Biarri Workforce New Feature Release: July Edition

With the end of the Financial year coming to close, and as Businesses continue to adjust to our new normal, the team behind Biarri Workforce continue our commitment to improve and simplify workforce rostering and planning. With our users in mind, our development team has updated and created additional functionality to equip you the user with the necessary tools to improve the way you:

  • View KPI’s and create reporting for exporting;
  • Manage your employees work schedules across multiple rosters 
  • Improve visibility of rosters when planning with simplified user interface functionality and
  • The way employers manage employees fatigue and qualification compliance 

Read on to see how Biarri Workforce continues to simplify and prepare your workforce scheduler to create optimised workforce rosters and work schedules. 

  1. Roster Export Additional Employee Columns  

Reduce confusion and assure your employees with the option to increase your employees visibility with additional ‘Employee Fields’. When downloading or exporting your roster, you have the choice to include or exclude the following employee details from your roster. Better manage your employees’ details with the new employee columns. 

2. Include shifts from non-primary roster

Better manage individual employee rosters by being able to include shifts from non-primary rosters. When downloading rosters, include or exclude shifts from non-primary rosters with Biarri Workforce’s new toggle option. Perfect for employees who work across multiple departments and perform multiple functions, keep track and improve the way you plan and organise their roster.


3. Customisable report titles

Create clearer reports and configure ‘titles’ and ‘subtitles’ before downloading your roster. With the ‘Suggested Titles’ selector – correctly title and label your rosters based on intelligent suggestions.



4. Roster KPI’s – Paid hours/ total days sub totals 

Make more informed decisions with Biarri Workforce’s improved ‘RosterKPI’s’. With the enhanced KPI functionality, users will have the option to view the sub-total paid working hours and total days. Helpful and useful when dealing and managing fatigue, increase your workforce planners and users visibility over working hours, ensuring employee hours do not exceed CBA regulations.

5. Powerful roster view filters

Improve your user experience with the new Biarri Workforce filter options. By clicking on the following ‘filter’ icon dropdown in the Rostering’ tab, your user will now be able to organise and switch views by selecting the necessary filters, creating a more clearer and purposeful roster.

6. Fatigue and Qualification Compliance Reporting 

Found in the ‘Admin’ tab, users will now be able to export fatigue and qualification reports under the ‘Roster Validation’ sub header.
Make compliance and safety a priority by ensuring you have the correct employee with the correct qualification, to perform the necessary tasks. With Roster Validation’ reporting, your Workforce Planners and users will be able to stay up to date with employees who do not satisfy the requirements to perform specific tasks and roles. From alcohol tests to site compliance, roster validation will highlight when employees are in breach of rule specifications outlined.

If you want to know more about any of the features mentioned above, we invite you to leave your contact details in the contact form below and one of our team members will get in touch with you. Or if you want to know more about Biarri Workforce follow this link.

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Common challenges facing your workforce planner

Common Challenges Facing Your Workforce Planner

Roster Managers and Workforce Planners face the difficult task of planning and formulating rosters which are efficient but also address changing shifts and team member preferences and availability.

Assigning shifts can be a time consuming task that requires a lot of thought and consideration to achieve an optimised and efficient roster. Rosterers must assign the correct shift by skill and qualification all while considering staff preferences and availability, team dynamics, training requirements and enterprise agreement rules. In addition, the roster needs to deliver high overall utilisation and cost efficiency. A poor roster can result in dissatisfied employees and have a negative impact on the organisation’s bottom line. 

Here are a few common challenges that Roster Managers and Workforce Planners face when rostering and also some ideas on how these challenges can be overcome.

Managing Staff Preferences 

As a Roster Manager it can be difficult to capture and keep track of changes to employees preferences and availability. Simply rolling forward a prior period roster will not ensure that new requests can be met and worse may mean any issues or frustrations with previous rosters are repeated.  

Team members are one of the most important aspects of any organisation. When individuals can see their preferences and availability are being considered in the rosters produced it can greatly improve staff retention, job satisfaction and performance

In addition, rosters which repeatedly ignore staff preferences can lead to ongoing shift swapping and roster changes as employees find ways to structure their work to better meet their needs.  

