Creating schedules at a healthcare organization is hard. One of the hardest parts for schedule creators is managing the time-off requests that come up for every scheduling block. There are many ways to try and stay on top of all of these requests, but most options are manual and have a high risk for error. If you manage your organization’s time-off requests one of these ways, I’m sure you’ve worried about these issues occurring at some point, or maybe they already have.
Email seems like a natural way to submit and approve requests at your organization because everyone has an email. Unfortunately, request emails that are received are blended in with the other onslaught of emails that arrive on a daily basis. Travelling and other workplace factors can make your inbox pile up, and emails can easily be left unanswered or accidentally deleted. If this happens, once your schedule is made, employees may reach out to you confused about their unapproved time-off requests. This issue may arise regarding requests made well in advance of a new schedule, as requests can be forgotten.
A simple conversation is often the easiest way to answer a question or solve a problem. With time-off requests, it’s the opposite. For most organizations, a verbal approval is not even official. Aside from that, you’re left with the task of remembering the details of the request, storing it in some way and eventually integrating it into your schedule. This can be a very difficult task and has a very high risk for error.
There are many different ways to take requests digitally that are faster and more accurate, but some organizations still use paper and pen. With this method, employees could be filling out forms incorrectly or providing ambiguous information. Using paper, clarifications can take a long time. What’s more, if any forms are lost, there’s no easy way to find them and administrators might not even realize that slips are missing.
A System that Works
The most accurate way to process time-off requests is with a premier request management tool, often found in some of the best automated scheduling applications available for healthcare organizations. With these systems, staff can clearly submit a specific request with all of the necessary information and the scheduling managers can easily approve or deny the request. From there, any approved requests are automatically taken into account when building the next schedule, ensuring none are missed. To facilitate approval, the automatic scheduling application even helps managers ensure the time-off request won’t be causing issues for specific roles or locations that need to be filled.
It’s important that you don’t underestimate the importance of a proper request management system. Having one that works increases employee satisfaction, reduces confusion and headaches for scheduling managers while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.