How to Fill Last-Minute Caregiver Shifts
The senior care industry is facing an unprecedented staffing shortage. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, nursing facilities in every state reported nursing staff shortages, and in some cases, like Wyoming, those shortages were as great as 49%. Washington reported a shortage of 51%.
When teams are short-staffed, callouts can place a burden on other employees. The increased workload can lead to potential caregiving mistakes and staff burnout, which contributes to higher turnover. Being able to quickly fill last-minute open shifts can help you provide better care for residents and improve staff morale.
How to Fill Last-Minute Shifts
While senior care organizations evaluate and implement innovative solutions, there are steps you can take now to better prepare for staffing challenges.
Make Sure Your Employee Data Is Clean
When a shift becomes available, you will need to communicate with the right employees quickly and easily, but that is only possible when you are working with clean data. To start, collect employee availability and shift preferences, and then update this information regularly. It is best to integrate your communications system with your payroll technology so that your employee data is automatically updated, keeping data accurate and current.
Once you have collected shift preferences from your staff, make sure your scheduler is familiar with the information, and that they adhere to it. Focus on creating schedules as far in advance as possible, so you have time to adjust if needed.
If you do need to update the schedule, speak with staff first, especially if you need them to cover shifts that are outside of their typical availability. Taking the time to have a conversation about changes can help avoid conflicts and increase morale.
Improve Transparency Around Open Shifts
Focus on ways you can improve transparency around available shifts, whether these are last-minute callouts or openings you are aware of, like vacations. Share information about open shifts using communication technology that supports both text and email, as well as bi-directional functionality so staff can quickly and easily respond to requests to fill open shifts
Identify Staff Who Are More Likely to Take on Last-Minute Shifts
Some staff members have more flexible schedules than others and are keen to pick up additional shifts. These staff members will be your go-to employees. Create a subgroup of your go-to employees in your communication platform and communicate with them first when you have pressing staffing needs.
Incentivize Your Staff
Your staff may be willing to take on last-minute shifts for additional compensation, but do not rely on this alone. When you frequently need last-minute coverage for shifts, you will need to find additional ways to incentivize staff.
If staff take on a shift with less than 24 to 48 hours’ notice, consider a time-and-a-half (or more) incentive. There are other incentives to think about as well including perks, like an additional day off the following week, or a coveted weekend day off. Staff might also appreciate being guaranteed a major holiday off, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
If you offer perks, be sure to carefully track them and follow through, so your staff receive the rewards they were promised.
VoiceFriend can help you easily and quickly communicate with employees about your staffing needs. To start, integrate VoiceFriend with your payroll system. This integration can help ensure that your staff data is always current. VoiceFriend will automatically update your data with any staff turnover.
With VoiceFriend you can create staff sub-groups, like full-time, part-time, per diem, and agency employees. You can also break up staff by job role and build a subgroups of staff members who have expressed interest in filling last minute open shifts. By organizing subgroups, you can immediately reach staff who are most likely to fill your open shifts.
With prompt, effective communication, you will be able to fill shifts faster ensuring that you have the coverage you need to provide residents with quality care while also increasing staff morale and reducing costly overtime.
Visit our website to learn more about VoiceFriend and how we can help your organization improve the wellbeing of residents, maximize peace of mind for caregivers, and optimize relationships with family members, and supporting staff.