Staffing and Special Schedules

I typically don’t hire individuals with special schedule needs.  It never fails that when a facility is desperate for CNAs, housekeepers, dietary staff members, etc., we see many employees hired that have only special times and days that they can work.  Typically, you hear something like:

“Well, I have class on Tuesday nights, so I can’t work Tuesdays.  And, I can’t work weekends because I have no one to watch my kids.  I have church Wednesday nights.  I can’t come in right at the beginning of the shift because that’s when I’m getting off from my other job –  I’ll usually be 45 minutes late.  Sometimes, I have to leave my job here early because my other job will need me to come in early.  And I have this thing I have to go to on Thursdays every other week, but sometimes I’ll have to go more often….”

If you hire this person, how in the world would you ever expect to staff around their schedule?  Yes, they may work Monday, Wednesday mornings sometimes, Thursday, and Friday; but, to fill their off days, you’ll have to find someone to work Tuesday, Wednesday, and every weekend.  Plus, you’re still going to be asking staff to stay over until she gets there since she’s coming in late from another job.  This creates a mess.

I make sure to tell anyone who is applying for a job with us that this facility comes first.  We aren’t going to have to wait everyday for someone to come in 45 minutes late.  We can’t staff around special schedules.  If you know you need to be off, tell us in advance, but we won’t set the schedule up like that on an ongoing basis.

Dealing with special schedules is a stress you don’t need.  You can sit there all day on the phone trying to get staff in the building because of someone else’s special schedule.  You always incur more overtime  due to the fact that you’re having to call in someone on their day off who already has a set standard rotating schedule to fill a slot.  Plus, if your scheduler isn’t on top of things, you’ll have 3 CNAs one night and 6 the next – again due to special schedules.  This is a horrible way to manage your labor because it isn’t managing your labor. 

You’ll have  more employee dissatisfaction when allowing those fulltime employees with special schedules to work for you due to the fact that the CNA who has been with you for 6 years and works a standard 4 on-2 off never comes in late, but now she is having to pull the slack of her coworker who has approval to come in 45 minutes late every day.

It also never fails that as soon as you finally hire someone who can complement your special schedule employee’s work schedule, the special schedule employee needs to make a change.  They need to change a day or they can’t work that many days a week.  Then, they are upset with you because “you’ve cut their hours…” even though it was at their request.  They don’t understand why you can’t just let them come in for a few hours on the 4th and then again the 8th.  Well, because you’re fully staffed those days.  You don’t need anyone else. 

We are not here to staff around an employee’s special schedule.  We are here to staff around our residents’ needs and our facility’s needs.  That’s it.  It’s fine to help someone every once in awhile, but you cannot commit to making schedule changes like that.  It will become a fulltime nightmare trying to manage it.

Don’t waste your time hiring people who have to have special schedules that conflict with what you have available.  Be honest up front and tell them what schedules you have available.  If they’re a match, great.  If not, then you’ve saved yourself a lot of work!

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