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94% of Care Providers Face Challenges with Rostering and Rota Planning

19/06/2024 minute read Health and Care

In our Care Trends Report 2024, we’ve been able to explore some significant insights building the future of social care. One of which being the ongoing challenges around rostering. Shockingly, almost every single care provider (94%) told us they face challenges with rostering and rota planning.

So, whether it’s managing a complex schedule, juggling the rota for employees across multiple locations or struggling to get the right person to the right shift, you’ve likely also fought to keep on top of your rostering.

We’re looking into the specific rostering challenges care providers face, and why software can help take the pressure off those facing these burdens.

What are the key challenges with social care rostering?

  • Manual scheduling

You’ll be well aware that no two days in social care are the same and managing a complex roster can be incredibly hard work. So, when you’re manually planning the rota and printing the schedule, it becomes even more difficult to keep up with any short-notice changes.

Manual updates to rotas can be error prone, time-consuming and can ultimately impact the accuracy of your employees’ payroll. That’s because your head office team can’t be sure they know exactly how many hours a care worker has worked or the complex shift patterns they may have had – especially when they’re working from outdated or inaccurate timesheets.

  • Staffing Levels

Retention is an ongoing challenge in the social care sector. And with a turnover rate of 28.3%, you can’t always be certain that you have enough carers available to fulfil commissioned hours. In fact, 38% of care providers struggle to ensure they have the required number of staff within a setting at any given time.

So, when you find yourself in a position where you haven’t got an accurately skilled worker to care for your clients, you may turn to expensive agencies to fill that gap in your workforce. Although this helps you to continue providing high quality care, it may mean the budget and care continuity takes a hit.

  • Care Complexity

As a care provider, you need to consider things like fixed, split and on-call shifts when planning the rota. And as a residential or supported living provider, your service will also require 24/7 shift coverage. All of which takes careful planning.

But demand for social care increased to a record 2 million in 2023. And according to The King’s Fund Social Care 360 Report,this is likely to reflect both an increasing older population and increasing disability among working-age adults’. So, it’ll likely become more difficult to effectively roster staff, all whilst considering their availability, qualifications and client needs, as support for complex care needs increases.

  • Emotional Toll

Not only are you trying to plan for the needs of the day, but also the needs of your staff. Perhaps it’s not surprising that 35% of providers told us they find it difficult to provide the right hours at the right time of day for employees, with 34% struggling to give employees easy access to their own schedule.

Your care workers likely have their own personal commitments and preferences that can get interrupted by an ever-changing roster. An irregular schedule (which can often be common place in the care sector) coupled with long hours and limited time off can lead to care teams feeling burnt out and stressed.

  • Care Continuity

Care continuity is incredibly important to clients and care workers alike. That’s because having a sense of familiarly can really help to build trust and enhance the user’s experience with your service. Yet 37% of care providers find it difficult to maintain the same staff visiting the same clients.

But when you have a complex schedule to manage or are battling with recruitment and retention struggles, it can be really hard to assign the same care worker to a client. And unfortunately, this can then impact employee morale, client satisfaction and may even have a knock on effect to service delivery.

  • Limited Flexibility

When your care workers need to swap a shift with a colleague or want to pick up some overtime, how do they normally go about doing that? Go through the site manager, care coordinator, their supervisor? And how much time does that process normally take - probably more than it needs to.

This lack of flexibility can be a real hinderance to employee morale and the efficiency of your rostering. Yet, if your care teams were able to self-serve to pick up some additional hours here, or swap with a colleague there, they gain more control over their working lives, and it saves precious time for your care coordinators too.

  • Compliance

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) states that according to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, ‘Providers must deploy sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to make sure that they can meet people's care and treatment needs’. Although this is absolutely necessary for compliance, it can be easier said than done.

Things like unplanned absences, annual leave or vacancies are part of day-to-day rota planning. But balancing the availability of qualified staff and client need, it can be difficult maintaining appropriate staffing levels.

Rostering Software for Social Care Providers

At OneAdvanced, we pride ourselves on developing sector-focused software that meets your specific needs.

Care Cloud is our care business management solution that gives you visibility of all your key operations in one platform. Care Cloud is designed to consider complex rostering, rota planning and payroll for all types of care service.

Time & Attendance is our user-friendly rostering software that allows you to effortlessly configure your rotas, manage absences and accurately record time.

And for more insights like this, download our free Care Trends Report 2024 where we take a deep dive into the key challenges faced in social care today, in partnership with Care England.