Are your team members making the same shift swaps month after month to bend the roster to accommodate their preferences?

Shift work allows for employee flexibility, given there is often a range of shifts available. Flexibly considering employee preferences when rostering can enable parents to attend their children’s upcoming events, allow for staff members’ special occasions and remove the need for complex chains of shift swaps by employees once the roster is published.

Capturing staff preferences is the first step in solving this problem, followed by smart rostering to take account of many often competing preferences. This can be very challenging to get right, especially when roster teams are often equipped with nothing more than personal experience and excel roster spreadsheets

Using Biarri Workforce, managers and rosterers have the ability to capture all types of staff preferences and availability and take them into account when auto-generating rosters.  

Biarri Workforce has an open and flexible rules and preference interface which allows the rosterer to define preferences and availability in many ways. 

  • The structure of our rules interface means every type of roster preference a team member might have can be captured. Some examples of this include:
  • attaching preferences to individuals, groups or across the whole roster (e.g. David prefers nights but Steve, Damian and Lilibeth prefer to work weekends, whereas everyone on the roster must comply with the legislated fatigue thresholds);
  • making a rule for a once only event in that roster period, for a defined period of time or ongoing if it is recurring in nature (e.g. can I have next Thursday afternoon off to take my kids to the Shrek Matinee, or I would like every Monday morning off to play golf with my mates);
  • defining the rule as a hard constraint (e.g. must occur) or a soft constraint (would be good if it could occur) and enabling different weightings to be set on soft constraints;
  • creating rules to support team environments (e.g to prefer a team to be rostered together and to work together on a series of consecutive shifts); 
  • by reference to other team members (e.g. prefers to work with or not to work with other individuals – this can accommodate spouses or partners who work on the same roster to ensure they will always have someone at home with kids, or alternatively both can have does off together)

The preferences, availability and other rules defined in the rules interface are then considered when Biarri Workforce auto-generates the roster.   

Last Minute Shift Swapping 

Managing and dealing with last minute shift swaps by team members can be difficult to ensure that skills, fatigue and qualification requirements are met and to ensure the changes are recorded and updated to the master roster for payroll purposes.

Life happens, events outside of our control pop up and staff will need to miss work. The next challenge is finding a suitable replacement who is available, has the necessary skill set but also a replacement who will not breach any fatigue, EBA and workplace rules.

The lines of communication can be frantic, back and forth with text messages, emails and calls searching for a replacement. Finding someone to cover the gap is often hard enough.  But wouldn’t it be great if the process was automated to not only make finding a replacement easy, but also this is seamlessly reviewed and approved and automatically updated to the master roster.  In addition, the substitute should be equivalent or lower cost and not create issues (e.g. fatigue thresholds) later in the roster period.

Biarri Workforce has an in-built shift swap feature that assists managers and employees to best manage shift swaps. Available through the Biarri Workforce Mobile App, employees can easily Swap Shifts or Offer Shifts to other available employees and management can see this activity and approve a swap before it is finalised – keeping visibility and control over the execution of the roster.


Speak with a consultant today and remove the panic of finding a suitable replacement with the right skills and availability, with the Biarri Workforce shift swap features. Equip your Workforce Planner and Roster Manager with Biarri Workforce. Whether you are currently manually rostering or looking for a more accommodating solution, the team behind Biarri Workforce are dedicated to making Biarri Workforce work for you.

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Creating team friendly rosters and the benefits for everyone

Introduction

Creating rosters can be a complex task.  This is especially the case for difficult large workforces with a range of  employee preferences, combinations of full time, part time and casual team members, the need to adhere with EBA rules, fatigue, skills and competence requirements , meeting or exceeding customer service levels while always operating efficiently and controlling costs.  Clearly, producing a ‘good’ roster is more than making sure there is the right number of staff for the right amount of work. 

So, on top of all of this what does a team friendly roster look like and what are the benefits to employers and employees? 

A Friendly Roster

An example of what makes a team friendly roster.

