The primary goal of home healthcare agencies is to provide the highest level of healthcare for patients and clients while maintaining reasonable workloads for employees. Workplace staffing is a challenge for any business owner or human resources staff member; however, with careful attention to your staffing needs and your human capital expertise, you can ensure your clients and patients receive optimum care and attention.
Recruitment and Selection
Review your recruitment and selection process. Determine if you are attracting qualified, experienced and reliable applicants. Telephone screening and face-to-face Interviews shed light on applicants' level of commitment and work ethic, which are two essential characteristics for healthcare providers. Check references of all applicants you select as candidates to gain as much information as possible about work history, punctuality and dependability. These are three of the most important traits that employers look for in candidates, particularly in the healthcare field where patient care is rendered in an independent, home-based setting.
Look at your client base and determine patient care needs, based on monthly projections, weekly schedules and day-to-day patient care. Ask your clients if they are aware of any anticipated or impending changes to their healthcare needs. Estimate the total number of hours necessary to meet patient needs for each shift and overall patient care needs for longer periods of time on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Prepare a chart of current staff availability and construct a mock schedule based on current staffing models. Take into consideration unanticipated events such as staff time off for illness, vacation or personal time. Distribute potential scheduling calendars to your staff to get their scheduling preferences. Factoring in your employees' desired scheduling goes a long way in achieving employee satisfaction and morale. This conveys the message that you are cognizant of employee work-life balance and want to consider these factors in scheduling staff coverage for your home healthcare organization.
Poll your leadership team or human resources department about the pros and cons of management-driven staffing plans versus employee-driven shift bids. A management-driven staffing and scheduling plan requires attention to logistics and patient needs. Bidding for shifts can sometimes work well because employees often have a sense of what works for them and their colleagues. On the other hand, shift bidding can turn into a challenging logic puzzle if employees vie for the most desirable shifts without regard to patient care requirements.
Be sure to consider any extraordinary needs your patients and clients may have. If you have home healthcare providers with specialized skills to care for patients with cardiac, oncological or other healthcare conditions, take into consideration those needs when developing your staffing plan and assigning provider care.
Research employment laws about working hours, break times and distinctions between supervisory and staff roles to ensure you are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. Helpful guidelines on this issue are posted on the National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division websites.