updates at the same time. With open, two-way communication, staff can send requests, such as paid time off, changes to personal data, and corrections for inaccurate punches. With a modern workforce management solution, these updates take seconds—rather than days or even weeks. And with self-serve access, employees can also bring up their personal information, such as pay stubs or scheduling data. Implementing mobile communications will cut administration time and maximize efficiency.

Despite the suitability of a mobile workforce management solution, it'ls only as effective as the  staff make it. That's why the tech should allow the user to select their preference for notifications. Options to consider include email, text, voicemail, or in-app notifications. Using a mobile multichannel approach means everyone gets the info they need and no employee ends up frustrated.

5. KPI monitoring, alerts, and fixes

Continuous improvement is about looking back and finding ways to optimize going forward. A workforce management solution that consolidates facility data can help with this process. Tracking against KPIs is an important step.

With separate systems, you may have the data needed, but if you can't combine it in real time to provide insights, it won't mean much. An effective workforce management solution combines time and attendance, scheduling, and payroll. Monitoring KPIs based on this data gives a comprehensive overview.

 

Labor is one of a senior care facility's highest costs. Therefore, measuring scheduled hours vs. actual hours is an important KPI to watch. A workforce software that integrates KPI alerts can help identify preventable overtime. Real-time monitoring allows you to respond promptly to trends such as early arrivals and late departures.

Setting thresholds and alerts for KPIs allows you to respond to problems and make informed predictions for the future. Advanced workforce management solutions also use analytics to suggest fixes. With proper monitoring and alerts for KPIs, you're able to make better management decisions.

6. Self-scheduling capabilities

Keeping up with schedule changes is a constant challenge for skilled nursing and senior living facilities. Self-scheduling allows employees to handle their schedules directly with your workforce management software. This type of real-time entry eliminates many of the inefficiencies caused by schedule changes.

An effective workforce management solution notifies employees of open shifts. Staff can then respond to requests in real-time. Rather than calling in sick at the last minute, workers are able to swap shifts with each other directly. This ability relieves the burden on administrators to find and secure qualified personnel. It also helps eliminate overtime, notifying only the employees who won't incur overtime costs.

Self-scheduling gives staff the tools they need to take charge of their time and quickly address problems before they arise. Unlike a paper system, managers can approve shift changes and schedule updates in moments. Modern self-scheduling systems are intuitive and straightforward, no matter an employee's technological know-how. Administrators can avoid both understaffing and overtime while guaranteeing compliance with regulations.

7. Integrated compliance tracking and reporting

Staying on top of regulations, Payroll-Based Journal reports, and the Affordable Care Act submissions is always difficult and more so when the auditor arrives, demanding to see records within minutes. A workforce management solution tailored to senior care helps you prove compliance in an instant without breaking a sweat.

Collecting compliance data means:

  1. Pulling information from multiple parts of your workforce management system.
  2. Putting the data together to generate a single report.

Integrated, real-time tracking makes compliance reporting much quicker and easier. Information is all interconnected, and it's always up-to-date, meaning you won't have to stress about getting complex Payroll-Based Journal reporting completed on time. With an integrated system, the proper reports are at your fingertips.

A workforce management solution with real-time information has other benefits too. Auditors will arrive and request to see information for specific dates, campuses, or departments. It's helpful to generate custom reports for them on demand. That way, you can confidently prove compliance in minutes.

A workforce management solution designed for ease of use, communications, and compliance makes life simpler for all employees. Staff can manage their time, schedules, and information wherever they are. And with an intuitive graphic interface, a multigenerational workforce can easily surpass the barriers of technology. All these “secrets” will contribute to keeping your entire workforce involved and up-to-date.

In long-term care and post-acute care facilities, there exists a simple equation for success: The more compliant your facility is with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements, the more likely you will improve your Five-Star Rating.  And higher ratings translate to greater success.

This means more responsibilities fall to your administrators and compliance managers. Fortunately, with the right tools, they not only can do their jobs well but also help your business succeed.

To enable your team to meet evolving requirements, you must track CMS requirements while monitoring and controlling nearly every conceivable aspect of workforce management to ensure they align. The good news is you do not have to do this alone. You can use workforce management systems to set and achieve your desired staffing levels, as well as reduce and streamline operations, even during a pandemic.

Before we get to the five “must haves,” let's review the Five-Star Rating system and why it's imperative you do everything in your power to align your business practices to it. CMS calculates the overall Five-Star Rating based on several criteria, including the performance of other skilled nursing facilities, in addition to staffing, quality, and inspection ratings. Skilled nursing facilities awarded four and five stars are deemed above average quality. Those receiving one and two stars are considered below average.

Facilities with low Five-Star Ratings can sustain long-term damage to their reputation and their bottom line due to:

Learn more,  watch Perspective on Payroll-Based Journal — Hear It from CMS and Other Experts.

Now, on to the five “must haves” that will help ensure compliance and lead to your desired Five-Star Rating.

