Cooperative for Human Services, Inc.

The Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. (CHS) is a nonprofit, multi-service organization that supports adults with developmental disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With some 400 employees who support people with disabilities in community-based settings, CHS operates 24-hours per day and provide services in hundreds of locations throughout the state from residential services to independent living supports to guardianship services for people with intellectual and other related developmental disabilities.

These program models provide a continuum of services and accommodate a wide range of support needs including services designed to support people who may have multiple disabilities, complex medical and/or behavioral health needs, and whose needs are changing as a result of aging or other circumstances. CHS designs flexible residential supports that provide a bridge and formal transition to living with greater independence in the community.

Challenges

The Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. (CHS) approached Acumen Data Systems and presented their vision of a highly integrated, user-friendly system that addressed their complex business requirements. First, the renowned social services provider was using a primarily manual time, attendance, and scheduling workforce management system. But they had a remote workforce in multiple locations with complex, individualized employee training requirements. Next, its employees had flexible and frequently changing work schedules—from direct employees with reoccurring default schedules to per diem employees with shifting schedules and locations.

This meant each employee could possess a wide range of certifications—from counseling and psychology degrees to health provider certifications.

CHS WANTED A COMPANY TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGY THAT CONSIDERED HOW THE EMPLOYEES WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PERCEIVED INFLUENCE OR CONTROL WOULD RESPOND AND EXPERIENCE THE SYSTEM. IN SHORT, CHS WANTED A SOLUTION FOR EMPLOYEES THAT BUILT ENTHUSIASM NOT
RESENTMENT.

Another significant challenge was that CHS needed a responsive time and attendance and scheduling system that could provide information to managers in real-time and one that automated many functions to eliminate management redundancies and improve organizational outcomes.

CHS wanted a company to develop and implement software and technology that considered how the employees with the least amount of perceived influence or control would respond and experience the system. In short, CHS wanted a solution for employees that built enthusiasm not resentment.

Solutions

Acumen Data Systems responded quickly to partner with CHS and develop a highly customizable, real-time, hosted, management solutions to address their time, labor, communication, training, and scheduling. Their stakeholders were many, including employees, the management team, and the people CHS serves. “Acumen Data Systems was selected because the company truly understands the importance of designing business software that improved the experience of the end user,” says Rebecca Sarvela, Director of Human Resources. “From our frontline managers to our direct support workforce—all of whom support our mission.”

Acumen designed a technological and software solution to meet all of CHS’s changing operational needs. It’s a system that sets up preferences such as time of day, day of week, distances to job site, and then matches those certifications and preferences to the demand
requirements.

“ACUMEN’S SOLUTION ENSURED THAT EMPLOYEES FELT CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER AND CHS AS A WHOLE,” SAYS REBECCA SARVELA, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN
RESOURCES.

For instance, a home in Arlington with 5 residents needs a female, medically trained staff member from 7a – 3p, on Monday and Saturday. The Acumen solution allows any manager to search for a female, medication trained, CPR certified, etc. staff person with in a user defined zip code to fill that shift. Further, the system provides employee direct access to any available shift within the organization. The Acumen system then matches the staff with the shift requirements and then sends automated communication to both the employee and manager. Once the manager approves the staff selection, the system then documents that shift as filled.

Through the scheduling component, managers input CHS program schedules. Next, the system matches staff that has worked at the location and has the required certifications and training. Then the employee is assigned a particular shift or location.
“Acumen’s solution ensured that employees felt connected to each other and CHS as a whole,” says Sarvela. “It helped us make sure that every shift is covered by the appropriately trained personnel, which in turn ensured the health and safety of the people we serve and employees.”

CHS employees and managers can request time off, share open or available shifts, sign-up for shifts, manage certifications, register for training, communicate with all levels of management, more easily change their schedules, view open positions, etc. from any computer with internet access.

The Story

ACUMEN DATA SYSTEM COMBINED THE BEST ASPECTS OF THREE OF ITS PREMIERE PRODUCTS—LABORVIEW AND CLOCKVIEW AND SHIFTVIEW— TO UNIQUELY ACHIEVE OUTSTANDING WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT.

First, CHS wanted to increase the control of each of its employees over choosing the shifts that were available to them and the hours they would be needed to work. Employees needed to feel engaged and their managers needed to focus on activities and strategies that enhance employee training, improve the quality of services, and enrich the lives of the people that CHS serves.

Acumen Data System combined the best aspects of three of its premiere products—LaborVIEW and WebCLOCK and ShiftVIEW—to uniquely achieve outstanding workforce management outcomes across CHS:

Increasing Engagement

Employees control their schedules, 24 hours per day from any computer with an internet connection, at home, at work, school, etc. Employees electronically request open positions and shifts based on their availability or choose to be “auto-scheduled” each month; an electronic process that matches employee preferences (days, hours, locations, etc.), employee credentials (i.e. certification, training, experience, etc.) with the available shifts. This increases the ability to achieve a work–life balance and decreases unnecessary absenteeism.

Acumen designed the system to host internal messaging. This allows employees access to information about the people they would serve and the

program or the organization based upon the location or current work assignment. It sends auto emails regarding schedules and open shifts. The Acumen solution allows employees to locate all available shifts throughout the organization and request their desired shifts.

