Health centre improves employee satisfaction by eliminating the paper trail

The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) was drowning in paper. And that was before it embarked on an expansion.

The Barrie, Ontario regional health facility, which provides care and specialty services to nearly a half million residents in the areas of cancer care, stroke services, orthopedics, intensive care and mental health, now has more than 350 physicians, 2,600 employees and 850 volunteers – all of whose time and attendance were being tracked manually.

RVH’s expansion meant another 600 staff, and already the centre was dealing with employees who weren’t getting paid accurately, and fixing errors was adding even more work to an already time consuming, paperbound process.

Tanya Cripps, analyst team lead for human resources at RVH, said doubling the size of the facility was further incentive to implement time and attendance software, but just as importantly, it was on a journey to improve the organization’s culture and the employee experience. “One of the basics of coming to work is getting paid accurately.”

Its existing time and attendance tracking lacked transparency and consistency in application, she said, and the manual time and attendance tracking was a time-consuming process that often resulted in rework in the payroll process. “There were lots of payroll corrections.” In addition, it was distracting for staff and had the potential to result in pay inequity.

The very manual time and attendance system meant that only administrators and unit leaders had access at the unit level to see who was working at a particular time. If someone didn’t show up for a shift, said Cripps, the right people didn’t always find out. “It was a lot of paper and processes to get information back and forth.” Changes such vacation and shift trading were all hand delivered. “We would get multiple copies of the same request.”

Aside from employees being unhappy, Cripps said front-line and executive management lacked access to real-time insights and decision-support data to inform decisions that affected immediate operational needs as well as to respond to evolving the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of systems that could give us what we need to do,” said Cripps. “Typically, decisions are left to individual hospitals, but have to follow established guidelines.” RVH’s time tracking requirements had its own nuances, she added. It needed a solution for employees, but not physicians and volunteers, and it had to accommodate four different union groups and one non-union group. “Each have their own scheduling and overtime rules.”

RVH was using automated scheduling from Kronos Canadian Systems Inc. in Mississauga as part of its efforts to improve efficiency and productivity, as well to ensure compliance with union and non-union rules, said Cripps, so it made sense to expand its Kronos workforce management deployment with additional capabilities, including time and attendance, absence management, mobile, and analytics capabilities.

By putting multiple pieces from Kronos into place, said Cripps, RVH has opened visibility and streamlined processes. Self-service capabilities allow for shift change requests online that automatically flow through, and not only can RVH track people on standard shifts, but their attendance conferences and other events. On the workforce side, employees use a badge and a fingerprint scan to clock in, and the system applies all union contract rules, she said. Managers and administrators have better visibility and RVH has increased auditing capabilities, and is looking to mine data to be optimize the delivery of care.

Moving to Kronos allowed RVH to support the expansion of 600 additional employees without additional HR and payroll staff, and Cripps said there are always things it can do to better leverage Kronos functionality, including the mobile functionality so employees aren’t tied to a work or home computer to access shift information or request a change.

Most of all, RVH has got ahead of its payroll issues, said Cripps. RVH has done employee engagement surveys for a number of years, and scores are improving every year. “Pay is no longer an issue mentioned on any surveys.”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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