1. Compliance Begins and Ends with Nurse Scheduling

Where we were:

Before workforce management took hold in post-acute and long-term care, nurses retrieved employee schedules by looking at paper spreadsheets posted on a bulletin board. In today's fast-paced facility, static nurse schedules have become obsolete because they can't adjust to all the changes facilities need.

Where we are:

Proactive employee scheduling—a system of employee scheduling that uses software to match employee and facility needs—not only eases the scheduling burden but can also anticipate and adjust to changes automatically. To maximize your benefits, you must look beyond standard workforce management technology to find employee scheduling tailored for long-term care environments.

Where you could be:

With the right software for proactive employee scheduling, your workforce management system can customize nurse schedules for your resident population and their changing medical needs. See how Trilogy optimized nurse schedules for 110 facilities.

With tailored workforce management capabilities, you can create nurse schedules for multiple facilities in moments, which is imperative for compliance. The software should proactively define the appropriate staffing level based on the resident population and healthcare needs (acuity). For example, SmartLinx workforce management deploys daily unit assignment capability to streamline nurse scheduling changes and automatically adjusts to changing patient-per-day (PPD) census values.

 

With proactive employee scheduling, your workforce management system can easily customize nurses' schedules—adding flexibility—which can adapt to your residents and their needs all while meeting compliance standards. The best systems will also adapt nurse schedules to internal policies, such as union rules.

2.  Managers MUST Let Nurses Find and Fill Open Shifts ...Before Problems Happen

An unfortunate reality is that even the most proactive employee schedules can't prevent sudden openings when employees call out sick or arrive late.

Where we were:

To avoid same-day shortfalls, some long-term care facilities “overstaffed” while others rallied employees to work overtime or called in agency workers to fill the void. These common practices caused labor costs to soar and diminished the quality of resident care.

Where we are:

The good news is your long-term care and post-acute care facilities have an untapped resource at your fingertips...your employee base. The right workforce management system empowers nurses to close nurse scheduling gaps quickly while improving employee engagement.

Where you could be:

Now, nurses can make scheduling changes on the fly and the system can assure their schedule change complies to current regulations.  Instantly, your employees can check their schedules, determine what shifts work for them and which don't. They can use the mobile app to request PTO and even swap shifts with co-workers. They can even check how much PTO they have left before requesting a day off.  A good workforce management app helps your employees explore their options. Some provide a list of available co-workers and let nurses initiate a swap shift request...all on the mobile app in seconds.

Managers can approve or reject shift swaps and PTO requests and the system automatically notifies employees in their preferred method, such as a mobile app notification, email, or text message.

3. Compliance Managers MUST Merge Nurse Scheduling and Attendance Data

Your managers must constantly utilize the real data to be effective. When your workforce management system keeps you constantly connected to live nurse scheduling and attendance data, your managers can quickly identify and stop problems before they impact your residents or your bottom line.

Where we were:

Many workforce management systems share employee scheduling and attendance data through periodic batch reports. This method forces you to dig through reports to find and analyze trends. Even worse, you can't find problems until after they happened when it was too late to minimize the damage.

Where we are:

Since it's designed especially for skilled nursing facilities, SmartLinx workforce management system provides real-time nurse scheduling and attendance information to help address problems when they happen. You'll know the moment an employee clocks into work and receive alerts when a scheduled employee doesn't clock in on time or calls out sick.

Where you could be:

Use workforce management to fill open shifts

To comply with CMS standards, you cannot have too many open shifts. Now, filling open shifts is easy because a good workforce management system not only notifies you of openings when they happen but also presents a list of qualified employees available to fill them. SmartLinx does this and more, enabling you to fill shifts while containing labor costs.

With the click of a mouse, administrators can offer an open shift to qualified workers who will not incur overtime hours. Employees receive the shift request instantly on their mobile device, via text message, voicemail, email, or in-app notification. See how Oriole Health Care reduced overtime costs by 25% in three months.

You can use an integrated workforce management to expose attendance problems (late punches, buddy punches, and missed punches) as they happen and uncover underlying causes. SmartLinx tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) important to long-term care operators and alerts you when a threshold is crossed.  You can use the color-coded dashboard to view KPIs of all your facilities in real-time and drill down for details.

By integrating workforce attendance and employee scheduling data, long-term care facilities can quickly:

4. Payroll-Based Journals MUST Track and Report, Instantly

For long-term care operators, compliance is always top of mind. And it should be.  A Five-Star Rating means everything from higher reimbursements and occupancy rates to lower insurance costs. A stellar rating requires effective Payroll-Based Journal reports.

Where we were:

Some workforce management systems put the burden of collecting compliance data and creating Payroll-Based Journal reports on administrators, which can take days or weeks every quarter.

Where we are:

When you integrate Payroll-Based Journal reporting into your workforce management solution, you can slash this tedious process from hours to minutes.

 

Where you could be:

Innovative systems, like SmartLinx, optimize compliance reporting by integrating compliance tracking with employee scheduling and attendance functions. You can simply access the color-coded dashboard to track compliance across all your facilities simultaneously and push a button to generate a report.

State and federal regulators want auditable processes. Unfortunately, most workforce management systems follow traditional report collection and submission practices that lack auditability.

