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Stop Letting Poor Scheduling Bleed Hospital Payrolls

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 10, 2011

3 Steps to Better Labor Scheduling
Williams offers a three-step approach to building an effective scheduling platform that relies on transparency  and flexibility:

  1. "A very simple step is to go from mandatory to voluntary overtime," she says. "That is important because some people want overtime and others can't show up because they are tag-teaming or they are single mothers."
  2. "Use one of two methods to handle the situation, if after shifting to voluntary overtime, you still need people to work," she says. "Some employers give employees coupons or vouchers that allow you to bid for more overtime or to bid off overtime. The second system is to divide your workforce into four groups, one of which will be on call in week one of every month, the second group for week two, etc. That way people can find back-up if they are called in to overtime at short notice."
  3. "The third overriding principle is to work hard to design a system where people get notice of overtime to the maximum extent possible," she says.

Fortunately, Williams says, the advent of cloud-based computing is making online scheduling affordable and available to most every provider, often for as little as $1.25 per employee per month. That is actually cost effective, she says, because it eliminates the cost of the scores of hours that supervisors spend each month devising schedules.

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