A small community hospital can shift to online scheduling and see immediate positive results. "It allows you in a very time-efficient way to register what are those times when your given employees can't work because they don't have child care or grandma needs to go to dialysis. You plug those in," Williams says.
"The second step is to arrange for an efficient shift swapping system that can all be done on line. The third step is to arrange for mandatory overtime. For example, using the coupons we talked about so you can efficiently staff overtime."
Mandatory overtime is a fact of life in most hospitals, Williams says. But employees will be much more willing to comply with the mandate if they understand the process. "The literature shows that if properly implemented, it is going to drive labor costs down sharply because it will drive down absenteeism and drive down attrition," she says. "The main point is I am not asking employers to be do-gooders. I am asking them to design one of their major business systems in an effective way."