African American male nurse meets with patient

Within healthcare, the concept of on-demand workforce management is revolutionizing how staffing needs are met and managed. However, there persists a cloud of myths concerning labor shortages and challenges in employee retention. At the Workforce Innovation Summit, ShiftMed's Chief Growth Officer, Craig Allan Ahrens, and SSM Health's System Vice President of Nursing, Seth Lovell, led a joint session addressing 'myths around on demand workforce.' During this session, both experts delved into these misconceptions and advocated for activating latent workforces as a strategic response to labor shortages. 

Craig and Seth emphasized the vast potential of on-demand marketplaces in transforming workforce dynamics and offered valuable insights into workforce optimization, painting a picture of an evolving landscape in workforce management. Step into the dynamic world of on-demand workforce management with us as we shatter misconceptions and unveil powerful strategies to cultivate a thriving, responsive marketplace within the nursing sector.  

Debunking Common Misconceptions About On Demand Workforce Management 

Myth 1: There Aren't Enough People Available 

Contrary to the belief that on-demand workforce models suffer due to a lack of available workers, the reality is quite the opposite. This myth underestimates the presence of a significant latent workforce—professionals who are seeking flexible, non-traditional employment. On-demand platforms tap into this pool, effectively addressing labor shortages by connecting facilities with qualified, ready-to-work individuals. This model not only expands the workforce but also leverages the untapped potential of those seeking non-traditional work schedules. 

Myth 2: Employees Will Be Lost to Competitors 

Another common misconception is the fear that employees engaged in an on-demand marketplace will easily shift allegiance to competitors. While competition for talent is a reality, the on-demand model inherently offers a compelling value proposition for employees—flexibility and choice. By providing workers with control over their schedules and work environment, employers can foster a more committed workforce. This often leads to enhanced loyalty, as employees value the autonomy and balance that on-demand work offers. 

Myth 3: Quality of Care Will Suffer 

A frequent myth surrounding on-demand workforce management is the belief that the quality of care will decline due to the use of temporary or part-time staff. However, evidence and experience refute this notion. On-demand platforms like ShiftMed implement rigorous vetting, credential verification, and continuous training to ensure our workforce meets high standards. Therefore, rather than diminishing care quality, on-demand models can enhance it by introducing skilled professionals who are motivated and adaptable.

 Addressing Labor Shortages 

One of the most compelling advantages of on-demand workforce management is its efficacy in addressing labor shortages. By adopting this model, organizations can broaden their talent pool, tapping into a reservoir of skilled professionals who prefer or require flexibility. 

Broadening the Talent Pool 

On-demand platforms dismantle traditional geographical and scheduling barriers, allowing organizations to access a diverse range of talents beyond their immediate locality. This is particularly beneficial in sectors like healthcare, where there's a pressing need for varied skills and experiences. By leveraging technology, organizations can connect with a wide array of professionals, from part-time workers seeking additional hours to those who prefer short-term assignments or flexible scheduling. 

Flexibility & Efficiency Matchmaking 

In today’s workforce, flexibility is not just a convenience but a priority for many professionals. On demand workforce models capitalize on this trend, offering flexibility that is attractive to a wider range of potential employees, including those who might not be interested in traditional full-time roles. Furthermore, workforce platforms like ShiftMed use sophisticated algorithms and data analytics to match the right professionals with the right opportunities. This ensures that labor needs are met promptly and effectively. 

Male nurse reviews shift opportunities on ShiftMed app

Ensuring Workforce Flexibility 

Workforce flexibility is not just a matter of accommodating employee preferences; it's also about adapting to fluctuating demands and optimizing operational efficiency: 

  • On Demand Workforce Management: By integrating on demand workforce management, healthcare organizations can rapidly scale their staffing up or down, responding agilely to changing needs. This flexibility is particularly vital in sectors like healthcare, where patient care demands can vary unpredictably. 

