One of the changes we see consistently in healthcare organizations is the increasing centralization of the rotation building function. Historically speaking, creation of the schedule was a manager’s responsibility with schedules from one unit being independent from another. As a result, there can be a high level of variability in the appearance of the schedules across any given facility, program or cluster of similar units.
Generally, this is due to employee and manager preferences or opinions that drive what seemingly makes a “good schedule”. Typically, there is also a large degree of variance in how the rules of the applicable Collective Agreement are interpreted and understood across the organization. Given the increasing complexity of such agreements it makes it harder to build compliant rotations as well.
So in many areas, what we come across are rotations reflecting a series of formal or informal “local agreements” in which employee schedules are customized. When taking all of these factors together it makes hitting that magic “baseline staffing number” evermore difficult, which results in a rotation where some shifts are over-covered and other shifts are under-covered.
What we also have experienced, is that the degree of focus and concentration required to build an optimal schedule is not well-suited to a typical clinical environment. This leads to managers frequently working on schedules at home, on their own time.
As the staff scheduling environment matures in an organization, things start to change. The establishment of a scheduling office typically begins with transactional functions such as relief calling, then gradually evolves to higher-order strategic supports for managers, including the building of rotations.
Here at Workforce Edge, we believe that rotation building is a specialized skill and that it requires training and regular practice to maintain one’s ability to build high-quality schedules. As such, we are supporters of the idea of a centralized strategic function – that includes dedicated support for rotation building.
Over the past seven years, Workforce Edge has helped a number of clients to establish their rotation build function within the organization. There are a number of challenges in doing so, and none more difficult than gaining agreement from experienced stakeholders on the rules and guidelines that will be applied consistently across the organization.
Maintaining the political will to continue to support and adhere to those guidelines when challenged by “that’s the way it’s always been” can be a daunting task. An organization-wide change management and consultation effort is critical and the importance of these activities cannot be understated if you wish to provide the momentum for applying a consistent standard to rotations.
As managers hand over responsibility for schedule creation to centralized positions such as rotation analysts or rotation consultants, the skill level of these rotation builders is paramount to having strong rotations that support operational needs and employee retention and satisfaction.
To that end, Workforce Edge will be offering rotation build education sessions in Fall 2016. Whether you are a specialized rotation builder or a manager still creating schedules off the side of your desk, this training will help you cut the time and increase the quality of your rotations.
Contact us to be added to our mailing list to receive notice of upcoming rotation courses.