Effective workforce management is essential for healthcare providers, especially in long-term, post-acute, and senior care facilities. The need to balance employee productivity with compliance and quality care is no easy feat. Today, healthcare administrators can take advantage of modern, unified workforce management systems to reduce costs and empower staff to give residents the care they need.
No matter what workforce management software you choose, it should be tailored to the challenges of your industry. With a general, one-size-fits-all solution, you run the risk of adopting an inferior system that does little more than generate schedules and batch reports. On the other hand, tailored workforce management makes it easy to perform core functions, such as scheduling and attendance tracking. And it combines other key tasks, like human resource and compliance control.
Let's look at some leading workforce solutions and how integrating them into a single system can increase productivity and reduce costs.
In the case of healthcare facilities, ensuring there is enough staff with the right qualifications achieves the best level of resident care. Modern technology solutions help accomplish this.
At the heart of workforce management software is the capacity to handle staff scheduling. Manually creating schedules is time consuming and prone to errors. But advanced algorithms can determine the potential staffing demand and automatically generate custom schedules. By tracking historical data, the algorithm predicts workforce needs and proactively creates schedules. Automated scheduling helps prevent understaffing — and ensures the right team is in place when they're needed.
Steady, predictable work shifts are ideal, but in healthcare, nothing is as constant as change. Workforce management systems make it easy for administrators to enter changes and adjust plans in real-time. You'll have up-to-date information without having to wait for planned reports. This allows you to make stress-free decisions when scheduling staff.
In addition to capturing schedule changes in real-time, workforce management software also addresses staffing challenges, such as filling open shifts, eliminating scheduling gaps, and tracking employee attendance. These tasks are tricky to reconcile across multiple systems. Using an agile, integrated management solution is ideal for creating schedules that not only fit the needs of your healthcare residents but also adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of your staff.
The addition of employee attendance data into a workforce management solution makes it possible to identify costly issues like absences, tardiness, and overtime. Tracking in real-time, administrators can recognize and address changes as they happen and resolve them quickly.
The benefits of an integrated system also extend to defining and implementing attendance policies. Healthcare facilities employ various types of staff, including Registered Nurses, Licensed Nurse Practitioners, and others, whether full-time or on a contract basis. With different policies for different types of employees, enforcement is a challenge. Attendance management algorithms can apply policies automatically, making oversight and compliance more straightforward.
When you integrate attendance tracking and scheduling data in a centralized workforce management system, you can generate robust reports to identify trends and make informed choices. For example, reducing overtime or streamlining processes — tracking overtime and policy violations allows you to recognize and solve these problems before they become costly issues. Similarly, attendance reports aid with compliance. They prove that staffing minimums get met by qualified personnel.
For long-term, post-acute, and senior care facilities, compliance reporting can take an enormous amount of time and effort. Staffing regulations at the local, state, and federal levels are not straight forward and have strict requirements. Also, you must address internal policies, such as union rules for seniority, and requirements for diversity and inclusion. The proper workforce management software — one tailored to long-term care and senior living needs — makes compliance simple and ensures you're always audit-ready.
Both state and federal regulations outline the requirements for skilled nursing facilities. Your Five-Star Rating depends on more than submitting timely Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) reports that confirm compliance to staffing requirements. It also requires proving compliance on-demand when auditors arrive. Workforce management systems also aid compliance by creating quarterly submissions for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and tracking staff information needed for other compliance activities throughout the quarter.
By documenting staffing policy violations, you're able to address compliance issues and resolve them quickly. For example, a solution that tracks employee skills and availability assists helps you schedule qualified staff according to compliance requirements. It can also alert you when staff member licenses or certifications are close to expiring.
Additional regulatory reports include those for the Family Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act. For employees taking advantage of either of these federal programs, you must track and report the benefits owed to, time taken by, and the time remaining for each employee. You can accomplish compliance by using workforce management software tailored to your needs.
Payroll is one of your organization's most critical systems. It's intricately tied to compliance, scheduling, and attendance. Because payroll is typically automated before other workplace management solutions, you could be dealing with antiquated software that doesn't integrate with scheduling or attendance management activities.
Combining attendance and payroll streamlines calculations and reporting. Complying with federal regulations related to employee hours is especially tricky for skilled nursing and assisted living facilities because of overnight shifts and different types of staff (such as full-time, part-time, agency, or contract). Incorporating payroll with your attendance management system saves time by automating the reports for your Payroll-Based Journal submissions.
A workforce management solution that makes pay details accessible to employees on a self-serve portal reduces payroll inquiries. A self-serve portal also empowers employees to access the information they need when they need it, allowing them more time to provide high-quality care.
Human Capital Management (HCM) includes overseeing people and payroll-related processes. Integrating your HCM tasks with your workforce management software puts all employee (and potential employee) information in one place to streamline HR workflows.
From posting a job to interviewing to onboarding, there's a lot involved with hiring new staff. Embracing candidate management allows you to track every step of the process. Automated systems save time when it comes to creating job postings and scheduling interviews. And with centralized data storage, your entire team can access candidate information. This availability speeds up the selection process so that you hire the right people faster. But managing human capital doesn't end at the hiring process.
For new employees, choosing benefits is often confusing and frustrating. To make the process easier, consider using artificial intelligence to help staff compare available plans, and select the best option. Informed employees are self-sufficient and make confident decisions about their benefits, which boosts morale and frees up time.
As part of their benefits, employees are entitled to several types of leave. Tracking leave manually is time-consuming and complex. Absences must be administered differently depending on the type of leave. Without a reliable system in place, you run the risk of errors, which will lead to non-compliance. Incorporating leave management into your workforce solution makes it possible to track leave in real-time and to generate up-to-date calculations and reports automatically.
Another essential HCM duty is workers' compensation management, which is straightforward with the proper software. Because integrated software can keep OSHA-related data centralized, reports are simple to prepare, and your facility stays compliant. Additionally, intelligent HCM reports also help you identify incident trends so you can improve employee safety.
An advantage of a sophisticated workforce management systems is the ability to incorporate mobile solutions. Employees can use their mobile devices to view and update scheduling and shift information in real-time. They can manage their schedules, choosing to fill open shifts or swap shifts. These abilities empower employees to make adjustments while behind the scenes, the software guarantees staffing minimums are met and allows administrators to approve or reject changes.
Likewise, other mobile features can help support compliance. Automatic notifications alert qualified personnel to open shifts. And geo-locating features embedded in mobile apps promote employee accountability. They verify that an employee's scheduled location and their actual location match up. Geo-locating also helps staff find the right place to go in a new or unfamiliar facility.
In addition to notifications and geo-locating, mobile workforce management solutions allow your staff to communicate using text messages, email, or in-app notifications. Requesting time off or inquiring about payroll details no longer requires back-and-forth exchanges with administrators. The ease of communication bolsters engagement and makes it convenient for staff to access their employment information any time they need it — even if they're unfamiliar with mobile technology.
A mobile solution with a simple, intuitive design and a common-sense interface will encourage employees to make the most of mobile features. They can see hours worked, vacation approvals, and payroll information. Mobile management takes advantage of technology to support your staff — whether they're at work or home.
On the whole, unified workforce management systems will solve many of the issues that healthcare administrators face. Still, choosing the best option isn't easy. You'll need a robust system tailored to long-term, post-acute, or senior care. A fully integrated solution will unlock your organization's potential by making your facility more efficient, reducing costs, and empowering your staff to deliver high-quality care.