One guaranteed touchy subject in a work environment is the schedule. This can be especially true around the holiday season, but it is actually a weekly problem. Employees become frustrated when they feel they are working too many weekends or night shifts compared to their coworkers, and they are often concerned about making all shifts and overtime hours fair. But there are clear benefits to opening the floor to a schedule discussion during your team meetings to maximize your team’s energy and goals.
Teams Should Openly Communicate
First, teams should meet regularly to ensure members are on the same page regarding all work operations. If monthly or quarterly department meetings are not already part of your office culture, create the expectation that new meetings will be efficient, have clear objectives, and include all team members. The time spent in these meetings should be used to solve problems quickly, so add any schedule discussion to the agenda to allow all employees to actively participate in the discussion.
Be Honest About Scheduling Difficulties
Chances are, employees do not fully comprehend the challenges of scheduling shifts. Explain the information needed from the team to create a fair schedule, such as having team members submit timely time-off requests. The scheduler should also explain the need for a schedule generator like Shift Admin, if you’re not already using one, to generate balanced and up-to-date schedules for the whole team. An unbiased generator will help ease everyone’s frustrations.
Create a constructive, organized system to allow employees to ask questions about the schedule. Allow for honest feedback and invite team members to express frustrations they have with the current schedule. Create action steps from the feedback, and be prepared to respond on improvements or updates to those concerns in future meetings.
Create a Fair, Open Environment
Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak during these meetings. Share an outline of the meeting agenda before arriving so everyone can be prepared to voice their concerns or thoughts, then create an outline for opening the floor for others to speak. Team leaders should encourage quiet members to participate and ensure team members receive equal, reasonable speaking time. It may take time for some providers to share their viewpoints with coworkers and supervisors, so also encourage them to share additional scheduling insights by email.
Invite Employees to Share Their Solutions
Sometimes it may seem like the perfect schedule is simply unattainable. One way to sort through the critiques is to encourage employees to have a proposition for each opposition or frustration. This method will make the scheduling conversation more productive and create clear, agreed-on action steps on how to improve the schedule.
Transform Ideas into Solutions
After compiling a list of employee suggestions, create systems to implement these changes into the schedule creation process. This may mean updating your scheduling software altogether or merely adjusting customizable rules to create a more balanced, provider-friendly schedule. Utilize a software like Shift Admin to spend less time creating the best iteration of the schedule, then receive feedback from your team in the next meeting. Evaluate the suggestions that worked and the general provider approval of each updated scheduling process. Keep your team involved to continually solve problems and improve the schedule, meeting by meeting.
The Impact of a Team Approach to Scheduling
Discussing the schedule during team meetings can lead to smarter schedules and more open dialogue about how the schedule is created.
Through these open conversations about the schedule, team morale will likely rise. Instead of being a “victim” of less-than-ideal shifts, employees will have a better understanding of the schedule process and will feel like a part of the decision making process.
Just getting started as a new physician scheduler? Utilize our guide: