Lyn McIntyre, Director of ICS Engagement at RLDatix writes:
Back to Basics is a great concept when starting to think about the management of your rosters. If we think back probably around 15-16 years ago, rosters and off-duty were all done on paper, a monthly roster that then was condensed to weekly and daily roster. However, as we all know, this process was time-consuming, messy and it was very hard to track who was in charge, track requests and changes to roster as well as other rostering KPIs.
eRostering helps employees have visibility of their roster’s weeks in advance, allows them to check their rosters on their phones, manage requests more efficiently, and produce reports that can be used for establishment reviews, reports up to board, training and efficient use of resources. However, a bad roster in an eRostering system is still a bad roster.
I’ve put together my four steps to help you go ‘Back to Basics’ when thinking about the management of your rosters.
Issuing a roster timetable enables all employees to see when they need to submit their requests and when it’s approved. Ensuring the timetable is published and visible to all helps promote fairness, and it sets out what is expected of everyone to help support rosters being approved on time.
2. Approval of rosters at least six weeks ahead of working them
For me, this is an important top tip! The NHS England rostering guidance, developed from the recommendations of the Carter reviews states that rosters should be approved and published a minimum of 6 weeks in advance. This gives staff plenty of time to plan their personal lives around their off duty. If rosters are approved less than 4-6 weeks in advance, evidence suggests that there is a 50% chance you will need to submit shifts to agency due to the unavailability of bank staff.
3. Set up correctly
Like I’ve said previously, a roster in an eRostering system is only a good roster if it’s a good roster without the system. Ensuring you have a regular review of what is entered in the system, what shift patterns your colleagues set up to work etc. Where possible complete a cleanse of the system regularly – check the rules in place, as the system can only do what you tell it to do! If you’ve inherited the system, check the rules and shift patterns; this will help ensure auto rostering is a much smoother process.
4. Correct use of your system
This seems obvious, but several people who are promoted into the role don’t know how to use the system apart from requesting shifts. Plus, software updates take place regularly and processes change. Always let your rostering team know if you need an update or support. Refresher courses and training are always available; get in touch with your Allocate Account Manager or Customer Success representative.