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What do Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman and e-Rostering have in common?

We’re often asked to work with a Trust to refine or check their rostering policy. We quite enjoy doing this, in fact, we’ve been collecting Trust policy documents for 15 years. These documents are often intimidating and heavyweight, full of dos and do nots. A policy may well exist (and be locatable by staff on the Trust’s Sharepoint site) and be awesome, but will it be effective?

This begs the question, “How can one tell?”

In most cases we see, there’s a significant disconnect between the policy and the actuality. If you want to transform how staff work, assure that their behaviour is as expected and control the wastage present in unwanted behaviours, then it’s worth thinking about:

  1. e-Rostering, like any manual entry system will be prone to human error. Accepting that, we need to deal with it. This means automated exception reporting, but please not reams of data. Ideally, we need to have a clear vision of what a good roster looks like, and translate this human intelligence into an event driven process that connects problems with the staff able to fix them. We call this an Active Process, and you can see it in action in our Sentinel product.

  2. Your policy must be evangelised. You need a “policy angel”, someone that can visit Wards in difficulty, and support them as they increase their compliance. Our Barnacles product will break down rosters forensically, and show where system use is poor to act as a start point. You can masterclass your Wards in this way and we think this is best done with real life examples (for instance what would the Ward Manager do if too much leave was present on roster) but don’t think that’s “job done”…

  3. When the warm glow of recent training fades, when a contemporary issue gains priority or when there’s staff turnover – compliance will begin to deteriorate. Again, that’s something we need to accommodate. What’s needed is a way of locking in process improvement. Please can I refer you back now to point 1). Are you back? OK, also think about getting some informal feedback on the policy (which after all you imposed on staff), you could use a separate mail account to collect their thoughts (nice and engaging).

  4. Looking at a policy backwards – we’ve a bias towards mining for the problems (usually translating into unnecessary cost or risk) – that are likely to appear. This is a much tighter way of looking at behaviours than trying to consider a policy document entire. I suppose it is akin to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” view. Yes, we think you should focus on fixing problems, and avoid boring staff with policy minutiae. There’s too much of it, and the real problems could be lost in the mix.

  5. Who guards the guards? Someone, somewhere has to take oversight on policy compliance. Bear in mind new issues will appear, so you’ll need to be able to evolve what you measure too. The buck stops there, and this person is going to need a very simple, easily repeatable way of looking at Wards to see where the problems are. If it’s not complete, fast and accessible, its usefulness will be hugely degraded. A scorecardy approach, ideally on a mobile device sounds good to us. Well, that’s what we do, so I would say this.

Hopefully at least some of this rings true with you. And now for a final slice of cheese, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. What’s more, you shouldn’t even bother putting in your policy either, it’ll just detract from the compliance issue you can improve on. Jolly good luck, in any case!

Of, forgot to answer the question posed in the title. Perhaps you could fill in the blank for me (oops, wrong show) ? “e-Rostering without Compliance Management is _________?”

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