Why central flex pools do not work…
You often bump into central flex pools, especially in health care, but also in other branches. That is a pool of temporary staff and other flexible employees who are employed in different places in the organization.
The staff planning of the flex pool is organised centrally, for example by the planning office or a flexi agency. The goal is to create a safety net to plug gaps in the 'duty roster' in the departments, and to organize the staffing more efficient and cheaper while maintaining quality of service.
That sounds very nice, but in practice this is different.
It doesn't work, because...
1. Team managers regularly…
2. Permanent employees preferably ...
3. Flex pool staff are often ...
What you see is that the central flex pool gets into a downward spiral. Confidence in the flex pool decreases; services are reported to the flex pool less often and shorter in advance. The chance that a (suitable) flex pool employee will still be found is getting ever smaller. And that contributes to the loss of trust.
The central flex pool set up in good faith disappears on the background. And the organization adds an unfinished and thus failed implementation to the list...
Or after disappointing results of the central flex pool, a lot of effort goes into a counter movement; decentralization.
A lack of commitment is the cause
Things often go wrong in the 'establishment' of central flex pools, because the departments and employees (may) choose to accept the fun but not the responsibilities. Departments may decide for themselves whether or not they use the flex pool, and when and how. The flex pool employees also have a lot of freedom to determine if, when and where they want to work.
The reasons of organizations, departments, and employees to give each other (and take) this space are legitimate. That does not, however, affect the conclusion: it is the lack of commitment that will be the death of the central flex pool.
Commitment is the solution
The situation as outlined above existed in a successful care organization. The organization was faced with the choice to remove or re-design the flex pool. From an internal investigation, it appeared that there was a great need for stability and time saving by a centrally organized 'safety net'. In the many discussions that were held during the internal investigation it also appeared that:
The basis for success had been laid. And they worked happily ever after...
Questions or comments regarding this blog? Contact Timewax.
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