When hospital leadership decides to implement a new scheduling solution for the staff, it is critical to manage this change effectively to ensure the transition goes smoothly and the delivery of patient care continues without disruption.
It almost goes without saying, but an effective scheduling system is important for hospital facilities to get right. The best solution will allow nurses to maintain their efficiency and avoid being overworked. It will also help nurse managers to cover last-minute shifts and strategize caring for chronic and elderly patients. An ineffective system can lead to adverse outcomes such as a poor quality of care for patients, an increase in medical errors, staff burnout, turnover, and an overall decrease in revenue for the organization.
When a facility decides to change to a new scheduling solution, it is likely because there is a desire to make certain processes more efficient, to improve staff well-being or patient care and/or to reduce costs. Although the intent of leadership is to enhance or improve the environment, the change could be met with resistance by employees, or the adoption of the new technology can be slow.
Changes in the workplace can indeed be hard for staff. Employees have a lack of knowledge about what to expect and a fear of the unknown, and they will question why the change is occurring. It is important for managers to understand this and to be prepared to address all of these issues.
Here are six tips on how to coordinate a smooth transition to a new scheduling solution in your facility:
Wise leaders have a good reason to bring about change in an organization. It is imperative, however, that this change is properly explained to employees. Before you proceed with rolling out a new scheduling platform, you should first share the logic behind the organization’s decision to do so. When employees do not understand why change is happening in the workplace, it can lead to resistance to change, and that can lead to a failed transition. Share why you believe the change will have a positive impact on the company’s future. Emphasize the importance of the change and why the team should adhere to it.
Details matter to employees when a major change is taking place at work. Take the time to share the facts. Sketch out what the future looks like for each team as well as the entire organization. Use simple language and clearly communicate the nature of the change. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends that managers be prepared to answer these questions:
Companies should invest in a workplace culture that is built on a foundation of trust. Leaders build trust when employees do not have to guess why a company decision was made. Employees do not want to be surprised and prefer that their leaders tell them what is happening at the company. So be honest when discussing how the new scheduling system will be implemented and what changes employees can expect in the short and long term. ADP recommends adopting an approach referred to as “responsible transparency,” which enables leaders to pause and share truthful, focused information that is understandable and digestible. This level of transparency can help build employee engagement and satisfaction.
There are always staff members in an organization who have an unusually high amount of influence and credibility on the team. These are considered opinion leaders or people who everyone trusts and listens to outside of the management team. It is useful to engage these individuals and allow them to help you make a smooth transition to a new scheduling platform. Take them to lunch or invite them to a planning meeting to obtain their input. They can be helpful in preventing the spread of misinformation, getting feedback from the team or helping you prepare for any unexpected responses from the team.
With any organizational change, there will be questions from the staff. It is important for leaders to stay available and visible during a period of change. One of the best ways to do this is to provide regular communication to the team. Hold regular meetings to update the staff so they are aware of what is going on. Send emails after the meetings to summarize what was discussed. If you have an internal messaging platform, you can share information there as well. It is also essential to find a balance of sharing the right amount of information across different channels to ensure everybody feels informed. Continual communication is a leading factor in the success of a workplace transformation, according to data reported by McKinsey & Company. “Employers should communicate change-related information to employees in multiple forms (e.g., e-mails, meetings, training sessions and press releases) and from multiple sources (e.g., executive management, HR and other departments),” SHRM recommends.
The leaders in your healthcare facility may have been planning for a new scheduling system for weeks or even months. Inevitably, some employees will be skeptical of the change. Instead of ignoring them, spend some time listening to their feedback. Recognize that they may have some insight that can be constructive and can help you tweak the new scheduling system for the better. Soliciting feedback and engaging people in the process is beneficial when planning for major change events, Harvard Business Review stated. “This helps build ownership in the change, and makes employees more likely to support the change and even champion it.”
Nurse leadership should take all of these recommendations into consideration when transitioning to a new scheduling system. The likelihood of success will be greater as you can better avoid change-related obstacles.
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