6 ways to use technology to maximise your workforce

2020 brought unprecedented challenges for the social care sector, with the industry grappling with the effects of Covid, labour shortages and changing CQC regulations. There are now more than 100,000 unfilled social care vacancies across the UK and care providers are reporting staff absences of up to 50% due to Covid. 

Sadly, these pressures are not expected to be alleviated in 2021, as the realities of Brexit and new immigration laws will further exacerbate the social care workforce crisis. Under this extreme workforce pressure, it is critical that the social care providers get the most out of their existing workforces and bank teams.

We’ve outlined 6 ways care providers can use technology to maximise their workforce in 2021: 

  1. Fill shifts using a ‘marketplace’ approach. By giving team members visibility of their shifts in an app (and the option to select their own shifts?), managers and head office teams can increase overall fulfilment whilst saving up to 5 hours a week of manual calling and texting people to fill shifts.

  2. Develop a fit for purpose ‘bank workforce’ With the challenges of Covid unrelenting, it’s never been more important to have a well-organised and effective bank workforce. Specialised technology exists that enables support workers to pick up new shifts at their ‘home location’ and gives bank teams real-time visibility over gaps in the rota.

  3. Make sure your workforce is connected (but in a GDPR compliant way!). Most teams use Whatsapp or message boards to fill shifts, however, they aren’t the most effective tools and can create a data security time bomb (if Whatsapp chats move from talking about shifts to specific patients).  Fully integrated communication tools allow the team to more effectively communicate in a safe and GDPR compliant setting. 

  4. Machine learning technology is coming to Care and support -  You’ve probably heard about AI and machine learning in other industries and wondered what the fuss is about.  Well, the care and support sectors are about to find out. Machine learning can use huge amounts of team data to understand who is likely to take a shift or provide cover (sometimes before the team member themselves know they’ll take it). It really is a game-changer to overcome staffing challenges, and tools that use this technology are already rolling out within the industry.

  5. Automated rostering - Doing rotas on paper or through inflexible and old systems costs managers hours of valuable time, and often leads to inefficient use of staff and low shift fulfilment. Care managers are faced with hundreds of data points to analyse when putting a simple rota together (how many contracted hours need filling, what’s our occupancy, who is on approved leave, etc), making the rostering puzzle particularly complex in care settings.  Automated rostering systems are giving managers their lives back by doing the work for them and ensuring the right levels of care are achieved, without annoying team members with rotas that do not account for their preferences.

  6. Fully integrated systems -  The need for systems to integrate or speak to each other underpins all of the other exciting developments in care tech.  The era of on-premise servers and printouts is coming to an end. It is vital that your new systems can use API’s and other methods to speak to each other to ensure a genuinely time-saving and cost-saving tech infrastructure.

With the use of smart workforce technology like Catapult, care providers can alleviate the pressure brought on by the current social care workforce crisis. By freeing up manager time normally spent on manually filling shifts and making rotas, managers can spend more time on things that really matter - the health and wellbeing of patients and staff. By enabling support workers and bank staff to easily pick up additional shifts, care providers can reduce the reliance on expensive agency staff and save valuable resources. And by utilising machine learning tools, care providers can beat the churn cycle, as they get access to the data and insights to act proactively.