Sarah is the Workforce Planner for the local hospital Emergency Department. She is tasked with organising and preparing the Doctors rosters which she does a month in advance for a 2 week working period. The roster parameters require each Doctor to work a specific amount of ‘unsocial’ hours covering morning, afternoon and night shifts.  Sarah always  does her best to consider the Doctors preferences for specific days off some of which are always the case and some are new requests each period for example to get a mid week night away to see Hamilton in Sydney or an afternoon off for the school swimming carnival.  

Sarah completes the roster by hand creating a compliant roster with all shifts covered and accommodating as many preferences as possible in as fair a manner as she can. However, is it always a ‘good’ roster from everyone’s perspective?

While a ‘good’ roster will vary from business to business and even with respect to  each employee depending on their individual circumstance, one aspect of ‘good’ roster from an employee perspective can be defined as being fair and equitable – team friendly. For example, while Sarah may have created a functional roster that ensures the ED department meets the service level requirements, Dr Brown might have worked the past 4 Saturdays in some capacity impacting on his ability to watch his children’s sports while another team member may have worked an equal amount of hours but more night shifts than other team members.  Although on the surface the roster was compliant and functional, it is not considered a team friendly roster given the unfairness and lack of equality amongst employees. 

In addition, there may be team members who prefer to work weekends, others who prefer nights, some who only work 3 days a week and still others who might be spouses and who cannot work at the same times as their partners – so that someone is home with junior.  

Further, the roster needs to consider patterns of work – moving from morning to afternoon and onto night shifts with then a number of days break.

This gets complex quickly!

A team friendly roster will consider all of these different preferences and requirements and provide shifts which are equitable and fair in providing each team member with the same proportion of night or weekend shifts (unless of course they prefer these) and evenly meets as many of their time off requests as possible.

Benefits

Adopting a team friendly roster has many  benefits to both employees and employers. These include:

Better work-life balance 

Your workforce will be made up of a range of different people with different interests and commitments outside of work. Commitments such as family, study, and sport for example. A study conducted by Gallup Reports found that 53% of employees said that an improved work-life balance was important to them. With a fair and equitable roster these other commitments and interests will be accommodated to the fullest extent possible, making work rosters more manageable and providing employees enjoy an improved work-life balance. 

Staff retention 

Improve staff retention with a balanced roster that is considerate of staff preferences and importantly fair and equitable across the team. There are many factors that contribute to employees leaving, such as career advancement, pay and benefits but also the nature of the rosters they are repeatedly asked to work. Employees have shown to be happier when they are able to balance both work and life commitments and are treated fairly  resulting in employees desire to stay in that job. This is especially important when retaining skilled staff or staff with experience that is hard to come by. By ensuring rosters are fair and equitable across all employees you will reduce conflict and ensure no employees feel stuck with the ‘unsocial’ shifts. 

Biarri Workforce provides open and flexible rules and preference capture functionality so hard or soft constraints and preferences can be considered in the roster creation and the powerful roster optimisation engine in Biarri Workforce allows the Sarah the workforce planner to set the roster objectives and generate team friendly rosters automatically in a matter of minutes.

By using Biarri Workforce, you will be able to improve work-life balance for your team members and ensure your roster is fair and equitable

Speak with a consultant today and see how Biarri Workforce can improve the way your business coordinates your human workforce. Whether you are currently rostering manually or looking for a more accommodating solution, the team behind Biarri Workforce are dedicated to making Biarri Workforce work for you. 

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Biarri Workforce New Feature: Updated Shift Swaps

At Biarri we understand the challenges that Workforce Planners and employees face when rosters are published. We understand that circumstances outside of work may change and affect the ability for an employee to complete a shift, conversely, Workforce Planners’ and Managers’ pain point of finding a replacement to cover a shift or reconfiguring the roster to suit. 

We have listened, and Biarri is excited to introduce the new enhanced Shift Swap feature on our Biarri Workforce Mobile App.

Created out of necessity, employees can now more simply either Swap Shifts or Offer Shifts to other available employees.

