Flexible Schedules in Healthcare Aren’t an Oxymoron Anymore
It’s no secret that there’s a turnover issue in healthcare, which has been severely exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Long hours and staff shortages have led to nearly half of healthcare workers planning to leave their position, or the healthcare field entirely. A recent study by Medscape found that 20 to 30% of frontline healthcare workers are thinking of leaving their job. And that’s actually the lowball estimate. Vivian, a healthcare job marketplace, found that 43% of nurses are considering leaving their current position this year and a whopping 48% of ICU workers shared the sentiment.
Before the pandemic, there was also a lot of distrust around flexible scheduling. Employers were concerned that if healthcare employees chose their own schedules, management would lose control over the setting and chaos would ensue. However, the past year and a half showed us all that flexible scheduling is indeed a superpower.
Yes, most healthcare employees can’t work from home because they’re needed on the floor. But enabling overworked nurses and physicians to choose their own hours creates an opportunity for work/life balance — which is what many healthcare employees say is missing from their current position. Let’s take a look at how flexible scheduling can help healthcare companies compete for talent.
Empowering Frontline Employees Boosts Retention and Loyalty
Flexible online scheduling can reduce nurse and physician turnover by decreasing overwhelm. Employees have the opportunity to work when it fits into their lives, so they call-in less. And, when something comes up, they can easily cover shifts by making them available to other employees online. So, the rest of the staff is rarely left scrambling to cover for an absent healthcare worker.
Giving employees power over the hours they work can make or break a new hire’s decision to come on board –– particularly in the highly competitive healthcare industry. Retention and loyalty are not always easy to come by in the healthcare field, but healthcare managers can gain a competitive edge by creating an environment of continuous engagement, empowerment, and flexibility.
Digital Engagement Gives Healthcare Agencies a Competitive Advantage
It’s easy for employees to feel disconnected and unseen in the fast-paced healthcare industry. In the past, healthcare managers had to resort to in-person meetings to create a sense of community, but this detracted from time spent on the floor. That’s why healthcare employers and frontline professionals are gravitating towards digital forums to create continuous engagement. A recent BNI survey found that 16% of employees wanted to stick with online meetings only after the pandemic, while almost 51% wanted a blend of both in-person and online meetings.
This data demonstrates that digital engagement isn’t a component that healthcare agencies can afford to ignore. Mobile scheduling helps agencies fill staffing gaps off the clock, without manager interference. A scheduling app that integrates with HCM and WFM systems to ensure all departments are staffed with employees carrying the correct credentials can help managers conserve time finding the right employees to work in different areas of the hospital or doctor’s office. Employees can communicate scheduling conflicts with one another and with managers in-app, while they’re out living their lives. Interbranch communication takes place quickly and efficiently –– creating opportunities for collaboration through technology. There are fewer miscommunications, and staff stays streamlined and focused.
Using Flexible Scheduling as a Recruitment Tool
So, how can healthcare organizations use flexible scheduling to recruit talent? The Harvard Business Review suggests that organizations provide clear guidelines on the types of scheduling flexibility they offer in their online job description. Whether they offer remote work, reduced hours, asynchronous schedules, job sharing and/or compressed work weeks… communication is key. Creating a centralized approval process (such as mobile scheduling) ensures that the system remains impartial and everyone has the same chance to obtain desirable shifts.
Through continuous online engagement, healthcare leaders & managers can connect and collaborate with physicians, nurses, and front desk staff. Healthcare workers can connect to ask questions and have them answered from anywhere. Miscommunication is eradicated, and staff remains focused on their common goal of providing patients with the best healthcare experience possible.
About the author:
Steven Kramer, Chief Executive Officer
Steven is a technology entrepreneur with over 20 years of executive leadership experience in founding and scaling companies developing disruptive, enterprise-class technologies. In 1999, Steven co-founded iCongo, a leading global software provider for omni-channel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent provider of e-commerce solutions with 27 offices worldwide, 1000+ employees and more than 600 customers. Steven was part of the Executive Management team and Board Member at hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013. While working with companies on their omni-channel strategies, Steven identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and how companies actually hire, schedule and manage their frontline employees. With this in mind, Steven co-founded WorkJam.
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