Systems that integrate real-time compliance tracking with nurse scheduling and attendance features can quickly create audit-ready Payroll-Based Journal reports. Real-time compliance reporting and a centralized dashboard also enables you to easily demonstrate compliance on demand. See how Greek American Rehabilitation & Care Centre refuted a compliance allegation in minutes.

 

5. You MUST Know How to Navigate the Five-Star Ratings Process

 

As a post-acute and long-term care operator, you understand the power of Five-Star Ratings and you know achieving and keeping your desired Five-Star Rating is a never-ending challenge.

Where we were:

Most skilled nursing facilities have failed to consistently meet the staffing requirements. And it's not for lack of trying. Lack of qualified nurses contributed (and continue) to more than 1.1 million open positions every month, according to Argentum.

When this limited pool of qualified nurses, it's even tougher to find qualified people to fill three shifts a day, every day.

Where we are:

Staffing to Five-Star Rating requirements adds another layer of complexity. You must modify schedules on the fly to keep up with changing resident needs and populations. Your Five-Star Rating for staffing really starts to slide when nurses take unexpected PTO and you can't quickly fill their shifts.

Where you could be:

You need a workforce management system to stay on top of changing employee scheduling needs and  identify how staffing changes affect your Five-Star Rating. After the fact reporting may help spot staffing trends and fill out Payroll-Based Journal Reports but does little to prevent the gaps.

To improve your Five-Star Rating, your workforce management software must track staffing against CMS requirements. It must also alert you when scheduling gaps threaten your next Five Star-Rating.

SmartLinx uses current and historical data to calculate your actual star rating against your desired rating. The workforce management system then alerts you when staffing changes compromise your desired rating and tells what how to remediate the staffing problem before it impacts your rating.

Understand the Five-Star Rating calculation

CMS calculates RN and total nurse staffing ratings individually and assigns five stars for staffing to facilities who:

Workforce management systems with integrated Payroll-Based Journal, nurse scheduling and attendance functions can help providers improve their Five-Star Rating by proactively identifying days without RN coverage. SmartLinx workforce management system can even identify RN staffing violations as soon as they happen.

Learn how SmartLinx can help you advance your goals, book a personalized demo.

The aging population and intensifying nursing shortage threaten to create a cataclysmic need for skilled nursing resources over the next few years. The United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card believes the shortage will continue until at least 2030. Meanwhile the demand for skilled nursing care will soar as the number of Americans over 65 doubles to 95 million by 2060, according to the US Census Bureau.

Workforce management systems play a key role in caring for the elderly and infirmed people. They empower healthcare facilities with the ability to assign medical personnel, track attendance, and ensure regulatory compliance. But are these same workforce management systems prepared to help skilled nursing and senior care facilities navigate these growing staffing and operation demands?

Well, maybe. The answer depends on the operator's:

Management strategy dictates how the facility will address the growing demand, strict regulatory requirements, and staffing limitations. A legacy approach that deploys workforce management systems in the background to create schedules, document attendance and run reports won't suffice. To succeed, senior living providers must take a proactive, innovative strategy to:

Workforce management system capabilities. Not all workforce management systems are created equal. In assisted living, providers must ensure their system can promote the business outcomes that advance quality and counter staffing shortages. They should also make sure the system is:

Before they can create an effective strategy to counter the staffing crisis, providers must analyze its underlying causes and how specific measures can address these causes and affect their environment.

 

Understanding the Staffing Shortage

Rising employee turnover

High turnover means providers tasked with caring for the aging population face even greater workforce challenges than their peers at other healthcare facilities. In senior living facilities, turnover rates among nursing staff exceed 33%, according to Argentum.  Consequently, many providers are enhancing salary and benefit packages to attract candidates as well as devoting more resources to hiring.

Some turnover is natural and should be expected as experienced nurses approach retirement. It's the quantity of nurses retiring that will exacerbate the depleted resource pool.

“The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows. Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care given the national move toward healthcare reform,” according to the American Association of Colleges and Nursing (AACN). 

High turnover compounds daily problems at many facilities that are striving to keep shifts filled. Argentum's The 2019 Forecast Report: Workforce Trends states that 1.2 million jobs remain unfilled in healthcare and social assistance industry, which includes skilled nursing and senior care.

Healthcare providers are looking to other industries that have successfully navigated similar scenarios. Lean approaches and workforce management systems help industries, like manufacturing and retail, consistently deliver high service levels with limited resources. However, skilled nursing and senior care providers face additional challenges since quality of care hinges on the availability of skilled medical personnel. As a result, providers must break down the shortage's impact on quality of care. They must also analyze the staffing shortage and strategies that can alleviate their staff's burdens and better position staff to deliver quality care.

Workforce management systems help counter turnover by streamlining applicant recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes.  

How the shortage impacts senior living

Lack of educated nurses directly correlates with poor resident care and even leads to fatalities. According to research, a 10% increase in the number of bachelor's degree nurses equates to 7% decrease in patient mortality in overall healthcare practices. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine  confirms this research and estimates the understaffed units have a 6% higher patient mortality rate than fully staffed counterparts.

