Connectivity helps to meet staffing needs @ city of nanaimo september 2011
Connectivity helps to meet staffing needsMobile generation brings shift in schedulingBY DENISE DEVEAU, FOR POSTMEDIA NEWS SEPTEMBER 20, 2011Sandy Raddysh uses a shift management program from Vortex Connect Inc. to automatically send out open shifts at theAquatic Centre in Nanaimo, B.C. whenever someone calls in sick, and the response is almost instantaneous.Photograph by: Derek Spalding, for Postmedia News__________________________________________________________________________________________________For Sandy Raddysh, almost every workday presents a new scheduling challenge. Visiting pop stars makeit even worse."(When) a Katy Perry concert comes to town, everyone wants the day off," he says.The manager of aquatics for the City of Nanaimo juggles schedules for 65 to 75 staff members, most ofwhom are under the age of 25."Managing a younger workforce is difficult and brings lots of inherent challenges - like whether peopleshow up on time, or even come to work at all," he says.But theres a plus side to working with this generation. "Theyre very mobile, and very connected,"Raddysh says.
"Everyone has a phone or access to a computer. Whats great is we can tap into younger peoplesconnectivity to manage our staffing needs."Raddysh uses a shift management program from Vortex Connect Inc, a Toronto-based developer ofmobile task management solutions. Now when a staff member calls in sick or doesnt show, he doesnthave to pick up the phone and call people one by one. "That always led to mixed results, because it wasdifficult to get hold of people," he says.He simply goes online, enters the information on the time, location and activity (e.g. lifeguarding, swiminstruction) of the shift that needs to be filled, and its immediately sent out to all the appropriate off-dutystaff members via their communication vehicle of choice -email, voice messaging or texting."Its very effective. The shift is pretty much filled immediately," he says.Michele Deziel, senior direc-tor, core product line for Kronos Incorporated in Chelmsford, Mass., adeveloper of workforce management solutions, notes that scheduling was one of the first mobileapplications developed for human resources needs. "We heard constantly about how customers neededto be able to notify people about an open shift at the last minute," she explains. "Now they have the abilityto instantly connect with numerous employees using voice, text or email."Mobile connectivity is gaining considerable traction with the food service and retail sectors, as well asessential services such as law enforcement and health care in which full shift coverage and the ability tocommunicate information in a crisis are critical concerns.Deziel reports that when one health care organization switched to a mobile shift management program, itwas able to fill a shift within two minutes. Thats a big leap considering it used to take at least an hour ofphone calls. "It takes the drudgery out of dialing for dollars."In todays connected world, employers need to be able to reach employees at multiple touch points,whether thats through their smartphones, cellphones or tablets, says Colleen Wong-Sala, new businessdevelopment manager for Vortex.While using mobile for HR management crosses all age groups, its especially helpful for businesseswhere turnover is high, such as food service or retail, or with a large population of employees under 25who only want to communicate via social media or texting, she says. "Its is an effective way to reach thatpopulation, whether to communicate pay information, vacation status, schedules or available openings."Certain types of businesses are also seeing the advantage of mobile for situations such as incidentreporting or product recalls requiring a rapid response. "