How to choose the right software for your healthcare organisation and get team buy-in

If the pandemic has taught us anything in the healthcare sector it's that ‘online’ systems and processes, including e-rostering, have been instrumental in redeploying staff, reporting absences and managing working hours. 

Whenever we’re exhibiting our staff planning software at events, we often hear healthcare professionals say the same thing - "Oh we had a system for that – it didn’t work".

There could be many reasons for this but essentially there are two main ones: 

  1. The wrong system has been chosen and/or staff have not been engaged in the implementation process
  2. Technology should boost efficiency and productivity, but sometimes it does the opposite and causes disengagement at the same time

Here are our top tips for buying the right staff rota software for your business and how to engage your staff in the process:

Have a plan

First you need to identify what is it you are trying to improve. If you’re thinking about rota software, consider what the current pitfalls are in your staff scheduling processes and think about what needs simplifying. It’s a good idea to talk to people in your organisation and get their feedback and ideas. Having them involved and getting their buy-in from the start makes engagement with a new system much easier in the long-run.

As part of this exercise, think about your budget, keeping in mind the cost to the business of your existing processes and the efficiencies that will be gained as a result of using the new software.

Features vs needs

Think about and prioritise what features your system must have and what are the nice to haves. When it comes to rota software focus on those areas you’ve identified as being too time-consuming or error-prone. You could consider number of users; number of shifts; does it log training records; does it log professional and indemnity details; can you record annual leave; does it integrate with payroll; does it have a shift swapping feature; does it have mobile access?

Research and write a shortlist

Your research should cover off a number of sources – talk to people in your sector who work in a similar size practice or care home, visit trade shows, check out user reviews and case studies online. You should also factor in how relevant the software is for your sector. If you’re in healthcare, you’re in the right place.

Weigh up the options

Once you have a few systems on your shortlist, you need to factor in a number of other things:

  • Is it user–friendly enough for all your staff?
  • Is training provided?
  • How are updates handled?
  • Is it a complete package or are there add-ons to factor into the budget?
  • Will it grow with your business?
  • Are you buying it for the right reasons - Will it improve your efficiency?
  • Can you have a demo or trial? 

Engagement

Staff are more likely to champion a decision if they played a part in making it and there has been communication along the way. Consult your staff on the proposed change and help them see the benefits it will bring to them.  Will they stop using that spreadsheet? Will it reduce the time it takes to publish the rota? Will rotas be published sooner? Will they finally get their lunch break back?

If the wrong system is introduced and if staff are not encouraged to get on board with a new system or are poorly trained in how to use it from the start, then the software will quickly become redundant and any potential benefits will be lost.

Training

RotaMaster customers will tell you that we insist on hands-on, end-to-end system training with our users. We spend plenty of time on-site with them, call them every week throughout implementation and go over any questions that they have. Users have access to our comprehensive online self-help tools for those ongoing queries – or they can call our support team any time for a bit of expert advice.

Monitor Success

We’ve implemented our system into over 100 organisations. We recognise the key benefits that the system can bring so we can help you realise them as soon as possible.

Of course, there are always some teething issues as everyone adjusts to a new way of working - staff resistance, IT problems, difficulty in understanding a new system. Make sure that every stakeholder has a named contact or team at the system provider so that any issues can be nipped in the bud immediately.

We hope our tips have helped. If you would like further information about our rota software please drop us a line or give us a call.