On Wednesday 2 September 2020, Allocate hosted a webinar with speakers John Webster, 247Time Product Manager, and Katie Milligan, Customer Success Analyst. The aim of the webinar was to share our learnings about agency booking processes to help identify positive behaviours, in addition to pinpointing undesired behaviours where there may be an opportunity for improvement.

Understanding agency behaviours

Over the last 18-24 months, we have been using data from our 247Time solution to unearth distinctive behaviours which may cause operational issues or a detrimental experience for the locum/agency worker. When trends are identified, the Allocate team work closely with customers to ensure efficient working processes are established so that positive outcomes are delivered for the organisation, agency and the agency worker themselves.

Some of the notable behaviours identified, include:

  • Speed of vacancy fill – how quickly are the agencies working to fill the vacancies released by the organisation? Is the agency putting multiple candidates forward and in a timely manner, or are candidates sent through last minute, calling for a quick operational turnaround by the organisation.
  • Ghost bookings – are agencies booking the vacancy without a confirmed agency worker in place? This will create challenges when an agency is subsequentially unable to find a suitable candidate. It may also lead to more issues such as last minute cancellations and unfilled vacancies.
  • Waiting for better rates – is an agency holding back from booking under a Tier 1 framework to see if they can secure a candidate at a better rate using a sister company under a lower Tier?
  • Booking within target rates – are organisations getting the best candidates for the best value? Target rates can be set within 247Time to create healthy agency competition and to establish boundaries for maximum rates.

In one instance identified by Allocate, an organisation had the same doctor put forward from three different agencies. Two of the agencies were within the rate targets set by the organisation, the third was higher. When we spoke to the locum doctor involved, he was completely unaware that the third agency had put him forward at a higher rate. We later found that the agency had done this to ensure that they secured the locum doctor over the other agencies, by offering a more attractive hourly rate. 

A two-way street

Whilst our data allows us to identify behaviours from an agency, we can also work closely with an organisation to prevent any adverse habits when releasing the vacancies or confirming the bookings. 

We’ve been able to support organisations with:

  • Lead time – When releasing unfilled duties, we can examine trends that highlight where lead times are too long or too short. Releasing vacancies far in advance can cause multiple cancellations. Too late can mean that agencies may not have sufficient time to work on filling the vacancy.
  • Cancellations – Agencies understand that cancellations will happen. However, if cancellations start to occur at a rate of 25% or higher, agencies may turn their attention to organisations that are consistent with their bookings, as it will result in more reliable commissions.
  • Confirming bookings –Agencies often look to work with organisations who are quick to confirm bookings. If an organisation takes multiple days to confirm, candidates can be lost to other opportunities. This can impact the reputation of the agency.
  • Accuracy of bookings – How accurate is the booked shift versus the actual hours worked? We’ve seen instances where an eight hour shift was booked with an agency, but the actual number of hours completed was four. This will impact the agency and the agency worker themselves, who may be relying on the hours to support them financially.

Financial planning and preparations for a surge in demand

Whilst the actions of agencies and organisations will impact the speed and accuracy of bookings, the effect will also be felt on the financial teams and overall future planning for the temporary staffing workforce.

Financial teams will be relying on the accuracy of hours booked and that the supporting paperwork reflects hours worked for arranging payments. They’ll also look that rates are within the boundaries set within the 247Time targets.

As for operations and management, understanding the trends during surges in service demand for winter pressures and Covid-19, will support on strategic workforce planning. 

To ensure that organisations and agencies are working in the most effective way, customers of Allocate 247Time will receive the training and education they need to get the right candidate for the best value at the right time. Customers will also receive data insights and support through our Customer Success team, who will guide you through the right pathways to agency success.

Introducing ‘Pathways to Agency Success’ – our new agency webinar series

Launching this October, we’re running a series of webinars that will support you on your own Pathway to Agency Success.

Our first webinar, ‘Controlling agency rates and better forecasting of agency spend’, will take place on 14th October, 2020 at 10.00am BST.

To register for the webinar, look out for an exclusive and complimentary invitation which will be sent on email in the week prior. Alternatively, you can message us directly at info@allocatesoftware.com 

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