WCS Care Significantly Reduces Agency Use, Improves Turnover and Retention with Accushield Flex
CEO - WCS Care
Impacted by staffing shortages compounded by high turnover, WCS Care needed to find solutions to recruitment and retention quickly.
After implementing Accushield Flex, a simple, mobile-first platform that empowers team members to browse, self-schedule, and accept shifts directly from their phones, WCS utilized its technology to create an internal staffing agency and significantly improved its recruitment and retention challenges.
WCS significantly reduced the costly use of staffing agencies, save between 1.2 and 1.5 million pounds by doing so, and improved scheduling flexibility and pay for its staff.
Finding a nearly turnkey way to create an internal staffing agency helped a UK-based senior living CEO get through a workforce shortage and reduce the use of outside agency staff at his organization. At the same time, the technology enabled the newly empowered staff members to embrace flexible work schedules.
The United States is not alone in its staffing crisis—the United Kingdom has experienced similar workforce challenges, especially among elder care workers. Marked by excessive shortages, high turnover, and challenging retention, the UK recorded 165,000 unfulfilled vacancies in the just the last year.
During a visit to a senior living conference in the United States, Ed Russell, CEO of WCS Care, a dementia, residential, and respite care organization based in Kenilworth, England, discovered the Flex technology and decided to give it a try within his own organization.
“I wanted to implement [Flex] at several homes,” says Russell. “At first, we had some difficulty getting engagement through the app, and then we put in higher wage rates than other agencies, educated current [frontline] staff as well as managers, and we ultimately ended up reducing our agency use while also attracting their agency staff as our employees,” he says, noting that the benefits of having the choice and flexibility offered by the Flex mobile app outweighed the benefits of agency work for them.
Creating an Internal Agency
Russell describes how the Flex technology also enabled him to create an internal staffing agency at WCS, based on the mobile app that enables staff to search and find shifts, and then cover them at their convenience.
Among the challenges that WCS encountered in implementing Flex was that it took some managers awhile to get on board with the idea that caregivers could use the app to fill the shifts, as opposed to managers having control of that. “It’s definitely easier to use agency staff,” says Russell. “It becomes a bad habit and getting people out of bad habits is difficult.”
Having tried other technology solutions to help solve WCS’ challenges, Russell says that Flex was superior in its ability to empower frontline staff. “The difference is that Flex puts the power of scheduling right in the hands of the caregiver,” he says,
Significant Return on Investment
Once staff members saw the benefits of using the app, most were on board with it, reports Russell. In fact, recruitment now takes care of it itself: caregivers tell their friends to work for WCS, he says, and “word of mouth is now our biggest source of recruitment.”
The numbers speak for themselves. Since implementing Accushield Flex, WCS has experienced the following improvements:
- 90 percent reduction in rota admin time
- 86 percent reduction in agency use
- 22 percent decrease in complaints
- 16 percent increase in residents taking part in leisure activities
- 15 percent reduction in staff turnover
The significant savings reaped from reducing the use of agency staff means that WCS is now able to pay higher wages to its caregivers, compared to other agencies, “so we have been able to attract the very best staff, which would not have worked for us before,” Russell says.
For more information, please visit https://accushield.com/flex/.
AT A GLANCE
- The inability to recruit new staff
- High turnover among current staff
- Too much utilization of outside staffing agencies
- The most effective recruiting has become the current staff members, who tell their friends to “come work for WCS”
- Staff love the flexibility of being able to self-schedule shifts
- Use of agency staff reduced significantly
“The difference is that Flex puts the power of scheduling right in the hands of the caregiver.”