With care homes all over the UK continuing to report staff shortages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s never been more important for care operators to offer their staff a positive employee experience (EX).
Salary and perks still matter, but in addition to receiving competitive pay and being part of a close-knit team, today’s care workers are increasingly seeking clarity and control over their working lives. They want to feel cared for by their employer and that they’re more than just a cog in the machine.
Here’s how staff scheduling software can help care home operators provide their staff with a positive employee experience.
What is "employee experience"?
Why EX matters in the care sector
Five ways staff scheduling software can boost employee experience
What is “employee experience”?
The term “employee experience” (EX) has seen a dramatic increase in usage over the last few years especially. But it’s far from just a buzzword.
Referring to the sum of all the interactions an employee has during their time with a business or organisation, employee experience begins as early as the initial interview or job application stage and continues right up until the employee leaves the business.
The various touch-points an employee has with your business and its managers — the way they're onboarded or trained; the responsibilities and feedback they're given; how they book time off or raise issues at work — all contribute to their overall "employee experience".
In short, EX influences everything from how your staff approach their day-to-day work, to how punctual they are for their shifts, to the things they say to others about you and your care business.
Why EX matters in the care sector
It’s common knowledge by now that happier staff are also more productive. But offering a great employee experience isn't just about making your care staff smile — it's about making each aspect of their working lives as smooth and easy as possible, and having their backs when they need you.
By providing a positive employee experience, however, your care business will also benefit in a number of ways, including:
After more than two years on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not surprising that care staff should be gravitating towards employers who have a reputation for taking care of their staff and who can help them achieve a true work-life balance — in a word, providing a great EX.
Lower staff turnover
Staff who enjoy a positive employee experience will also be much less likely to hand in their notice or consider offers from other employers — even if they're offering higher pay.
Salary still matters, of course, but data shows that workers are increasingly prioritising work-life balance over base income when seeking employment, and are sticking with employers who value them and the work they do. Recently, we asked our LinkedIn followers to confirm their biggest motivating factor when deciding on a new job, and 50% of the vote went to 'company culture' (surpassing the other choices of 'flexibility', 'pay' and 'location').
Better quality care for service users
It might sound like a cliché, but happiness spreads. Care staff who feel valued and respected by their employers will naturally pass that same positivity on to your residents or service users, resulting in a higher standard of care.
Five ways staff scheduling software can boost employee experience
Staff scheduling software alone won’t turn a negative employee experience into a positive one. But it can — in addition to reducing your care home managers’ administrative workload — make a tangible difference to your care staff’s working lives.
Here are five ways that staff scheduling software like RotaCloud can have a positive effect on the employee experience at your care business.
1. Staff can organise their private lives better
One of the most frequently heard complaints from staff who work to a rota is that they have very little notice of their upcoming shifts, often having to wait until the night before to receive an email or WhatsApp message with their work schedule attached.
This makes it incredibly difficult for staff to make plans for their personal time — time that they might need for things like studying, taking care of their children, or even just socialising with friends and family, which is vital for good mental health.
People management software makes planning staff rotas quick and easy, allowing care home managers to do things like copy and paste shifts, create rota templates for teams or individual locations, and distribute finished rotas with a single click — meaning that their staff also get notice of their shifts much earlier.
Since their rotas are stored online rather than downloaded to a particular device, staff also benefit from being able to check their rota anytime they like via their laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
2. Your team are always in the loop
Imagine showing up to work only to find that you're two hours early for your shift, or that it's been cancelled without your knowledge.
Shift changes happen. But whenever changes to the schedule have to be made, managers who rely on spreadsheet- or paper-based rotas must communicate those updates manually — usually by phone, email, or WhatsApp.
This can be frustrating for care staff since shift updates communicated this way are easy to miss. Last-minute updates can also be quite disruptive since staff may have already made plans based on their previous rota and then have to change them.
RotaCloud can help solve this problem by automatically alerting your care staff via text, email, or push notification the moment there’s a change to the schedule. There’s also no risk of employees referring to an old version of their rota since any updates you make to the schedule will appear immediately for everyone — you get your care staff in work at the right time; they get the notice they need to properly arrange their personal schedules.
Keep your team in the loop — automatically
RotaCloud's automatic text, email, & push notifications let your team know the moment their rota's ready or when there's a change to the schedule — no phone calls, emails, or WhatsApp required.
3. Staff have a sense of ownership over their shifts
It’s common for shift-based workers to feel that they have very little control over their working lives, often having to change or completely scrap their plans in order to accommodate the shifts they've been given. Factoring in working the graveyard shift or being on-call, and the feeling is greatly exacerbated.
Over time, this can have a negative impact on staff wellbeing, since it becomes difficult for them to make plans more than a couple of weeks ahead, or even organise things like childcare with any degree of confidence.
By contrast, care workers whose managers make use of staff scheduling software, enjoy a greater degree of ownership over their work due because they’re able to organise shift swaps and find their own cover when the need arises.
In the event that personal commitment would make it difficult for them to work a particular shift, for example, care staff can use the RotaCloud mobile app to invite a colleague to provide cover. If their colleague agrees, the proposal is sent to the manager for review, who can approve or deny the request with a single click, with the rota updated automatically.
By providing your care staff with this level of autonomy, not only does it convey to them that you trust them to take ownership of their shifts, it gives them a greater sense of control over their working lives, helping to reduce stress and improve their overall wellbeing.
4. It's easier to build rotas that work for everyone
One of the biggest challenges of managing a team of care workers is building a rota that works both for the business and your staff.
Scheduling software like RotaCloud makes the task of planning rotas around staff availability much easier by allowing your care staff to communicate when they are, and aren’t, able to work in advance.
With availability information visible on-screen as they plan, managers can then far more easily build rotas that fit with their team’s commitments outside of work — reducing the need for changes to the rota after it’s been shared.
It won’t always be possible to grant every request or preferences for a particular shift — and most care staff will appreciate that a degree of flexibility will always be required on their part. But by being invited to tell you when they are and aren’t free to work, and for you to more easily accommodate them, your staff will feel less dictated to and more valued as an employee as a result.
Plan staff rotas with confidence
RotaCloud lets your care staff mark their availability in seconds, and for you to see it on the rota as you plan their shifts, helping you build rotas with confidence.
5. Staff are happier and well-rested
With late nights, early mornings, sleep-in shifts, and on-call rotas a daily occurrence, it’s fair to say that care work never truly stops.
While this is all part and parcel for the industry, it’s easy for staff whose shift patterns constantly change or who regularly work late to become ill over time, resulting in calling in sick or even quitting their jobs entirely.
The best staff scheduling software allows staff to keep track of their used, booked, and remaining annual leave without having to bother their manager. This helps them to prioritise their mental and physical health by serving as a reminder to make use of their full holiday entitlement, and to provide their employers advance notice by booking their leave early.
RotaCloud also makes recording annual leave simple for managers because holiday requests are sent directly via the RotaCloud employee app. Care home managers are then able to compare leave requests against the rota to minimise disruption to service users, and can approve or deny requests with a single click.
After years on the front line in the fight against Covid, care workers are increasingly choosing employers who can provide them with the best possible employee experience — one that makes them feel valued and respected, and helps them strike a healthy work-life balance.
Staff scheduling software like RotaCloud can have a hugely positive impact on EX, as it makes it easier for care providers to plan and share rotas well in advance of when they're needed, and gives staff total visibility of their schedule.
By giving them ownership of their shifts and allowing them to arrange their own cover, care staff also feel much more in control of their work and life, which reduces feelings of stress and promotes greater wellbeing.