ACUMEN’S LABORVIEW HAS AN ENCRYPTED EMPLOYEE PORTAL THAT MANAGES THE EMPLOYEE’S WORK SCHEDULE, TRAININGS WITH SELF–SERVICE REGISTRATION,PERSONAL APPOINTMENTS AND OTHER REMINDERS.

The system sends an automatic message to assigned manager so he or she can approve or deny the shift. Once the manager approves or denies the shift, the system then sends an automatic message to the employee. If the shift is approved, the system automatically fills the shift and it is no longer listed as "open". If it is denied (i.e. due to certification requirements), the shift remains "open" for other employees to request.

The messaging is currently contained within the system. The employee logs on from any computer with internet access and can view all "public" messages - those that do not contain any confidential information. The employee logs onto an authorized computer and can see all messages associated with that particular program location or the individuals served.
Increasing Employee Effectiveness Acumen’s LaborVIEW has an encrypted employee portal that manages the employee’s work schedule, trainings with self–service registration, personal appointments and other reminders.

Increasing Accountability

Every employee logs in and out, allocating time spent to a particular program, department, project, etc. This information is then imported into payroll and accounting to align with the budget, monthly financials and state contracts. Any manager can view and track

who is logged in, when they logged in and where they are working. The system automatically flags “late punches” – identifying chronic tardiness, flags “early punches” – identifying employees who are chronically leaving early, “missing punches” – employees absent from scheduled hours, etc.
Increasing Reporting and Tracking

“WITH CONSISTENT, AGENCY- WIDE USE OF THE SYSTEM, WE ACHIEVED OUR EXPECTED
OUTCOMES RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS. IT MEANS AN APPROXIMATELY 360 PERCENT DECREASE IN OVERTIME.”

This system decreases the use of nonessential overtime. And was the most profoundly affected. CHS was averaging more than 450 hours of overtime per pay period before the Acumen solution.
“Now we average approximately 125 hours per pay period,” says Rebecca Sarvela. “With consistent, agency-wide use of the system, we achieved our expected outcomes resulting in significant savings. It means an approximately 360 percent decrease in overtime.”

This effectively increased the utilization of per diem employees through reporting mechanisms that project the hours of work each week and allowed managers to more effectively schedule and deploy its workforce while helping employees maximize their hours.

Increasing Compliance

CHS has multiple contractual obligations and federal and state regulations including employee baseline requirements (from certifications to mandatory training to employment authorizations to driver’s licenses). Acumen’s solution allowed the management of these complexities through a series of automatic alerts (90, 60, 30 days from expiration) to both the employee and the supervising manager. Acumen built in safeguards. For instance, once the renewal date expired and acceptable documentation of a mandatory requirement has not been received—such as SFA, CPR, MAP, or PAC—the employee is automatically “suspended” from the system.

WITH LABORVIEW’S LEAVE MANAGEMENT FEATURE SET, FEDERAL, STATUTORY AND COMPANY POLICY CAN BE FORECASTED, VISUALLY REPRESENTED IN REAL-TIME, AUDITABLE AND REPORTABLE.

In addition, Acumen solved the challenges by more efficiently tracking FMLA hours and other state or federally mandated leave time. Many labor law and company policy compliances can be managed using the features found in LaborVIEW. With LaborVIEW’s Leave Management feature set, federal, statutory and company policy can be forecasted, visually represented in real-time, auditable and reportable. Sick days, vacation days, holidays et cetera can be accrued, readily accessible and managed to control scheduled and unscheduled time off.

Tracking Absenteeism

Acumen’s LaborVIEW provides real-time analytics in a dashboard format that represents unscheduled absences and scheduled out of office absences. A simple click of a mouse sorts and displays those who are absent filtered by user login. The login policies filter who (i.e. supervisor) sees who in the system.

At the individuals time card level, when absent, coverage can be displayed so those employees certified can be selected to cover for the absent employee. “Absent” is an exception that can be filtered on for sorting the time cards, reports and analytics throughout LaborVIEW. Weekly, monthly and yearly reports can be view for absence and other exceptions to identify trends and take corrective action. When absence tracking is tied to LaborVIEW, perfect attendance can be awarded.

The point system allows for demerits and awards for good attendance. The use of attendance calendars at review periods provides visibility to the supervisor and

employee. CHS awards good attendance so the reduction is significant. Absence management is easier with a tool that helps by alerting in real-time through messaging and email. That same tool helps find coverage for the absence. The tool compiles all occurrences for management action and can award perfect attendance. LaborVIEW helps identify the burden of absenteeism and reduces absenteeism when aligned with company policy and regulations.

ACUMEN DATA SYSTEM’S SOFTWARE SOLUTION MEANS THAT EMPLOYEES ARE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER AND TO CHS, ENSURING THAT THE ROBUST MULTI-SERVICES ORGANIZATION CONTINUES ITS AWARD-WINNING CARE.

With rates and pay codes assignable to absences, the overhead cost of absenteeism is readily accessible in reports. LaborVIEW’s Hours Analysis Report can be used to “wizard” reports for any type of comparison or impact of hours absent plus many more attendance data at your fingertips for review and analysis. The reports can be auto emailed at any frequency to provide the facts and data to help control absenteeism.

In short, Acumen Data System’s software solution means that employees are connected to each other and to CHS, ensuring that the robust multi-services organization continues its award-winning care to its clients and its mission is met: to empower, support, and expand the knowledge, skill, and natural capacities of the people they serve to direct and live full and meaningful lives within their community.