  • Adaptability and Responsiveness: On demand workforce platforms enable organizations to swiftly fill gaps, ensuring that operations continue smoothly. This adaptability is critical for maintaining service quality and meeting patient expectations in real-time. 

  • Meeting Diverse Employee Needs: Flexibility isn't just an operational advantage; it's also a means to cater to a diverse workforce with varying needs and preferences. By offering varied work arrangements, organizations can attract and retain talent who seek work-life balance, contributing to a more motivated and productive workforce. 

Building an Effective On Demand Marketplace 

Creating an effective on-demand marketplace requires a strategic blend of technology, infrastructure, and an understanding of the workforce's needs. Platforms like ShiftMed, which can facilitate seamless job matching and efficient communication, are essential. This includes incorporating AI and machine learning for smarter matchmaking and predictive analytics to forecast staffing needs. Furthermore, ShiftMed conducts regular vetting and credential verification and offers continuous training to uphold the quality of service. 

Real-World Success Stories 

SSM Health 

By shifting from traditional external agencies to on-demand workforce solutions, SSM Health not only saved a remarkable $85 million in FY2022 but also experienced a 12% conversion of on-demand workers to permanently hired caregivers.

In tackling the persistent nursing shortage intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, SSM Health has pioneered a transformative solution, resulting in impressive outcomes. By shifting from traditional external agencies to on-demand workforce solutions, SSM Health not only saved a remarkable $85 million in FY2022 but also experienced a 12% conversion of on-demand workers to permanently hired caregivers. The decision to leverage this innovative approach proved financially astute, with the average on-demand bill rate standing at approximately $25 less per hour compared to other temporary labor options. This strategic move not only underscores SSM Health's commitment to addressing evolving workforce needs but also showcases their dedication to financial prudence and excellence in healthcare services. 

Bedrock Care Group 

Bedrock Care Group eliminated its reliance on surge pricing, saving $1.2 million in just five weeks.

ShiftMed played a key role in Bedrock Care Group's staffing approach. Their challenge involved an annual revenue shortfall of $5 million due to the use of a competitor to fill vacant nursing shifts. ShiftMed proposed a solution with its flat-rate pricing model and suggested Bedrock shift its labor spending to post recurring Guaranteed Shifts® in ShiftMed's portal. Bedrock Care Group eliminated its reliance on surge pricing, saving $1.2 million in just five weeks. Additionally, they could add over 1300 hours of labor to their care operations. 

Challenges and Solutions 

Challenge: Resistance to Change 

Many organizations face internal resistance when shifting to an on-demand model. Employees and management alike may be hesitant to embrace new systems and processes. Introduce the on-demand model gradually, ensuring adequate training and support to ease the transition. Highlight the benefits, such as increased flexibility and potential for improved work-life balance. 

Challenge: Quality Assurance 

Ensuring consistent quality with a rotating workforce can be a concern. To solve this, implement strict vetting procedures and offer ongoing training and support to maintain high standards. Emphasizing clear communication and setting realistic expectations can also help in successfully navigating these challenges in workforce management. 

Benefits of On Demand Workforce Management: 

  • Cost-Effectiveness: This model significantly reduces staffing costs by minimizing reliance on staffing agencies and controlling labor expenses. 

  • Enhanced Workforce Agility: It enables organizations to swiftly adapt to changing demands, ensuring operational continuity and efficiency. 

  • Improved Employee Satisfaction: Offering flexibility and autonomy, this approach can lead to higher job satisfaction, reducing turnover and attracting a broader range of talent. 

The increasing shift to on demand workforce management represents a crucial change in addressing contemporary staffing challenges. Healthcare organizations stand to gain immensely from this approach. Embracing scalable workforce platforms like ShiftMed ensures operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness and enhances employee satisfaction and adaptability. It's time for organizations to look forward and integrate these flexible, dynamic workforce solutions, paving the way for a more resilient and responsive future in workforce management.