Written by Kevin Volz.
In a delicate environment like a senior care facility, having proper staffing levels is critical to ensuring the care and comfort of residents and their visitors. If one caregiver calls in sick before a shift, management is left scrambling, spending hours trying to find someone to take their place.
Cleveland, Ohio’s OnShift has developed a technology that eliminates the stress of finding a replacement. With their communications platform, it takes just one click of a button to notify all qualified and available staff that there is an opening in the schedule. Employees receive text messages, emails, phone calls or push notifications to make them aware of the opportunity, and can respond in the same way.
“Our goal at OnShift is to shorten the amount of time it takes to fill unexpected scheduling changes and reduce the amount of overtime a facility has to pay its other employees if that empty shift is not filled,” said Mark Woodka, CEO of OnShift.
OnShift was built specifically for the long-term care and senior living industries, which allows the company to use industry-specific terminology and reporting data in their software. Clients include skilled nursing centers, assisted living buildings and continuing care retirement communities. In addition to managing staffing schedules, OnShift can also be used to identify the need for new employees and facilitate the hiring process.
Woodka first got involved with OnShift as an angel investor and joined the company as CEO shortly after making his investment. OnShift received its first funding from the North Coast Angel Fund and JumpStart, both northeast Ohio partners of Ohio Third Frontier. The company used this funding to launch in the marketplace, hire salespeople and market their product. As part of the investment, JumpStart assigned an entrepreneur-in-residence to OnShift. This mentor was vital for Woodka, who had never before been the CEO of a startup.
“The mentoring focused on raising money to fund a business, communicating with investors, and the process of building a sustainable new business,” said Woodka.
OnShift started with four employees and now has 116, with staff growth of 60 percent each year. With the American population aging quickly, Woodka says he sees no sign of a slowdown for his company.
While Woodka became involved with OnShift after the company had already been founded in northeast Ohio, he says the area is a key component of the company’s success.
“Cleveland is a great place to build a business,” said Woodka. “We intentionally look for funding opportunities within Ohio, and the state has built a great system that supports startups. Ohio also has a tremendous cost advantage for businesses. We are located in downtown Cleveland and probably pay five times less for rent than entrepreneurs in Boston or Silicon Valley. There is less competition for talent and a lower cost of living, so employee wages are more affordable.”
“If the Ohio Third Frontier system did not exist, this company would never have gotten off the ground,” said Woodka. “When we raised the money from JumpStart and the North Coast Angel Fund, we were too new to receive investments from national investor groups, and we had maxed out funding from our angel investors. We would have died on the vine. Instead, we have 116 employees and 33,000 feet of office space.”