When swapping a shift, we’ve removed the stress of trying to identify which employees are available. Instructed by the rules engine, the Biarri Workforce App generates a list of compatible  employees to cover a shift. These compatible employees comply with rules defined in the Admin Tab, ensuring employees are compliant with skills & qualifications, fatigue and availability rules. 

See a step-by-step walkthrough of how simple swapping shifts has become.

 

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Worker Fatigue

Workforce Fatigue Management

It was around two years ago that Anita knew that she’d had enough. However, the ensuing two years had passed so quickly repeating the same task over and over again. 

So here she was again.

Anita is the workforce manager at a company which manages a large temporary, contracted, part time and/or casual workforce. They carry out a set of known tasks, some of which require qualifications, many of which don’t. In any given week, she will be juggling her Excel sheet and a phone to desperately contact replacements for people who call in sick that day while ensuring that any replacement doesn’t violate any of their strict fatigue requirements. 

Although fast paced, it’s not the type of fast paced that she had hoped for as most of it was trying to carry out tasks which can be easily automated. So why not automate?

The reality with Anita’s work is that it can be automated and there do exist tools which can do most of her job and actually make both her as well as her rostered employees’ lives better. Anita could spend less time manually carrying out error prone tasks and, simultaneously, her rostered employees could get the shifts they want – meaning less work for Anita having to offboard unhappy employees.

By automating the error prone and repetitive tasks, this would leave Anita more time to more accurately cost up rostering jobs, better manage her staff so the good people keep coming back and focus on more strategic aspects of rostering.

The dream state.

Biarri’s Workforce Fatigue Management Rostering Tool

Biarri’s Workforce rostering tool was built to solve problems exactly like Anita’s. It was designed for companies which have built their success off the back of flexible Excel sheets, however, have now outgrown them. The tool excels when the workforce has become too large or too variable and the rules too complex to efficiently allocate people to the required work in a way that keeps everyone happy.

This was a situation faced by one of Biarri’s partners, Field Mining Services. Their process was Excel driven like most companies in the region and required a lot of manual work and time intensive copy of data between spreadsheets. 

In addition, customer rules/regulations and reporting obligations were a major pain point, with countless hours spent working with Excel and Word to create reports manually. 

However, the real pain point arose when you had many users working in a single Excel spreadsheet causing significant errors and delays for the team who were trying to understand who made the change which broke everything.

These challenges triggered a roster to invoice overhaul which Biarri assisted to complete by configuring its workforce tool to make it optimally suited to FMS’ situation.

The team at Biarri were fantastic to work with. They really listened to the pain points of our business and delivered a fit solution.” – Field Mining Services

Workforce Fatigue Management Tool Capabilities

At its core Biarri’s Workforce tool is built to take the complexity out of rostering by allowing a powerful optimisation engine to do the high quality rostering for you. The engine automatically and dynamically creates compliant and desirable rosters. 

When creating the rosters, the engine takes into account fatigue and EBA requirements. The EBA and fatigue management capabilities are able to take into account things like enforced breaks after working certain periods depending on: 

  1. Location
  2. Type of work
  3. Time of work
  4. Length of work
  5. And more 

As well as many other similar rule types.

Biarri’s Workforce tool allows the bespoke configuration of a rich set of constraints suitable to any industry. When it comes to managing a highly flexible workforce (comprising many part timers, casuals and contractors), the engine can optimally look at options and do things like sharing employees across locations to improve flexibility. The benefits are:

  1. Smooth out demand, and the resulting work, to better distribute tasks to people who don’t have enough work to do in one location or too much in another
  2. Resolve skill mix requirements at a location where key skills are missing
  3. Reduce the amount of onboarding, hiring and redundancies of staff due to more flexible use of staff
  4. Create a better employee experience by creating the flexibility to cater to staff needs
  5. And more

The functional user interface allows the easy management of flexible and continually changing rosters for staff, for example, when employees call in sick.

As well as being capable of catering to complex work requirements, the tool employs modern web based technologies to integrate seamlessly via REST APIs into payroll and T&A tools. This means you can avoid complex integrations and replacements of existing tools. 

