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Automating workforce management yields big savings

North Shore-LIJ Health System in metropolitan New York expects to save $8 million by sharpening its focus on labor. Jim Bosco, vice president of corporate human resources at health system, recently discussed the benefits of its new workforce management technology with Healthcare Finance News Editor René Letourneau. 

Q: Why did North Shore-LIJ begin to focus more on workforce management?
A: Even though North Shore-LIJ is a non-profit organization, with a  $6.7 billion annual operating budget, we pride ourselves on managing the organization as competitively as possible. As the third largest private employer in New York City, this helps us remain viable to continue to meet our ultimate goal of providing the best patient care.

As we reviewed our business, we realized that many of our labor-management practices weren’t as efficient as they could be, which in turn contributed to wasted time, decreased productivity and even low employee morale – and all of this led to inflated costs.

Q: What have been the biggest benefits of your new workforce management system?
A. By working with workforce management software provider Kronos to roll out its time and attendance, scheduling, employee self-service and reporting tools, we have eliminated manual processes and reduced paper. Now, instead of using paper timecards, our employees use terminals to record their daily time, check their schedules, request time-off or schedule changes, and more.

We have also automated our employee scheduling processes. Our supervisors can now create the most effective schedules possible – those that align labor with anticipated demand – while adhering to organizational and regulatory rules and regulations. Plus, at our implemented sites, all schedule information is available online so employees or traveling nurses can find information they need from anywhere. 

We have also seen better employee engagement and improved morale. Our employees, particularly nurses, now benefit from improved work-life balance since supervisors don’t become overly dependent on a few key resources. In addition, self-service options give employees a greater sense of control over their schedules.

Also with the reporting and analytics functions, North Shore-LIJ management has gained real-time visibility into our workforce, which allows them to make decisions in time to influence results.

Q: What is your anticipated ROI?
A: We conservatively calculated that we will save more than $8 million within four  years, as a direct result of implementing workforce management technology. In addition, factoring in such things as overtime savings, on-call pay savings, shift differentials and payroll efficiencies, we expect an annual ROI of approximately $2.35 million, which could exceed our $8 million estimated savings, over the long term.

[See also: Workforce management tool helps rightsize nursing staff]

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