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eRostering or e-Rostering is the use of electronic rostering or scheduling software to automatically create employee schedules. eRostering is most commonly applied to automated schedules used by Healthcare organisations such as the NHS in the UK but is a useful tool for all hospitals, care homes and community care providers with complex employee scheduling requirements.

Why is eRostering important?

Employee Rostering is a complex and time-consuming task. Managed incorrectly it can have a negative impact on the level of patient care, increase labour costs and result in unhappy employees.

In this article, we’ll cover the key challenges faced by those in charge of Healthcare Rostering as well as some of its benefits. We’ll also cover how eRostering works in practice with Softworks eRostering for Healthcare.

First off let’s look at some of the challenges faced by those in charge of rostering for Healthcare.

Healthcare rostering challenges

  • Too much time spent building & generating staff rosters
  • Last-minute roster changes
  • Shortage of available staff to fill rosters
  • Balancing leave requests with care needs
  • Flexibility to change rosters according to patient care needs
  • Determining availability for additional shifts
  • Employee satisfaction with shifts and rosters
  • Finding people to cover shifts from bank or agency staff at the right cost
  • Documenting skill levels, skill matching and correct skill mix
  • Ensuring legislative compliance
  • Ensuring fair and equal shift distribution

That’s a long list of challenges so anything that provides a solution to them is going to have a very positive impact on your organisation. Now let’s look at some of the benefits to be expected when you use eRostering.

The benefits of eRostering for Healthcare include:

Time saved

eRostering saves hours of time on a weekly and monthly basis due to the reduction of administration and the elimination of paper-based rosters and the errors associated with manually prepared schedules.

Improved patient care

Effective rostering supports consistent staffing levels with the correct skill mix resulting in a reduction of risk and improved patient experience. eRostering can also take patient acuity into account and optimise nursing rosters and assignments with patients’ dependency needs.

Effective use of budget

Being able to roster employees fully to their contracted hours reduces the number of unused hours leading to better use of staff time. eRostering also eliminates under or over-staffing and the reliance on more costly temporary and agency staff.

Fewer roster errors

Being able to map employee tasks with skills and constraints reduces the potential for roster and payroll errors.


eRostering automatically takes into account employees’ preferences and the fairness of shift distribution including; public holidays, weekends and night shifts to ensure everyone on the team is being rostered fairly.

Improved employee satisfaction and retention

Being able to view their roster weeks in advance instead of at the last minute gives employees better control over their work-life balance and has been proven to increase satisfaction and retention.

Greater control over working life

eRostering can capture individual roster preferences where appropriate and ensure they are automatically applied. Workers who want to work the shifts they’ve been assigned are more productive and happier.

The ability to easily fill last-minute gaps

Instead of calling around to multiple people any last-minute roster changes or staffing gaps can easily be filled by sending triggers via email and text to available staff that meet your criteria and requesting them to fill the shift.

Greater oversight

Improved recording, transparency and management of planned and unplanned non-working time, e.g. annual and study leave.

Improved Flexibility

Flexibility as the situation changes daily and hourly, promoting the effective redeployment of staff across the organisation to maintain appropriate staffing levels.

Improved budget control

Erostering allows managers to work within predefined budget allocations and optimise schedules accordingly.

How does eRostering work?

An eRostering system like Softworks automatically assigns employees with the correct skills to the correct shifts so you can roster employees across departments and locations at the touch of a button. To get to this happy place of scheduling at the touch of a button you’ll need to let the system know the types of shifts you have in your organisation and the rules you have in place around assigning a person to a shift.

1. Create your shifts

Firstly you’ll need to create a list of all of the shifts and rotations in your organisation on the system.

2. Define the rules

Next, define what rules and constraints are in place around assigning a person to a shift. These may include factors such as working time directive compliance, the maximum number of shifts in a week, required skills, location, fairness rules, budgets, availability and staffing levels.

(Nice to know: Softworks includes a fully configurable HR system as standard which can be used to manage and maintain critical employee information that needs to be considered such as attendance, absence, leave of any type and training information.)

3. Build the roster

Once your roster rules are in place you can create the automated roster with the click of a mouse. The roster automatically fills the shifts for the time period you select in line with the rules you’ve set up in the system.

4. Communicate the roster to your team

When you’re happy with the roster, publish it. Employees can use the Employee Self-Service App on a desktop, laptop or smartphone to view their roster. Now doesn’t that sound a lot nicer than endless spreadsheets?

Final Thoughts

Employee rostering can be one of the most complex and difficult tasks for healthcare organisations but e-Rostering will help transform this process saving you time, reducing labor costs and improving patient care and employee satisfaction.

Softworks cloud-based Workforce Management system has complete eRostering functionality to make even complex Healthcare employee scheduling easy. To find out more, schedule a Demo today.

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