Written evidence submitted by BookJane (RTR0036)
BookJane is Canada’s leading workforce scheduling platform, founded in 2016. BookJane has helped over 700 long term care and senior living facilities in North America simplify how they fill and manage open shifts by automatically connecting internal and external resources to open shifts. The platform uses automated callouts and empowers staff to accept those shifts through a self-service app, driving staff engagement, improving retention and increasing shift fulfilment.
Finding staff to fill the surging demand is a foundational problem
BookJane was created as a solution to the outdated and manual methods of filling vacancies in hospitals, long-term care, and senior living used in Canada which usually consists of sequentially calling, emailing, and texting staff. These methods, which are also widespread in the UK, are labour-intensive and ineffective, often taking anywhere from 3-5 hours to fill a single shift. While most available and underutilised staff are unaware of additional shift opportunities, 50% - 70% of open shifts go unfilled through this process, leaving facilities to send them into overtime, resort to healthcare agency partners and increasing risk of sub-optimal staff to patient/resident ratios.
When we look at the primary issues that influence shift vacancies in long-term care, last-minute schedule changes play a major role. In long-term care, 44% of staff reports being understaffed on a regular basis, leaving health and care professionals stretched thin trying to meet the rising care demands and administrative duties. While healthcare agency partners and overtime can temporarily fill the needed skill coverage, inconsistencies in the level of care can greatly impact patient or resident life, as well as staff morale as providing quality care becomes unattainable.
Addressing the drivers behind turnover to improve recruitment and retention
Connecting and utilising part-time, full-time and agency staff through a digital platform not only works to recruit the necessary extra workforce and deliver better patient outcomes, but it is also proven to improve overall staff retention by 25-35%. Burnout, job dissatisfaction, reduced income, limited control of hours and turnover among nurses and care home workers are the main factors contributing to the mass exodus across the sector. Empowering staff to select their own hours and flexibility means less employee fatigue, a 70% reduction in overtime hours and a 40-50% greater shift fulfilment rate, all without agency support.
Responding to the needs and demands of the future workforce
It is vital to also point to future carers and the next generation of recruits, who are used to managing their life through technology and mobile apps. The current model needs significant adaptation to appeal to incoming and future staff needs. A Gen Z workforce expect and require the majority of processes to be fulfilled via their mobile phone and as 50% of the incoming care workforce are Gen Z and students, organisations will need to switch to a digital or app format to communicate with and mobilise their staff. Ease, control, and transparency are all tools to create the internal change to encourage up to 35% of young people to stay in their jobs for longer.
Outdated scheduling and recruitment models continue to be inadequate
The deployment and recruitment models used in the UK health and social care sectors are currently not fit for the purpose of attracting and retaining the necessary numbers of staff with the right skills. Just as witnessed in Canada, where 90% of healthcare facilities are having trouble filling shifts, conditions and processes in the UK in the sector are unappealing to incoming and existing staff that feel overworked and unempowered to improve working patterns or staff to patient ratios, as the growing rates of residents require greater levels of support.
Case study - Automation is the key to better staff retention and utilisation, and to driving better patient and resident care
Amica Senior Lifestyles, one of the largest care residency organisations across British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, partnered with BookJane in 2019 to better utilise their internal staff across 31 of their facilities. Amica struggled with filling shifts and recruiting new staff as the widespread labour shortage in Canada worsened. Their open shift coverage was in the 40-50% range despite having a team of coordinators spending 2-3 hours a day scheduling and filling vacant shifts and they were also faced with surging labour costs as they tried to outsource to third-party agencies or resort to paying staff overtime. Part-time and casual staff, which made up 60% of their workforce, experienced turnover upwards of 100% annually which placed further pressure on recruitment costs.
By shifting their scheduling model to an automated and algorithm-based digital platform, Amica were able increase their shift fulfilment rate to over 90% while offering their staff the transparency and flexibility to pick up more shifts, leading to an increase of 25% of average hours worked. Agency usage was reduced by 20% and high turnover rates were also resolved once staff members were allowed to control their own schedules and pick up shifts without compromising or re-arranging their personal commitments. Overall, Amica increased their FTE staff ratio from 0.33 to 0.57% by using this new technology to improve engagement, shift working processes and increase retention.