This article is sponsored by EasyShifts. In this Voices Interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Michael Christensen, CEO, EasyShifts, to discuss how in an ever-changing staffing services environment, EasyShifts distinguishes itself as a technology solution that focuses on improving the experience of existing staff — not adding temp labor. He explains the organization’s focus on providing the tool rather than selling nurses to facilities, and he breaks down the key benefits of working with a senior-living-focused staffing partner.
What led you to start EasyShifts?
My co-founder, who was a nurse, had the initial idea for EasyShifts. He was working at multiple community hospitals in rural Wisconsin, often located an hour apart. It was frustrating for him to drive to each hospital and check the work schedule, pick up shifts, or trade shifts by making phone calls. His vision was to create a solution that would allow easy access to the schedule from anywhere. The concept started around 2006, and I joined as a co-founder in 2010, taking charge of the technology side. Together, we built EasyShifts into a legitimate product, although we considered ourselves fancy for being early in the game.
Our first hospital adopters were actively seeking a self-scheduling system, and we provided it. In turn, EasyShifts’ beginnings were in the critical access hospital space, and we didn’t start in Silicon Valley with external investors. It was a bootstrapped operation led by my co-founder, a nurse who understood the industry, and myself driving the technology. We focused on providing the tool rather than selling nurses to facilities. Our customers loved us then and still do today. Some of our early users who moved to other health care systems insisted on bringing EasyShifts with them.
What are some of the advantages of a healthcare-specific staff scheduling platform?
Our system was designed with the caregiver perspective in mind, addressing their needs and preferences. The issue of burnout and high turnover rates among nurses, which have persisted for several decades, became more apparent during the pandemic. To attract and retain nurses, it is crucial to treat them with respect, offer flexibility, and provide a positive work environment.
Healthcare-specific staff scheduling enables the creation of a culture of responsibility and accountability by allowing managers to set up empty shifts and templates that can be filled in by the team. Premiums can be added to challenging shifts, and coworkers can trade or split shifts. The software provides the necessary structure and rules, allowing staff to work within the facility’s parameters.
Contrary to popular belief, money is not the primary reason why nurses leave full-time jobs at nursing homes to work through apps. They prioritize healthy staffing ratios, flexibility, work-life balance, and control over their schedules. By listening to their needs and creating a respectful and flexible work environment, facilities can retain more staff and address the staffing shortage effectively.
What sets EasyShifts apart in the senior living marketplace?
What sets us apart is that we provide a genuine solution to the underlying problem, rather than offering temporary fixes. We focus on creating environments where people want to work and improving the overall well-being of caregivers, rather than treating them as commodities. EasyShifts is the cure, not just a band-aid solution.
Our system is not commonly used for dining and maintenance staff schedules in senior living, as their needs may not require it as much. However, caregivers, nurses, and CNAs in senior living greatly benefit from the platform. Unlike skilled nursing, where missing a few staff members can still allow for functioning, senior living facilities face serious issues when there is a lack of a charge nurse.
EasyShifts addresses this challenge by offering flexibility in setting up departments and shifts, allowing staff to be shared between facilities. It facilitates easy sharing of staff between facilities and departments, with customizable access and control permissions. The platform integrates seamlessly with key Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems used in senior living and will soon be available in the payroll marketplace as well.
What are the keys to a flexible senior living workforce?
Flexible scheduling, whether self-scheduling or open scheduling, relies on more than just software. It requires a coordinated team effort and a supportive culture. Staff scheduling platforms streamline scheduling and enhance operations.
Successful scheduling involves team meetings, aligning understanding, and fostering a culture of respect and responsibility. Having a dedicated platform provides the necessary tools to customize permissions and meet specific needs. It simplifies scheduling for administrators and employees, eliminating complexity, and once it’s set up, it seamlessly integrates into their routines.
While software is crucial, success stems from the combined efforts of the team, culture, and communication. Our system acts as the lubricant, supporting and enhancing these efforts for a well-functioning scheduling process.
How does a staff scheduling platform integrate with other operations processes like payroll?
Payroll software often falls short in meeting the scheduling needs of nursing departments compared to dedicated scheduling software. Caregivers prefer these platforms as they cater specifically to their scheduling requirements. Payroll and communication teams can still access their respective systems without navigating the scheduling platform, on top of the additional benefits to nursing staff.
It is vital for senior living facility owners and CEOs to recognize that their core business revolves around providing quality care and cultivating a positive culture for caregivers. This emphasis on caregiver well-being motivates residents and their families to choose their facility, ultimately fostering revenue growth and strong relationships.
Investing in reliable scheduling software is crucial for nurturing a supportive culture within the facility. It allows caregivers to focus on delivering excellent care rather than getting tangled in scheduling complexities.
How can a staff scheduling platform generate ROI for owners and operators?
Implementing a staff scheduling platform in senior living facilities offers several financial benefits. Firstly, it reduces overtime costs by effectively managing schedules and minimizing the need for excessive overtime hours. Secondly, it decreases agency spend by reducing reliance on temp labor which typically come at a higher cost.
Additionally, it helps reduce turnover costs by creating a positive work environment that promotes staff retention. This lowers expenses associated with hiring, onboarding, and training new employees. The software also enhances productivity by freeing up caregivers’ time from administrative scheduling tasks so they can focus on providing quality care.
Lastly, it saves time for both administrators and caregivers by automating scheduling tasks and simplifying shift management. This time-saving aspect improves operational efficiency and enables staff to allocate their efforts to more critical responsibilities. By addressing these financial aspects, senior living facilities can optimize their operations, enhance staff satisfaction, and improve resident care.
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Editor’s Note: This article has been edited for length and clarity.
The 24/7 365 online staff scheduling system from EasyShifts allows managers to quickly create schedules for their employees based on their availability, skillset, location, and more in just minutes. The software also provides helpful features like shift swapping tools to ensure everyone gets the hours they need each week without overlapping shifts or double-booking a single employee’s day off. To learn more, visit easyshifts.com.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].