How long should your self-roster window be?

December 12, 2017bestpractice

More feedback from the self-roster season. We have had a number of discussions about how long you should allow for people to pick their shifts in a self-roster process.

The answer is: two weeks.

This is shorter than almost any period of time suggested by our customers when we raise this topic with them. Often roster administrators suggest a month, or propose to leave the window open for 3-4 months, so that it closes the week before the roster is due to start.

Why not longer than 2 weeks?

The old adage of activity taking the time you allow for it applies particularly well here. If you allow much longer then participants lose focus, the reminders lose impact, and the basis for how you calculated the quotas can change which opens up disputes about quotas.

One customer recently managed to fill two-thirds of their 16-month roster within 6 hours of the window opening, and three-quarters was filled within 24 hours. This is not unusual. Leaving the window open longer does not encourage stragglers, especially if the good shifts are already taken by the time they log on.

Why close it months before the roster is due to start?

HosPortal's self-roster process is designed to make sure your roster is completely filled immediately the window closes. This could mean allocating people shifts if they have not already picked their quota. So participants will want confirmation of their shifts ASAP (and if you have mucked up your quota calcuations and you are still short of shifts after the forced allocations, you will want to know this ASAP, too!)

(Image courtesy of nurseswatch.com.au)

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