Certified Nursing Assistants are also in short supply, which makes it even more difficult to provide quality care.

MIT Professor Paul Osterman, a professor at MIT, projects a national shortage of 151,000 paid direct-care workers by 2030 and an estimated gap of 355,000 by 2040.

When facilities are short-staffed, nurses spend less time with each resident and are more likely to make mistakes. In fact, research proves when RNs are on site, residents experience less falls and are less likely to need emergency medical treatment. CNAs lack the expertise needed to troubleshoot resident care needs, forcing them to take on this responsibility jeopardizes resident care.

Pursing Quality with Lean utilization and Workforce Management

Since spreading nurses over a greater patient population hinders their ability to provide quality care, providers must find ways to alleviate the burden on nurses while maximizing the productivity of their available resources. The right workforce management system that leverages lean principles can help.

When part of a comprehensive strategy, workforce management systems that follow lean principles can increase employee productivity, job satisfaction, and promote career advancement, which in turn reduces turnover and enhances quality care.

Applying Lean principles with workforce management systems

Lean principles have been helping organizations in multiple industries, especially manufacturing, reach productivity goals for decades. Lean seeks to fundamentally change organization thinking and value, which helps transform organizational culture. Lean comprises a set of operating philosophies and methods designed to maximize value for patients by reducing waste and waits, according to the National Institute of Health.

Lean utilization helps fuel lean principles and compliment workforce management systems by helping the workforce expand their abilities. Lean utilization requires developing employees to their highest level of skill through role enhancement, which often includes delegation skills, flexibility, and technology, especially workforce management. Find out if Your Organization Wasting Its Most Valuable Resource.

Enhancing roles  

According to the NIH, role enhancement involves expanding worker skills through innovative and non-traditional roles so they can assume a broader range of responsibilities. Ongoing professional development expands nursing skills and enables nurses to provide current, safe, and expert care.

Many senior living providers use their workforce management systems to look for development-minded nursing candidates. The provider trains them in multiple skills from wound care and EMR to QA auditing, and quality management measures.

Enabling staff to spread their wings enhances their engagement and advances their career path while increasing productivity and care quality. In the activities department, staff are also trained in feeding residents as well as managing the facility gift shop.

“We try to expand their horizons as much as possible,” said Mordecai Finkel, Greek American HR Director. “The result? Staff are more likely to be invested in their profession.” Find out:  How Company Culture & Happy Employees Go Hand in Hand.  

Delegating with ease

Delegation practices helps staff communicate more effectively and reduces stress. They increase productivity by helping teams finish tasks on time rather than cramming tasks to the end of the shift, which often spirals into unnecessary overtime. Everyone must understand expectations and responsibility.

The six steps to teaching better delegation are:

  1. Prepare
  2. Assign
  3. Confirm understanding
  4. Confirm commitment
  5. Avoid “reverse delegating”
  6. Ensure accountability

Basic workforce management systems can ensure properly qualified staff are working in the appropriate positions and clock in and out on time. More systems can also identify trends that diminish workforce attendance and productivity.

Driving flexibility

Developing a flexible skillset and mindset promotes cost efficiencies and superior performance. Greek American's Human Resources Director learned this firsthand after eliminating the word specialist from job titles as a result.

“I can't tell you how inefficient things are when a person specializes in one area and can't move on to another skill or task. At our facility, every CNA is trained in rehab skills, in feeding, and creating a fine dining experience. This is above and beyond their regular job description. We're never going to be stuck if one of our ‘specialists' calls out one day, so all of our employees are trained to do all of the different aspects of the other responsibilities as well,” Mr. Finkel said. 

Integrated workforce management systems promote flexibility by enabling providers to create staffing policies that support their unique needs and incorporate expanded employee skills. Advanced systems can factor these skills and policies into scheduling and compliance functions and apply them when creating schedules and filling open shifts.

However, these tailored capabilities only work when the workforce management system is designed specifically for senior care facilities. Many workforce management systems treat all healthcare environments the same, which limits their ability to apply lean principles and resolve staffing  issues.

In addition, generic workforce management systems are often difficult to navigate.

How SmartLinx Supports Lean Principles

Lean principles help organizations focus on value to boost productivity and resource utilization as well as better understand costs. When tailored for the organization's environment, workforce management systems represent an ideal technology for organizations striving to apply lean principles.

Promoting quality and effective resource utilization

Assisted Living  facilities must abide by different regulations than other healthcare providers. SmartLinx can staff according to federal requirements and Lean principles. In addition to scheduling staff based on the number of residents and services provided, the workforce management system also quickly adjusts schedules to match changing resident needs.  See how SmartLinx streamlines scheduling at 110 facilities.

SmartLinx notifies administrators when a sudden scheduling change (missed shift, tardiness) causes a facility to fall out of compliance. The system automatically presents a list of qualified employees able to close the scheduling gap.

