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Australian Aged Care Provider Navigates COVID Outbreaks With People-focused Workforce Management System

Sydney, December 9, 2021 – Human capital management (HCM) consultancy, Smart WFM, today announced it has supported the implementation of a new workforce management system to Montefiore, helping the leading Australian aged care provider automate rostering, which enabled better staff and resident experience as it managed the impact of COVID-19 across its campuses.

With over 1,100 staff, the provider cares for over 700 residents in campuses across Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and North Shore as well as offering independent living units, home care and day care services.

Deploying the cloud-based UKG system has replaced a number of disconnected manual processes with a simple application to manage workforce logistics, including rostering. For example, managers previously had to call all potentially available staff when reallocating a shift. The app that is available to all staff has automated this to a simple push SMS system, with staff recording and managing their availability via the app to pick up extra shifts and provide better visibility to managers.

The rollout of the system across all operational areas of Montefiore has also been very timely in the context of the pandemic. It has enabled seamless reallocation of shifts when staff have needed to self-isolate or have been unable to attend Montefiore due to single-site working arrangements in place for the sector.

The benefits also extended to staff residing in an LGA of concern who said that the app was useful when commuting to or from work during the lockdown – if stopped by enforcement authorities, the app could clearly demonstrate that they were essential workers and had a permissible reason to leave home.

The rollout of the system has even led Montefiore to create a new, and rare in the industry, Workforce Logistics Leader role to collaborate with staff and ensure they’re adjusting to new processes under the system. This includes managers, administrators and general staff users of the system, providing a tailored approach to support. Difficulty with use and a lack of engagement among staff had been a key issue with previous workforce management deployment, and Smart WFM encouraged the organisation to find a leader to champion the system.

“Communication with different departments, from the C-level through to clinical staff, made all the difference,” said Andrea Van Gramberg, Workforce Logistics Leader and Aged Care Manager of 13 years with Montefiore. “It’s really common that new tech is rolled out without factoring in the professional needs of users. Smart WFM worked with us through a series of workshops with many different stakeholders participating to seek feedback, uncover pain points, and ensure they were addressed – that was a first.”

Additionally, the workshops enabled Montefiore to review and consolidate its various workflows, ensuring consistency across the various areas, with the technology then aiding these.

Montefiore’s Director of People, Culture & Learning Anna Santikos says the system has helped it manage staffing more efficiently in alignment with its organisational philosophy – enabling continuity of care for residents and reducing reliance on agency staff.

“The way in which we have deployed the system supports our ‘Neighbourhood Model of Living’ philosophy, whereby we roster consistent staff to look after the same residents, enabling them to build meaningful relationships and fostering familiarity,” said Santikos. “Agencies are part of the mix of course, but a real risk of the former system was that it could almost encourage an overreliance – it was easier to call an agency than to call 10 staff to fill a shift. Now it’s seamless, supporting that philosophy and reducing costs.”

Another positive benefit of the system has been the costed roster functionality, giving managers visibility of the labour costs associated with their scheduling decisions in real time.

The new workforce management system and ethos have been positively received among staff. A recent internal survey found that 90 per cent of respondents said they felt well supported during the rollout and saw huge benefits in shifts and roster scheduling visibility, as well as applying for leave. The payroll team has been able to streamline their processes, bringing late nights on pay day to an end.

Santikos believes the organisation is better placed to retain and attract staff as aged care workforce shortage challenges continue. A recent report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says Australia has a shortage of at least 110,000 direct aged care workers to redress in the next decade.

“People are at the centre of our HR and workforce management,” she said. “It’s easier and faster to apply for leave, change shifts, accept shifts, meaning it’s easier for them to do what’s important outside of work too. We’ve built the model now so we’ll continue to incorporate our staff’s needs into the system as we further develop it.”

Smart WFM CEO and author of The Digital Workforce Jarrod McGrath says Montefiore is raising the bar for the healthcare industry in creating a digital operating model built upon the needs of today’s modern working environment. “When something isn’t working, it’s easy to chalk it up to ‘that’s a tech issue’,” said McGrath.

“Our experience is this is rarely the case – it’s more likely the providers or consultants implementing the tech have failed to align to the people and processes in place. Montefiore has gone through a full digital transformation journey and put its staff at the heart of it. This is the kind of modern people innovation we need to see more of across the aged care and healthcare industries.”

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About Smart WFM

Smart WFM is a global human capital management (HCM) consultancy specialising in digital transformation. The company’s service offerings include advisory, implementation and support. Smart WFM also offers Service On Demand and the Apitome Software Suite designed to support the HCM customer journey. Smart WFM’s framework is defined in “The Digital Workforce”, a book written by Smart WFM founder and CEO, Jarrod McGrath.

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