11 February 2019
Shift bidding by SMS delivers healthy results
TimeTarget is an Australian-owned company that provides clients with a leading workforce management, time and attendance, and rostering solution. Clients range from small businesses employing a small number of people at a single location to large multinational corporations employing thousands of people across multiple locations.
Estia Health Aged Care (Estia) is largest residential aged care providers in Australia, and uses multiple components of the TimeTarget solution.
Systems Manager, Jeremy Cassidy, said that the SMS function in TimeTarget had made a significant impact on the business for some key applications, where alternative communication methods had been less than effective.
SMS helps Estia deliver a better service for everyone
Estia Health was experiencing challenges in communicating vacant shift availability to their staff.
As a communication tool, SMS is immediate, non-intrusive and interactive. Another benefit of SMS is that 97 percent of all SMS messages are opened and 83 percent are opened within one hour.
This high open rate is key to filling last minute roster vacancies, coupled with the fact that most adults own a mobile and never leave home without their mobile phone in hand.
“A great application for SMS is to fill unplanned leave in rosters,” says Cassidy. “Before SMS we would have put up posters advertising available shift times or had staff members making phone calls. However, posters are really hit and miss and phone calls are costly and time consuming.”
TimeTarget has been a MessageMedia partner since 2013 and has integrated MessageMedia’s SMS API into its solution. This means clients can send and receive SMS messages from within the TimeTarget software via a seamless and easy process.
Cassidy says, “The key application for us is using SMS to fill unplanned leave in our rosters via a shift manager tool within TimeTarget.”
Roster and shift management functions in TimeTarget provide significant advantages for an organisation’s rostering activities, including supporting centralised rostering and shift bidding based on ‘best fit’ candidates, using SMS for request and response.
Estia also use SMS for staff communication and notification alerts.
“When we need to let our people know about staff meeting times or upcoming flu vaccination information, SMS makes sense,” says Cassidy. “The message is delivered straightaway and we can include information such as dates, times and venues, which makes it easy for everyone.”
Cost and time savings with increased efficiency
Cassidy said that Estia has recorded a number of benefits from the introduction of SMS:
“Specifically, we have been able to reduce our agency costs and fill shifts more efficiently. I would estimate our agency costs have fallen by as much as 20 percent for the Estia facilities utilising the service.”
Estia has also noticed some unexpected benefits that are having a positive effect on the company.
“Our staff members are happy to receive texts notifying them of vacant shifts as it gives them an opportunity to earn extra money on top of their normal wage. And we’re happy, because using our own staff means we can ensure continuity of care, which is very important in aged care, and for our residents.”
“We’ve also found staff spend less time calling other staff members to fill shifts. Though I can’t provide a figure for time saved through not making these calls, it would be very high. This is the greatest benefit for our business, as we need our staff helping residents, not spending time on the phone trying to find a replacement for a vacant shift,” concludes Cassidy.