 

Administrators can verify full staffing at every facility by glancing at the SmartLinx dashboard and quickly drilling down to discover the source behind any scheduling issue. With a quick click of the mouse, administrators can offer the shift to employees in each one's preferred method, such as the SmartLinx Go mobile app, a text message, email, or phone call. SmartLinx automatically collects employee responses and notifies administrators, who can easily close the gap.

 Increasing productivity and eliminating inefficiencies

Designed specifically for senior care providers, SmartLinx streamlines the administrative processes by presenting all scheduling functions in an intuitive graphical dashboard. Administrators can quickly access what they need and modify schedules on the fly. Not only that, the SmartLinx centralized console lets administrators view schedule status for all their facilities at once and drill down to details. See how Excelerate cut overtime by 30% and overall labor costs by 15% with SmartLinx workforce management system.

Using advanced business analytics, the workforce management system helps providers prevent overtime. With the unified dashboard, administrators can quickly ascertain who's approaching overtime and adjust schedules accordingly. When a shift opens, SmartLinx automatically recommends qualified employees who can work without incurring overtime while also supporting internal policies, such as seniority. Administrators can send out shift requests knowing the software will notify them when employees respond.

SmartLinx advances productivity by enabling employees to adjust their schedules on demand. Employees can also receive and respond to open shift requests in real-time on their mobile device. If they cannot work a scheduled shift, employees can use SmartLinx mobile workforce management system to swap shifts with qualified co-workers and view responses in real time. Discover How to use a Mobile App to Enhance Productivity.

Reducing costs

Every day, many employees clock in a little early and clock out a little late. Over time, these extra minutes add up to substantial costs. Instead of having administrators sift through volumes of attendance data to identify these incidents and then manually address them, SmartLinx presents all incidental overtime on one unified console. Administrators can quickly spot trends and implement policies to block early punches, late punch outs, and buddy punching. In addition,

Conclusion

Demonstrating quality care will remain a top key performance indicator. Integrated workforce management systems that support lean utilization principles will enable providers to maximize employee productivity and eliminate inefficiencies. They can use workforce management systems to reduce labor costs while ensuring the staffing meets quality standards and complies with evolving regulations.

 

There's nothing more old school than the healing power of human touch and personal connections. Anyone who works in senior living facilities knows the value of compassion in providing care.

After all, the caliber of care reflects the humanity staff show residents in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities every day. And this is conveyed through an enduring personal touch and empathy that never goes out of style.

Not surprisingly, science confirms the healing power of human touch. Researchers discovered how a nurse's touch can ease anxiety, enhances overall care, and reduce pain among residents in post-acute care and senior living environments.

Digital transformation technologies improve quality care

In today's world, human interaction is only one part of the equation. Senior care operators are coming face to face with the power of digital transformation and its many forms, especially workforce management and mobile shift management. In skilled nursing facilities, mobile shift  management and digital employee communications are helping facilities thrive by empowering staff and managers and freeing up more time for them to focus on residents.

"Extensive literature review and analysis indicated that touch, human interaction, relatability, compassion, and technology are all integral to both the current and future nursing practice; the harmonious and appropriate collaboration of advanced technology in nursing practice is likely to continue improving patient care,” according to a research paper in Critical Care Nursing Quarterly.

In fact, used correctly, technology, like mobile workforce management, can help enhance opportunities for in-person human touch between caregivers and residents.

This has never been more evident than during the 2020 pandemic. These trying circumstances repeatedly demonstrated the value of digital transformation technologies, such as mobile workforce management, proactive nurse scheduling, real-time time tracking, touchless time clocks with thermal- sensing capabilities, and centralized, two-way messaging.

When infection control protocols and social distancing rules limited restricted visits, technology helped residents stay in touch with loved ones. Workforce management technologies also helped employees take better care of residents and better manage their own lives. Why Staff Management Software is Critical in Senior Living.

Workforce management and employee messaging empower senior care staff

Workforce management with integrated nurse scheduling, time tracking, and centralized two-way employee communications resolve staff administration challenges that could otherwise detract from resident care. For example, a mobile workforce management system purpose-built for long-term care promotes productivity and enables operators to:

See how Trilogy uses technology to advance quality care and reduce costs.

 

Simplifying compliance with Payroll-Based Journal technology

Unified workforce management and compliance technology is ideally suited to enhance the operator's ability to provide quality personal care by making other tasks less of a worry.

For example, consider how public scrutiny and regulatory attention are increasing in the wake of  COVID-19 and havoc it wreaked in healthcare, in this case long-term care facilities.

Compliance with constantly evolving federal and state regulations can be a daunting, time-consuming  responsibility for post-acute care and long-term care providers, even in the best of times, potentially drawing attention away from management's ability to support staff and residents.

Under the spotlight, skilled nursing operators must meticulously adhere to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines and create thorough Payroll-Based Journal reports. The quarterly Payroll-Based Journal reports influence the facility's Five-Star Rating, which in turn affects their reputation, insurance, and Medicare reimbursements.

SmartLinx integrated workforce management system automates this requirement, by collecting and generating Payroll-Based Journal reports in a matter of minutes. These reports can be helpful when regulators conduct surprise compliance audits, allowing facility operators to immediately produce accurate and documented answers to questions inspectors may pose.