The Biarri Workforce Rostering Application integrates into any stack with predefined interfaces.

Typical Outcomes

So what are the benefits of using optimisation and automation to do your rostering? For customers like Field Mining Services it is:

  • Better workforce fatigue management
  • A complete understanding of the value chain from mine to port
  • Substantially increased compliance with site specific access rules including fatigue, D&As, and site specific qualifications.
  • Increased visibility of workforce fatigue across multiple job sites.
  • Significantly reduced overall administration effort
  • The ability to tackle the next phase of growth with certainty around one of the most challenging areas – staff and fatigue management
  • Transparency across all departments and a single source of truth.

In other industries we have also seen benefits with improved employee engagement and experience by being able to take into account employee preferences and desires and then automatically catering to these needs. This leads to employers becoming employers of choice and staff bringing their experience and good habits back to your organisation instead of another casual staff provider. 

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Healthcare Solutions Thumbnail

The Biarri Score: Predictive Analytics for better integrated healthcare

Many Health and Hospital services around the world have introduced integrated care activities to coordinate Primary (Community and GPs) and Secondary (Hospitals) care levels in order to increase the effectiveness of care being provided at all levels. 

Biarri delivered a predictive data analytics solution which successfully identified hospital patients in the community who were most likely to readmit to hospitals. Statistical analysis proved the Biarri Solution is able to identify the top 1% of the population at risk of hospitalisation with 90% accuracy.

In January 2018, Ron Calvert, the CEO of Gold Coast Health and Hospital Services (GCHHS) was in the news recognising Biarri’s predictive analytics in the form of a ‘Biarri Score’, which predicts an individual’s likelihood of readmission to hospital with ‘remarkable levels of accuracy’. Check out the article here.

The Biarri Score is now in place in the Gold Coast University Hospital emergency department. Also, patient criticality scores are integrated into local GP practices to provide intra-facility collaboration of healthcare services and prevent unnecessary admissions.

This application of Commercial Mathematics has resulted in increasingly better identification of patient who are likely to readmit, in order to improve the effectiveness of the Integrated Care activities and reduce demand on emergency departments.

 

Get in touch to learn more about Biarri’s Predictive Analytics capability or to learn more about applicaitons of Commercial Mathematics in other areas!

Biarri -Hospital and Health Services

Trimming away hospital costs: A bi-product of saving lives with statistics

Healthcare service delivery in most systems can be described as fragmented at best. In many healthcare systems, there has been very little continuity of care and integration for services provided by General Practices (GP), Hospital and Health Services (HHS) and other healthcare providers. Integrated Care is a worldwide trend in healthcare reforms that focuses on co-ordinating these different services.

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Health Analytics

Analytics, just what the doctor ordered

Can Analytics and Optimisation be ‘Just what the Doctor ordered’ for struggling Australian Hospitals and Health Services?

In Australia consumers have more access to information than ever before and are demanding increasing accountability from their doctors, nurses health plans and, better health care quality. The Hospital and Health Services (HHS) industry despite struggling under the weight of an ageing population, a shortage in doctors and nurses, increased regulation, accountability, governance and budgetary oversight, are continually required to provide more with less.

The healthcare industry requires smarter, more informed decisions to enable improved efficiency, better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes.

Research in 2012 by IBM into the Healthcare Industry in the US confirmed mounting evidence of entrenched inefficiencies and sub-optimal clinical outcomes. The report highlighted how building an analytics focus can help these Health organisations harness “big data” to create actionable insights, set their future vision, improve outcomes and reduce time to value.

The authors note that the abundance of data that bombards healthcare professionals both facilitates and complicates the ability of healthcare providers to achieve and influence desirable outcomes. It appears clear that entrenched systemic inefficiencies in the health systems are at least in part attributed to the ineffective gathering, sharing and use of information

The glut of information makes it hard to differentiate data which can be used to generate powerful insights, from clutter. In fact, the dilemma presented by too much data and too little insight – is cited in the research as an increasingly daunting obstacle standing in the way of better service delivery and improved patient outcomes.

