Were using: Manual timesheets, manual rosters, always discrepancies in clocking times vs rosters, hand written notes for absence and leave requests.
Trigger for change: Norovirus! With half the staff sick, managing rosters and scribbled sick notes was just too much paperwork for one person to handle. 65 staff didn"t get paid properly that week on Payroll. It was a big admin headache, when the focus must be on caring for patients. (It took 3 days to sort out).
Aged and Health Care
Number of employees
90 - most part-time
Motueka, New Zealand
We spoke to:
Tina Mills, General Manager
Clinical cover every day is assured with simple to manage rosters.
Reports and real time costing mean every dollar spent is accounted for.
Evidence always available for inspections, queries, complaints and the Board on staffing levels, and costs.
Any additional expenditure (for extended hours for example) is always tracked, so all exceptions are explained, every time.
No more written notes and requests, or messages not passed on for absence, leave requests or shift swaps.
No more "time creep" with extra time being worked without explanation when not rostered on.
Managers now spend 10 minutes a day to manage their teams (compared with 4 hours or more every week, once a week). Giving them more time every day to focus on care.
Clear, consistent communication (from one system) connects everyone and allows everyone to be in control of their work.
Payroll now takes minutes – it's a process of simple checks, running the Payroll Data report, then one upload into the Payroll system.
Completely accurate clocking with biometric finger vein scanners.
The Full Story
You"d think that implementing a new time and attendance system would always involve some element of stepping into the unknown, no matter how many reviews you read and opinions you seek. But not for Tina Mills. For the General Manager of the Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital, TimeTarget's success was a cast iron guarantee, because TimeTarget had already transformed working life at her two previous posts.
"The biggest difference?" Tina pauses for a moment, weighing up our question. "I have a clinical background and a background in accountancy. So what matters to me is a time and attendance system that helps me ensure I've got the clinical cover I need every day, and reporting that helps me account for every dollar I spend. TimeTarget helps me do both."
Supported by data
The Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital, run as a Trust, provides primary, respite and dementia care to New Zealand's Motueka community. Around 90 staff, most part-time, provide the around-the-clock care the hospital's patients need.
Managing the hospital has become an awful lot easier now that Tina has a system that supports her.
"TimeTarget means I always have evidence," explains Tina. "Whether I'm dealing with an inspection, a complaint, a query about our staffing levels or a query about the cost of those staff, the system's got my back."
"Suppose one of our residents has a fall, and a member of staff stays beyond their regular hours to deal with it. Then multiply that over all the times in the year a member of staff might be dealing with an urgent matter as their hours end. That extra time can add up to thousands of dollars over a year, but TimeTarget enables me to clearly show the reasons for the expenditure. I can go to my Board with reasons, not excuses."
Drowning in paper?
TimeTarget has been installed at the hospital for more than a year, but if reporting is Tina's most valued aspect of the system, it wasn"t the one that drove her to campaign for its installation.
"I'd been here about a month. I was sat in the office with a pile of manual timesheets, a manual roster, and half the staff had gone down with Norovirus," Tina remembers with a shudder. "So I'm dealing with a pile of scribbled notes that say so and so is ill, someone else will work extra, and someone else will take a day in lieu, and you"re trying to pull all this together on a spreadsheet that then goes for data entry before being passed on to payroll. Our staff are paid on the Wednesday, and on the Thursday morning I'm swamped by 65 staff, none of whom have been paid properly."
"It took me 3 days just to sort out that one instance, and you can"t afford to spend 3 days every fortnight away from your day job trying to rationalise your timesheets."
Being attacked by Norovirus, though, is surely something of a one-off? "Yes, but there were always discrepancies in the timesheets. 15 minutes here. 20 minutes there. All unexplained. All unaccounted for, yet the manual system made it impossible to spot the patterns in what was happening. I call it time creep, and if you don"t have a handle on it, it can kill your cashflow. We certainly didn"t have a handle on it."
"Any cover for leave was arranged ad hoc, and that meant we'd have breakdowns in communication where people said they didn"t know their shift had changed. There was no budget predicting either. Managers could be filling areas with higher cost staff and they"d never realise it."
Making the case for TimeTarget
Tina campaigned for the introduction of TimeTarget, which she"d already used successfully in two prior posts. She wasn"t met with a huge amount of enthusiasm.
"I think it was a case of being comfortable with what you know," she explains. "TimeTarget takes 10 minutes in the morning to set up for the day. So the managers who"d be doing that felt it was easier to do the whole thing in one go, despite the fact that doing it all in one go would take each of them 4 hours every week!"
"I was probably a bit like a bull in a china shop about it, because I'd used it before," she confesses. "There were objections. I think there was a degree of unease about the finger vein scanning – a trust and data issue as much as anything. And my managers would roll their eyes whenever I brought the topic up, but I knew the difference the system would make. And once it was in, everyone else could see it too."
"I've got the clinical cover I need every day, and can account for every dollar I spend"
Making the difference
"Our staff can apply for leave so much more easily. They can message me and I can message them without having to hunt round the hospital for each other. Rosters are so much more visible, and the evidence is there to show that we've got the right skills in the right quantities at the right time. Scanning stops arguments – there's no debate about who was on shift when, and that means everyone gets paid for the time they"re here."
"The Board loves TimeTarget because they've got information they've never had before. If we need to change strategies they have the data to help develop fully costed plans – they"re not working in the abstract."
"I love TimeTarget because (amongst many other things) Payroll is now a matter of doing some quick checks, running the report and pulling it into the payroll system."
"And TimeTarget helps everyone feel more in control. A casual employee can tell me when they"re unavailable and the system will remove them for that period so I don"t select them accidentally. If I have another Norovirus crisis, I have a system that can help me plan much more quickly. And I can finally spot those patterns that tell me when I need to make changes."
"Wherever I go, TimeTarget comes with me,” laughs Tina. “They should sponsor me to get another job!"