But by the time, administrators are ready to generate quarterly Payroll-Based Journal reports, it can be too late. Even the best PBJ reporting systems cannot prove compliance to CMS regulations if the staffing throughout the quarter did not meet CMS requirements.

Jump start compliance with proactive employee scheduling

Compliance must start with a proactive employee scheduling system that creates and adjusts nurse schedules based on PPD census values. Another important piece of the puzzle is real-time attendance tracking. Let's face it. No matter how effective your employee schedules are, staff will violate them by calling out of work at the last minute or showing up late. These unexpected employee scheduling gaps can jeopardize compliance, compromise quality care, and lead to unscheduled overtime.

It's important to identify and close nurse scheduling gaps quickly. When your workforce management system can integrate real-time attendance tracking with live nurse scheduling data, you can.  Intuitive nurse scheduling systems also provide transparency into live attendance data. A color-coded centralized dashboard exposes gaps across the enterprise at first glance and lets you  drilldown for details.

Some workforce management systems, like SmartLinx, take this a step further by recommending qualified employees to fill the open shifts—without incurring overtime—and then with the click of the mouse, they will automatically offer the shifts to select employees.

Using digital technologies to solve staffing crisis

Human capital is more and more in demand as the need for senior care continues to grow.  Nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day and life expectancy increases 2.5 years every ten years. Indeed, the senior population is projected to double by 2030.

This creates a need for more care at a time when the workforce is also aging. To prepare for the impact on skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, providers must adopt technologies that improve senior care, enhance productivity and counter employee turnover.

Long-term care providers don't have the luxury of waiting for a brighter day to address staffing shortages. They must act now to ensure they can take care of residents today and tomorrow.

 Finding Creative Ways Technology Can Retain Employees

In resolving these issues, senior living operators have several conflicting challenges:

Digital transformation and workforce management technologies are the answers to many of these issues. They can help attract and retain employees while streamlining hiring and onboarding practices.

In fact, technology is changing and improving the way long-term care operators manage their facilities and empower staff to provide personal care to residents.

Meeting employee needs with mobile workforce management

Mobile workforce management is freeing staff from other concerns, enabling workers to anticipate and meet the needs of residents like never before.

Another way to enhance the ability of staff to provide quality personal care is to help workers to ensure their own needs are also being met.

A way to illustrate this is to consider why airline passengers are routinely instructed to take care of their own need for oxygen before helping their neighbor during an emergency because they will be better able to assist fellow passengers when their needs are met.

By the same token, stressed-out or distracted staff in a long-term care facility may have trouble focusing  their full attention on residents. The fewer personal worries workers have, the more they are free to provide quality care.

SmartLinx technology provides breathing room for employees, allowing them to focus on residents  with fewer work-related worries. For example, the mobile workforce management app enables employees to balance work and life priorities by easily accessing and adjusting their work schedules at any time from any place. Workers can check their time-off balances, as well as open shifts and schedules.

Workers can use the app to swap shifts, submit requests for PTO and view key information any time of the day, any day of the week. The app also allows employees to punch in and out of work quickly and easily.

SmartLinx employee scheduling technology also makes managing competing needs easier for operators. It frees administrators from having to manually adjust nurse schedules as resident census values change. The workforce management system can do this automatically.

This helps fulfill compliance requirements while also helping to minimize expensive overtime and close open shifts as they become available.

SmartLinx also has an intuitive, centralized messaging system that eases resolution of staffing issues and provides a unified platform for real-time communications between management and staff. This fosters a more engaged workforce. It makes it easy for employees to tell management if they're running late or have a problem. They can submit a request related to payroll or human resources.

The messaging center also provides a platform for managers to post open shifts, making them immediately visible to eligible employees. It facilitates collaboration, allowing staff and management to work together to meet employee scheduling needs.

How workforce management technology helps retain employees

It's critical that long-term care and senior living campuses are enabled by technology. This helps to drive efficiencies, especially at a time of staffing shortages and employees feeling overworked because of COVID-19.

Researchers report that 20% of senior care employees say insufficient technology is a factor in burnout. By making senior living facilities more attractive places to work, technology can help mitigate staff shortages.

As described above, SmartLinx workforce management can automate caregiver workflows and enhance collaboration to increase staff satisfaction and reduce turnover.

A bonus is that technology in the workplace helps attract younger, tech-savvy workers who feel most comfortable using cyber tools in their lives. In fact, without such technology being used in the workplace, it wouldn't be surprising for younger workers to become frustrated by missed opportunities for efficiency.

At the same time, its ease of use helps engage baby boomer staff in technology, making them receptive to technology solutions in other areas.

In summary, SmartLinx workforce management technology is the answer to navigating the complexities of the long-term-care work environment by making scheduling, workflow and communications simple, facilitating compliance and improving the employee experience.

The difference between SmartLinx and Kronos workforce management software

Doing more with less is a fact of life in long-term, post-acute and senior care as operating margins shrink and costs escalate.