The daunting challenges facing the healthcare industry today make for compelling arguments to expand the role of analytics

The study confirmed that analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data, and help healthcare organizations deliver on efficiency improvements and better patient outcomes. In Australia the introduction of Activity Based Funding (ABF) has promoted the use of data as the essential input informing critical decisions by Managers, Administrators and Clinicians. Not surprisingly HHS are increasingly looking to move from data processing to data analysis and applying insights to financial outcomes. Australian HHS are just starting to recognise how the power of mathematics through analytics and optimisation can be utilised to consume, unlock and apply new insights from information.

Analytics can provide the mechanism to sort through this mountain of complexity and data

Despite the availability of new methods of analytics that can be used to drive clinical and operational improvements, Australian HHS continue to function with a traditional baseline of transaction monitoring using basic reporting tools, spreadsheets and application reporting. As in the US Health system Australian HHS must face-up to the challenge to move from the traditional model to one that incorporates predictive analytics and enables organizations to “see the future,” and create more personalised healthcare and predict patient behavior.

Advanced analytics and optimisation approaches can take full advantage of the ‘Data deluge’ to generate powerful insights which deliver better outcomes

Today, most HHS use some form of descriptive analytics. They are typically using reporting tools and applications descriptively to understand what has happened in the past and to classify and categorize historical data. However, as their analytics expectations mature, HHS are looking more toward predictive analytics techniques, which take an understanding of the past to predict future activities and model scenarios using simulation and forecasting. The report notes that Enterprise analytics, evidence-based medicine and clinical outcome analytics can all be supported by these more advanced capabilities. For example, analytics can enable the compilation of information about trends, patterns, deviations, anomalies and relationships and reveal key insights.Biarri Optimisation Software Banner

Some Hospital and Health Services are taking a proactive approach

Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) is one example of an Australian HHS organisation leading the way by embracing predictive analytics to improve demand for better service delivery and enhanced patient outcomes. Most recently Biarri Optimisation worked with GCUH to enhance their understanding of expected future demand and to develop insight into opportunities to better allocate resources. Through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation GCUH improved their knowledge of forecasted demands for the next Financial Year, allowing improved capacity planning requirements for physical resources and staffing resources equating to better workforce optimisation.

Biarri and GCUH demonstrated the value of quantitative analysis in forecasting patient admissions and QWAUs and used this to provide more efficient capacity and resource planning.

For most organisations today, data visualisation, historic trend analysis and forecasting, and standardized reporting are the analytics elements that provide the most value. However, that is likely to change. The research showed that while data visualisation will always be a critical element, increased emphasis will be placed on simulations and scenario development and analytics that are applied within various business processes.

Biarri Commercial Mathematics

To learn more about how Biarri can help your HHS organisation benefit from advanced analytics and optimisation go to www.biarri.com or contact

Sam Rowse: Email: sam.rowse@biarri.com, Mobile: +61 458 004 220

Biarri diagnosing Hospital and Health Services

A major part to the national health reform act 2011, was the implementation of national activity based funding (ABF) for Australian Public Hospitals. The model provides incentives to hospitals showing initiative and leadership in transparency in the delivery and funding of Hospital and Health Services across Australia.

The problem that many hospitals are now facing is that they use a limited form of descriptive analytics. Hospitals are typically using tools that aggregate and classify historical data however lack the rigor and skillset to predict future demand, trends or patterns.

The Gold Coast University Hospital approached Biarri to assist in forecasting demand for the next financial year. Being under external and internal pressure with new government rules and regulation around ABF, it was imperative that they could properly determine future demand and act on any issues or opportunities.

To optimise their capacity planning efforts, Biarri has developed a tool that allows GCUH understand their data through the application of customised predictive analytics and optimisation through our cloud based platform – Biarri Workbench.

If you feel as though Biarri could help you, feel free to get in touch

Tom Forbes, Chief Executive officer
E: tom.forbes@biarri.com PH: 0408 703 436
Sam Rowse, Chief Sales Officer
E: sam.rowse@biarri.com ph: 0458 004 220