Customer story: Portland Vets

How RotaCloud solved Portland Vets’ rota planning headaches and improved staff punctuality








January 2020

Key features used

Rota planning

Portland Vets is a trio of veterinary practices in East Grinstead, Edenbridge, and Horley, offering tailored, individual care to their animal patients and expert advice for owners.

We spoke with Natasha Killick, Head Nurse at Portland Vets’ East Grinstead practice, about why she chose RotaCloud as her staff scheduling solution and how using it has slashed her staffing-related admin.

The challenge

With a team of vets, nurses and assistants to organise, Natasha had her hands full when it came to staff scheduling…

“We were spending too much time on paperwork,” Natasha told us over a video call. “I would make the rota on Excel, then give out paper copies, then I’d try to put pictures of the rotas on the vet WhatsApp group so everyone could see them.”

Things got even more complicated if she had to make a change.

“If [the rota] got updated, then I’d have to send another one out,” Natasha explained. “But some people would still have an old copy of the rota and not the updated version, and they’d come in on the wrong shift.”

Even when team members did get the message about the schedule change, it was hard for them to know where to look.

“It was a nightmare trying to update everyone with the new version all the time,” Natasha said. “If staff were flicking through the WhatsApp group, they didn’t know which rota was the current one.”

“And when you’re not working, you don’t want your WhatsApp group to keep pinging all the time!” she added.

In need of a simpler way to manage rotas and keep her team up to date regarding changes, Natasha signed Portland Vets up for a free trial of RotaCloud — which was recommended to her by the partner of one of her colleagues.

More than three years later, RotaCloud remains an important part of the practice’s administrative toolset…

With RotaCloud it literally is the click of a button. Everyone can see the change; I don’t need to bug the WhatsApp group; there’s not thousands of bits of paper floating around.
Natasha Killick
Head Nurse

The solution

With RotaCloud, Natasha can now not only create, share, and manage rotas for the team at East Grinstead, but also have oversight of the group’s other sites.

“If we need to change staff around — if someone’s double-booked or on holiday, for example — we try to share our staff,” she said.

“I like the way that you can add roles and locations, and colour coordinate them,” she said of RotaCloud’s rota planner. “I can label them things like ‘clean ups’ or ‘theatre’, which makes it a lot easier to scan.”

“The [live chat] support system that you have in place is great, too,” she added. “I can guarantee that if I have a question it’s answered pretty much instantly.”

Communicating shift changes to staff is now also much simpler for Natasha and the team.

“It’s easy to update the rota when there’s a shift change. Everyone gets a notification on their phone, and if there are any problems they can message me, rather than me constantly messaging them,” she explained.

Natasha has also become a fan of RotaCloud’s Open Shifts feature, which allows eligible members of staff to pick up additional shifts.

“If, say, we’ve got two people on holiday and our other branch is short, we’ll put the shift up that needs to be filled and it’ll go out to all the staff at both East Grinstead and Edenbridge, and they can just take it as they please,” she said.

Finally, we asked Natasha whether she felt that RotaCloud offered good value for money compared to using Excel or paper to plan and manage staff rotas.

“[Excel] is double the work,” she responded. “If I issue a rota to everyone, give a paper copy to everyone then put it on the WhatsApp group, and someone messages me to say, ‘I don’t know if you remembered but I needed to work this shift that day…’ then have to redo it again, try and get rid of all the paper copies, and then re-put it on the WhatsApp group….

“But with RotaCloud it literally is the click of a button. Everyone can see it, everyone can see the change; I don’t need to bug the WhatsApp group; there’s not thousands of bits of paper floating around…“

That sounds like two paws up to us!

Online rota software

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