Computers and robotics are the steam engine of the modern era. Technology is again revolutionizing the global workplace. 

Healthcare hasn’t remained immune to these tectonic shifts. Hospitals are going through different phases of the digital (r)evolution, from introducing cloud-based data management and virtual nurses to experimenting with cutting-edge treatments and procedures, such as AI-assisted robotic surgery.

The job market is also changing, and fast, with healthcare being the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026. Moreover, technological innovations have also contributed to creating a significant skills gap in this industry, greater than the skills gap in the overall economy

In this new marketplace reality, the HR departments have their work cut out for them. Rebuilding legacy workforce management processes might be perceived as a challenge; but it is also an opportunity. Technology can help businesses upgrade outdated processes and transform HR from a service-oriented, reactive function to a proactive force that drives company success.

Leveraging the momentum for change

Employee shift scheduling is the foundation of workforce management. It governs the level of productivity, allows supervisors to assess business needs, and ensures patients are serviced with quality. Effective scheduling is business-critical, especially in an industry like healthcare, where stress and burnout are virtually the part of the job. In fact, one of the most notorious scheduling challenges is the Nurse Scheduling Problem, which has been tackled with a whole spectrum of methods, based on mathematics, operations research, AI and many more. Still, many organizations are relying on outdated, manual scheduling tools that are inept for meeting the demand for patient care.

When planning and creating a shift schedule, managers need a real-time view of employee availability and skills, so they can assign the right person to the right shift and resolve any potential conflicts. Moreover, supervisors require a high-level overview of labor costs and regulatory compliance to avoid potentially costly repercussions.  

On the flip side, employees will no longer settle for unpredictable schedules and the lack of control of their working hours. They demand schedule visibility and real-time shift notifications well in advance—as well as the flexibility to arrange trade shifts easily with their peers. Seamless, real-time communication capabilities and fair schedules have become the top priorities in the job search. Given that the shortage of physicians might reach 120,000 by 2030, it’s become essential for employers to offer the best working conditions possible to attract top talent.

Static scheduling tools cannot possibly match these workforce-centric demands—they can even foster frustration and animosity in the workplace. Moreover, rumors about poor workforce management can ward off talents through unfavorable employees’ reviews on recruiting sites.

There’s always room to grow.

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To address these challenges, a growing number of healthcare organizations are deploying scheduling platforms to upgrade their organizational processes and optimize staffing costs. There is a myriad of apps that promise increased productivity—from scheduling and monitoring attendance to managing benefits and payroll. Workforce Management solutions that automatize time-consuming, administrative tasks are especially valuable to managers who have other, more pressing responsibilities on their plate. 

However, most of these tools cannot technologically support the access and flexibility that modern Human Resources and Operations departments demand. They are not built for the cloud from the ground up and are not mobile-ready, so real-time workforce management is limited or not possible at all. Moreover, the majority of these platforms are stand-alone solutions that don’t offer full integrations with the HR back office. 

Integrating scheduling, leave management, payroll, data sources, and other capabilities are the next steps for forward-thinking Human Capital and Workforce Management vendors. 

Humanity has made it its mission to identify and integrate its powerful scheduling capabilities with leading HCM systems such as Workday, BambooHR, and others. These collaborations are established to address the needs of enterprises and large organizations: to eliminate double data entry, accelerate their scheduling processes and empower their teams with an intuitive, mobile-first solution. 

Today’s organizations can only thrive if they invest in upgrading their internal processes and better address the needs of the workforce. There’s no shortcut to this, but leveraging the strengths of specialized, innovative tools can certainly make this ambitious project much more painless.