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5 Ways To Reduce Agency Costs In 2023

Everyone in the senior living industry is all too familiar with the pains agency staffing can bring. While necessary to cover unexpected absences in the short term, it can be expensive and may not provide the same level of continuity and familiarity for residents compared to using internal staff.

Fluctuating staffing levels, underutilized resources, and inefficient scheduling methods all play a role in spiking agency usage. To find reliable solutions operators must take a pause and think clearly about different, out-of-the-box solutions that can create a long-lasting impact change.

5 Ways To Reduce Agency Usage 

Flexible Scheduling & Call-Out 

Flexible scheduling can involve offering a variety of shift options such as full-time, part-time, and floating as well as the ability to tailor shifts according to length and start time, to allow staff to better balance their work and personal commitments. Flexible scheduling improves engagement retention, attracts a greater variety of workers, and increases the overall availability and ease at which staff can pick up available shifts and administrators can connect with available resources to fill last-minute vacancies prior to resorting to agency staff. 

Team Members Sharing 

If your organization is compromised of multiple facilities and/or divisions, accessing available or underutilized staff across your facilities prior to engaging agency staff can make a real difference. 

For example, a staff member at a neighboring facility may be looking for a second job or even considering leaving for a full-time position at a competitor while your schedulers are unable to fill all the vacancies in their primary facility. By tapping into all available resources you’re ensuring you’re maximizing the potential of all staff as well as providing greater work opportunities while reducing your overall agency usage. 

Secondary Positions 

You can additionally greater utilize your in-house staff by offering the ability to pick up shifts for multiple positions. For example, a frontline worker working in wellness who may additionally be qualified and skilled as a recreational staff can pick up last-minute vacancies that fit around their schedules. 

Similarly to sharing staff among your various facilities, allowing your staff to pick-up shifts for secondary positions gives you the ability to maximize the total shifts filled by your staff without tapping increasing your agency usage while also offering your staff variety and opportunity for greater experience in the workplace. 

Performance Bonuses and Incentives

You can also consider offering incentives and benefits to internal staff to encourage greater shift attendance and pick-up. This can include incentives that could be used for hard-to-fill shifts such as Friday overnights, can be used to influence greater hours worked by your total workforce, and even encourage perfect attendance, preventing unexpected vacancies before they happen.  

While requiring additional investment, incentives allow retirement facilities to save greatly on agency hours while showing appreciation for your staff to go the extra mile, creating a happier and more productive workforce. 

Some of the best examples we’ve seen include: 

One-Time Gift Card - Offering a $25-$50 gift card (gas, coffee, etc.) 
Hourly Bonuses - Offer increased hourly rates for shifts that are routinely being sent to your agency 
Tiered benefits - Tiered benefits for part-time staff (health and dental) as they work more and greater amounts of hours on a monthly basis
Attendance Bonus - Offering your workforce an hourly bonus (ex. +$1 an hour, every hour in the pay period) when they attend 100% of their shifts, limiting the number of unexpected vacancies 


Build Your Own Internal Agency (aka float pool) 

Lastly, you can reduce and even eliminate outside agency usage by building a reliable team of your own. This can involve recruiting and training a group of staff to be on-call for unexpected vacancies rather than automatically turning to agencies. By having a dedicated internal agency team in place, retirement facilities can respond to unexpected absences or emergencies more quickly and efficiently, without the need for agency staffing. Maintaining a high level of care and continuity throughout your facility. 

How BookJane Can Help 

Bookjane helps you get control of your staffing with our automated and flexible scheduling and callout platform, offering the ability to: 

  • Deploy your internal staffing pools to fill shift vacancies
  • Sharing staff with nearby community locations to maximize utilization
  • Allowing qualified staff to pick up shifts for secondary positions
  • Empowering your team members to pick up shifts on a self-serve app 

We have helped operators like Amica Senior Lifestyles, Verve Senior Living and WCS Cares cut agency costs by 50-100% in as little as 3 weeks. 

Learn how BookJane can help you eliminate your agency usage and gain operational efficiency!