Unlike other industries, you can't reduce your largest expense—labor—by downsizing functions or instituting a hiring freeze. Nor do you want to decrease your nursing staff. You understand the correlation between a well-staffed facility and the quality of care delivered to residents. After all, giving residents high-quality care is why you do what you do.

Therefore, you turn to workforce management software for help driving efficiency without reducing nursing staff. But can workforce management software really reduce your highest expense without jeopardizing the care you provide?

The answer depends on which software system you choose.

Addressing the staffing dilemma

Many healthcare providers rely on workforce management software for key functions, like scheduling, since they need the right people in the right positions to deliver quality care every day.

A lot of workforce management systems, like Kronos, help skilled nursing and senior care facilities perform rudimentary employee scheduling. The workforce management software automatically generates schedules based on scheduling history, positions, and employee credentials. This approach would work fine if employee schedules and resident populations remained stagnant.

However, as we know employees miss shifts, take unexpected PTO, and show up late every day. We also know resident populations change frequently as do individual medical needs and care requirements. Skilled nursing and senior care facilities need workforce management software with flexible and intuitive scheduling capabilities to drive business outcomes.

How workforce management software can slash costs AND improve quality

Workforce management software must do more than pump out schedules. They must quickly adjust to support changing scheduling needs and resident needs to promote quality care. To maximize efficiency and reduce labor costs, workforce management software must be optimized for skilled nursing and senior care environments. A one-size-fits-all approach cannot achieve the desired results as it will fail to address overspending and be difficult to navigate. Read why Caring Health Systems switched from Kronos to SmartLinx.

Why ease of use matters

Kronos offers a broad base of scheduling features for a wide array of healthcare providers. As a result, skilled nursing and senior care administrators must hunt and peck their way around the workforce management software to configure their scheduling needs. This complex and inefficient process proves draining and prompts many administrators to revert to manual scheduling practices and spreadsheets.

Designed specifically for skilled nursing and senior care providers, SmartLinx workforce management software streamlines the administrative processes by presenting all scheduling functions in an intuitive graphical dashboard. Administrators can quickly access what they need and modify schedules on the fly. Not only that, the SmartLinx centralized console lets administrators view schedule status for all their facilities at once and drill down to analyze details. See how SmartLinx streamlines scheduling at 110 facilities.

Adjusting for resident census and acuity

Skilled nursing and senior care providers must abide by different regulations than other healthcare providers. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) places strict regulations on staffing at long-term care and post-acute care facilities. CMS staffing regulations define the number and type of staff required to support various resident populations based on the size of the population and acuity needs.

Meeting CMS compliance regulations is enormously challenging. In fact, most skilled nursing facilities fail to consistently comply with CMS staffing requirements.

A July 2019 study by Harvard and Vanderbilt University researchers reports that most skilled nursing facilities do not fully comply with the required level of nursing staff, which jeopardizes the quality of patient care. “One troubling aspect of our findings is that 75% of nursing homes were almost never in compliance with what CMS expected their RN staffing level to be, based on residents' acuity,” wrote Fangli Geng, David Stevenson, and David Grabowski in Daily Nursing Home Staffing Levels Highly Variable, Often Below CMS Expectations for HealthAffairs.

 

 

The role of workforce management software in staffing acuity

Workforce management software must do more than schedule personnel based on the number of residents and services provided. They must also quickly adjust schedules to support changing patient per day (HPPD) census values and medical needs often referred to as acuity staffing.

One-size fits all systems, like Kronos, cannot automatically adjust schedules based on changing PPD census values. Therefore, administrators must manually research PPD values and determine how to apply them in each facility, every day. If they falter, they risk non-compliance and jeopardize Medicare reimbursements and the facility's Five-Star Rating.

SmartLinx — workforce management for LTPAC and senior care

SmartLinx workforce management automatically adjusts schedules to changing PPD census values and notifies administrators when a sudden scheduling change (missed shift, tardiness) causes a facility to fall out of compliance. Administrators can verify full staffing at every facility by glancing at the SmartLinx dashboard and quickly drill down to discover the source behind any scheduling issue.

In addition to alerting them of open shifts, SmartLinx workforce management software automatically presents administrators with a list of qualified employees able to close the scheduling gap. With a quick click of the mouse, administrators can offer the shift to employees in each one's preferred method, such as the SmartLinx Go mobile app, a text message, email, or phone call. SmartLinx automatically collects employee responses and notifies administrators, who can easily close the gap.

 

Controlling Labor Costs

Labor consumes 50 to 80% of the budget for skilled nursing and senior care facilities everywhere. Workforce management software providers, like Kronos, promise to reduce overhead by automating manual processes and enabling administrators to concentrate on more strategic work. These systems provide a range of functions, from employee scheduling to time tracking and compliance reporting.  However, the software's effectiveness is limited by its failure to fully integrate different functions and present the real-time data providers need to reduce costs in a quick and consolidated format.

Overtime costs and agency fees continually erode the provider's bottom line but are difficult to prevent. When employees call out sick or the census values change, schedulers scramble to fill the need. They often turn to their most reliable or visible employees. In many cases, employees feel obliged to work longer hours to cover for an absent co-worker or care for needy residents. In other cases, the gap remains unfilled. To avoid this noncompliance when they can't find someone quickly, many administrators call a nursing agency and hire costly contract workers to fill the void.

