Tips for Scheduling your Emergency Department Staff and Keeping Them Happy
How do we keep providers happy and allow them to maintain a healthy work-life balance while maximizing the efficiency and productivity of the emergency department? An attentive, equitable schedule is critical to achieving this goal, and here are a few tips to help get you there.
Weekend and Holiday Scheduling
The most common question when speaking with new providers is: “How does Innova handle weekends and holidays?” We know how important this is to physicians and hospital staff, which is why it is so important to Innova. We use sophisticated scheduling software that allows us to preliminarily account for this in the most equitable way possible. Once the schedule is generated the entire Innova executive team will collaborate to go through each of our sites and providers one at a time to confirm that no one person has an unfair amount of weekends in any given month. For holidays, we diligently keep track of which providers work Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s each year. We realize that there are several other holidays throughout the year; however, in our experience these tend to be the “Big Three”. We are careful to not schedule anyone for more than two out of those three, also paying careful attention to not schedule someone on that same holiday in back to back years. People want to be at home with their families around the holidays – emergency department employees are no different.
Vacations when they are wanted
The second most common question is: “How does Innova handle vacations?” In a similar vein to weekends and holidays, Innova prides itself in making sure providers do not feel overworked and are able to take vacation when they want to or need to. Our providers work as hard as they do so that they are able to truly enjoy time off. We schedule far enough in advance that anyone can request a block of days off to take a family vacation or pursue a passion whenever they see fit. The key takeaway is that we have cultivated an environment where our staff knows they are able to take these vacations when they would like, and as a result, are happier and much more willing to step up when other providers are taking their time off. This level of freedom creates a certain positivity that ripples throughout all of our emergency departments.
Open Lines of Communication
Clear communication is critical and takes time to build within an organization. Most people, by nature, are non-confrontational. If something is wrong they will often not say anything until it comes to a boiling point. It is imperative for a company to get out ahead of problems before they arise – be proactive, not reactive. Just because an employee does not complain about something does not mean they are happy with it. Reach out to your staff from time to time just to check in and ask questions like:
- How are things going?
- How have your schedules been for you the past few months?
- What does your ideal schedule look like?
Encourage your staff to reach out to you when there are issues, but stay encouraged yourself to constantly be engaging them on what is going well and what could be improved. Making the staff feel like they are part of the process rather than a “result” of the process will do wonders for employee happiness.
The schedule is a powerful tool, and can be either a source of misery or a point of pride for any company. Put in the effort to find out what is important to your staff so that it can also become important to you! If you want to learn more about optimizing scheduling, contact the team at Innova.