Past Projects

Review a few of our past projects and see how Workforce Edge helped make a difference:

Out Of Control Overtime and Agency Costs

A hospital contacted Workforce Edge due to an inability to contain overtime and agency spending.  The CFO had no visibility into the cause of this spending as they did not have any centralized scheduling, scheduling system, or position controls in the organization.

Intervention

Workforce Edge was engaged to design a solution that would provide consistent, transparent scheduling of employees at straight time and drive toward the government mandate of increasing the full time workforce.  An expedited design process delivered standardized business processes for managing scheduling transactions such as vacation planning, shift swaps, sick calls and relief booking.  System requirements and evaluation tools were developed to assess the various staff scheduling software systems available in the market against the organization’s needs.

Due to the expedited timeline, a temporary Excel based scheduling system was provided by Workforce Edge in order to facilitate implementation of the new staff scheduling structure and business processes to begin to stem the financial overruns.  Following system selection, the hospital was able to automate the business processes on the new standardized system.

Immediately following go-live of the new centralized scheduling office, Workforce Edge began to develop and deliver new master rotations for all clinical areas.

Pay Errors Resulting from an Inability to Schedule Staff

A major healthcare employer was experiencing a high volume of pay errors including many employees not being paid, and significant escalations in the number of employees required to complete scheduling and timekeeping functions, following a troubled project that implemented an integrated scheduling and timekeeping system interfaced to a SAP payroll.  The pay issues resulting from this project received a high degree of media attention and resulted in the state government engaging several external reviews to develop recommendations for addressing the continuing payroll problems.  Meanwhile, activities undertaken to speed up time entry before payroll processing, including the removal of system access from managers and the reassignment of schedulers to time entry roles, had resulted in clinical unit and department managers having no visibility to employee schedules and no way of knowing who was scheduled to show up to work on any given shift.

Intervention

Workforce Edge was engaged following an external review which found a need for additional support for the organization to address their payroll problems, to assist with scoping and planning the work required to address the recommendations of the report.  Following completion of program planning activities, Workforce Edge partnered with client staff to lead and deliver the process, requirements, and transition stream of work.  This included conducting a state-wide roadshow to identify issues, gain buy-in from local staff, and ensure the program understood the implications of current processes on the clinical and non-clinical operations.  Standardized business processes were developed for a full scope of activities including scheduling, time review, and pay processing, and business requirements were completed along with a “fit-gap” assessment against the existing system and configuration.  Transition plans were also developed to support the organization in implementing the required changes.

Benefits Not Achieved through Scheduling Systems Alone

At the end of a project to roll out a system across a large health authority, the organization realized that the expectations had not been adequately met.  Significant variation in processes and customer satisfaction existed between the geographical areas, and scheduling and timekeeping processes remained time-intensive with limited visibility to employees.

Intervention

Workforce Edge completed a discovery report which identified some key areas for improvement, and an opportunity assessment to calculate the financial ROI and support the business case for process standardization and centralization of staffing activities.  New standardized scheduling business processes were established including vacation planning, shift swaps, unplanned leaves, relief booking, and time approval, and following completion of these business processes, some configuration changes for the scheduling system were recommended and completed.  A centralized scheduling service was then established and trained on the new business processes including system configuration changes, and this consistency allowed the organization to make the most of its previous investment in the scheduling system.

Several months following go-live of the centralized scheduling office, Workforce Edge also provided an assessment of the staffing office performance including establishing an issue tracking system and reviewing the outstanding system configuration changes required.

An Effective Scheduling System Implementation

A health authority had a variety of different scheduling systems in use including some scheduling systems that were interfaced to payroll and some that required manual time entry by payroll clerks.  They intended to standardize to one system which would be required to deliver accurate time to payroll.

Intervention

Workforce Edge was engaged initially to support the design and requirements phase of work prior to selection of a scheduling system.  A design team was engaged and facilitated in the development of standardized business processes, and scheduling system requirements were documented for the organization’s RFP process.

Following selection of a system, Workforce Edge was again engaged to support the system implementation including revisions to business processes based on system functionality and constraints, development of system configuration requirements, and development of requirements for interfacing to payroll and HR systems.  In addition, we provided change management support including training of managers, schedulers and employees on the required business processes and system functionality, and supporting the client team during and for a short time after the go-live of the new system.

 Aligning Staffing to Operational Volumes

A new system-wide initiative to provide medical advice to residents was being launched, however the approach for staffing this initiative was not yet established.

Intervention

Workforce Edge was engaged to design the staff scheduling approach for this area.  An automated analytical model was developed to translate the call volumes into rotation baseline needs, and master rotations were developed according to baseline needs and Collective Agreement requirements to ensure appropriate coverage and optimal call response times for callers.  Unions and managers were engaged to design and conduct a streamlined process for expediting position assignment.

A design team of managers and staff was convened to create the processes and operational structure for a new staffing office to ensure ongoing management of staff schedules, and the analytical model was integrated into staffing office operations to enable responsiveness to changes in call volumes.  Additionally, leadership training was provided to managers to help support them in their roles in the staff scheduling processes and help them sustain the new model.

Creating Rotations that Balance Operational and Staff Needs

A large health service had managers creating new rotations for their staff each 4-week period.  Employees would request or refuse to work specific shifts, and operational needs were being inconsistently met as managers tried valiantly to meet employee requests and staff their units.  The state government had sponsored a special commission of inquiry which linked patient safety incidents to staff deployment and skill mix, and subsequently another consulting firm had been engaged jointly by the health service and the nurses’ union to review the current “request rostering” approach, finding that the current approach was insufficient in meeting patient and operational needs.

Intervention

The goal of this engagement was to implement rotations that met operational baselines while as much as possible still taking employee preferences into account, and to prepare a centralized staffing office to take on these units as clients using standardized business processes.  The health service appointed roster builders and Workforce Edge trained these people to build rotations under this “balanced rostering” approach.  Clinical directors and managers were supported in the significant change management activities as the new rotations were implemented, and the centralized schedulers were trained and supported to follow the standard business processes ensuring the integrity of the rotations was maintained.

Maximizing Efficiency of a Scheduling Service

A regional staffing office was responsible for scheduling staff across a large rural area and was encountering challenges including financial cutbacks and a severe shortage in the health care workforce in their area. Building a model of excellence in rural health care against this backdrop requires that every manager in every community work smarter to do more with less, and requires the availability of the most flexible, yet stable workforce possible.  The staffing office requested a review of their operations in order to identify process improvements specific to their unique circumstances.

Intervention

A staffing office review was conducted including a series of one-on-one interview and observation or work processes.  Results were presented in a feedback workshop involving schedulers and some of their clients, in order to build common understanding and support for the recommendations to be implemented.  Periodic coaching calls were established for a short period after completion of the review, to ensure recommendations were being implemented effectively and respond to unanticipated changes.

Public Policy Analysis

An organization reporting into a provincial Ministry of Health, created at the interface between health employers and unions, contracted with Workforce Edge to analyze the ability of certain healthcare organizations’ to meet provisions and agreements relating to health scheduling and staff replacement.    Although all of the included healthcare organizations were subject to the same Collective Agreements, the strategies and approaches used for staff scheduling varied within and between organizations, leading to inconsistent data and an inability to determine whether the agreements were being met.

Intervention

Workforce Edge completed an assessment of scheduling capabilities and approaches within each organization through a variety of interviews, focus groups, observation, and workshops.  This work is presently being completed and is intended to result in recommendations to improve the data and compliance reporting.