Since they can't deliver real-time exception reports when an open shift occurs, many workforce management software providers, like Kronos, cannot quickly close scheduling gaps, let alone prevent them. Consequently, skilled nursing and senior care watch their overtime and agency costs escalate.

How SmartLinx reduces overtime and agency fees

Leveraging advanced business analytics, SmartLinx workforce management software helps providers prevent overtime. At-a-glance, administrators can see the hours each employee worked in the pay period as well as their remaining hours. SmartLinx takes this to the next level by continually analyzing employee hours and projecting each one's likelihood of accumulating overtime hours. See how Excelerate cut overtime by 30% and overall labor costs by 15%.

Using the workforce management software's unified dashboard, administrators can quickly ascertain who's approaching overtime and adjust schedules accordingly. When a shift opens, SmartLinx automatically recommends qualified employees who won't incur overtime and do satisfy internal policies, such as seniority. With a click of the mouse, administrators can send out shift requests, knowing the workforce management software will notify them when employees respond.

 How to contain incidental overtime

Every day, many employees clock in a little early and clock out a little late. Over time, these extra minutes add up to substantial costs. Most workforce management software, like Kronos, require administrators dig through volumes of attendance data to identify these incidents and then manually address them.

SmartLinx workforce management software identifies all incidental overtime on one unified console, enabling administrators to quickly spot trends and implement policies to block early punches, late punch outs, and buddy punching. In addition, SmartLinx ensures that every employee receives a 30-minute meal break for each eight-hour shift, regardless of whether they remember to clock in and out.

Increase revenue using workforce management software to improve Five-Star Ratings

In skilled nursing, the importance of Five-Star Ratings cannot be overestimated. In addition, to determining a facility's per-patient Medicare reimbursements, Five-Star Ratings make or break a facility's reputation. Facilities that earn all five stars receive about 50% more PPD reimbursements than those receiving three stars. Consumers and physicians base their choice of nursing homes on Five-Star Ratings while lending institutions leverage them to rank creditworthiness. Learn about the Growing Influence of Five-Star Ratings.

CMS revises the ratings quarterly after receiving the facility's Payroll-Based Journal reports and publishes them on the government website. In late 2019, the federal agency began posting bright red icon next to facilities that received fewer than three stars.

Workforce management software systems, like Kronos, can support compliance reporting requirements. But they cannot help skilled nursing providers improve their Five-Star Ratings because they cannot remediate scheduling and attendance data against CMS requirements in real-time.

SmartLinx workforce management software helps providers evaluate their staffing rating long before the CMS Payroll-Based Journal deadline. The workforce management software automatically rates each facility in real-time. It aggregates hourly staffing data and factoring in CMS calculation criteria. SmartLinx displays warnings when any facility's staffing falls below established thresholds. It also indicates whether the problem could jeopardize the facility's desired Five-Star Rating. The workforce management software then recommends steps the provider can take to remediate the issue before it impacts their desired Five-Star Rating. Learn more about how SmartLinx Spotlight improves Five-Star Ratings.

Avoid noncompliance penalties

Workforce management software helps providers comply with CMS reporting requirements by generating Payroll-Based Journal reports. Providers, like Kronos, collect historical staffing information and format it at the end of the quarter. Frequently, administrators must manually manipulate the data, which is very time-consuming.

SmartLinx workforce management software leverages its real-time attendance and scheduling capabilities to automatically collect and format Payroll-Based Journal reports with minimal user efforts. Facilities can create compliance reports at any time in moments. See how Greek American reduced PBJ reporting from 60 hours to 2 minutes.

Improve employee productivity

It's no secret. Engaged employees are more productive and committed than their less engaged counterparts. According to Gartner, “highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.”

In addition to automating administrator tasks, workforce management software can drive productivity by giving workers what they need to effectively manage their schedules and balance work-life priorities. Most providers, like Kronos, enable employees to access scheduling information and receive shift requests on their mobile devices.

SmartLinx workforce management software takes productivity to the next level. It enables employees to adjust their schedules on demand. If they cannot work a scheduled shift, employees can use SmartLinx mobile workforce management software to swap shifts with qualified co-workers, request PTO, and view responses in real-time. Discover How to use a Mobile App to Enhance Productivity.

Employees can also receive and respond to open shift requests in real-time on their mobile devices. SmartLinx mobile workforce management software gives 24/7 ability to access and print paystubs and employee profile information. This helps employees more effectively manage their personal finances. SmartLinx is designed specifically for skilled nursing and senior care workers. The intuitive workforce management software app presents information in the way employees desire.

Conclusion

Skilled nursing and senior care facilities need workforce management software specifically designed for their unique environment. Workforce management software designed for healthcare facilities, like Kronos, lacks real-time analytics and usability. These features are needed to substantially reduce costs and improve quality. Learn more about how SmartLinx workforce management software stacks up against Kronos.

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