911 Dispatch Agency Finds Solution for Personnel Scheduling Management
We had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica, an administrative manager for Shascom 9-1-1 in Redding, CA. She has been with the department for 23 years and is currently responsible for scheduling, training, hiring and recruiting. I wanted to learn more about how they have been able to successfully manage their schedules over the last 4 years and what they did before finding software.
Check out our interview below to understand their journey and how they found a solution that worked for their 24x7 personnel scheduling:
1.) What shifts do you run? (8, 10, 12-hour or something different)
"12-hour shifts and occasionally an 8 plan. We also have administrators who work 10-hour shifts."
2.) What kind of schedules and rotations do you run?
"4-month rotations, 12-hour shifts. We work in teams so days and nights, then a-side and b-side."
3.) Would you consider your schedules complex?
"Yes, we are an agency of around 40 people, however we have different training levels for each dispatcher and different requirements for daily minimum staffing."
4.) How were you managing personnel schedules, time off, etc. before PlanIt scheduling software?
"We tried [another software program] for approx. 4 months, prior to that we used an excel spreadsheet."
5.) Why did you choose PlanIt as your scheduling solution?
"Ease of use and price."
6.) What were the concerns or risks you were facing when deciding on a scheduling provider?
"Whether or not a system would be able to document the type of scheduling we needed with different training and requirements among our dispatchers."
7.) Does your agency adopt change well?
"No, but I was thankful we tried PlanIt since the previous company we tried did not work out. And it was for the best because PlanIt is so much better and easier to use, our staff actually responded well to the new system."
8.) Do you think there are benefits for both employees and supervisors? What do you think the main difference is from each point of view?
"I think supervisors definitely benefit because the scheduling is so easy and in general you can figure out what you need to schedule wise. Running reports definitely makes a supervisor’s job easier. Manager overtime bids and awards is easier for a supervisor because everything is time stamped in the system. I would like to be able to use the f-factor for overtime but, haven’t been able to find a way to make it work for us.
Benefits to dispatchers are being able to use the app from anywhere and being able to receive text blasts."
Does your department schedule 24x7? Do you have complex schedules? How do you manage them?
In addition to Shascom 9-1-1, we come across a lot of other departments who utilize paper, whiteboards, and excel spreadsheets to manage their schedules. These methods allow you to plan and draw out schedules. However, they fall short when it comes to communicating changes and keeping everyone up to date. Communication is so important in general but especially when it comes to staffing and making sure you have enough people each and every day to properly carry out daily tasks.
There are various schedule changes that lead to confusion and errors if not communicated properly. For example, let’s say someone calls off last minute and you now do not have enough staff to cover the shift. If this information is not communicated to the rest of your employees, you will be short on coverage and daily operations will not be feasible.
In scheduling software, you can utilize the schedule by making last minute changes whenever you need to and send out email, text or phone call alerts to individual people or groups of people. These tools allow you to efficiently resolve whatever staffing issue is thrown at you that day.
Want to Learn more about Shascom 9-1-1's experience with PlanIt Schedule?
- How to Implement a New System in Your Department: 5 Phases
- What Shift Length Will Increase Your Officers Quality of Work Life?
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Negotiate the Switch to 12 Hour Shifts
PlanIt Police is an online scheduling system for police departments. PlanIt is developed by Ragnasoft, Inc which has specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.
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