Widget Brain’s AI driven technology provides more than just long term ECEC workforce planning solutions
The Sector > Provider > Enterprise Solutions > Widget Brain’s AI driven technology provides more than just long term ECEC workforce planning solutions

Widget Brain’s AI driven technology provides more than just long term ECEC workforce planning solutions

by Jason Roberts

June 07, 2022

Widget Brain, the next generation strategic planning tool that has pushed the boundaries as to how organisations across the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector capture team demand requirements as far as twelve months into the future, continues to adapt and introduce existing features specifically for the ECEC sector.


“Over the course of the last eighteen months we have become acutely aware of the challenges faced by the ECEC sector when it comes to securing and retaining educator talent,” Vihan Patel, Country Manager Australia said acknowledging that services across the country are battling staffing shortages, ever present illness challenges, and ratio and regulation compliance. 


“With conditions so tight the pressure on service leaders to manage existing teams effectively is becoming a priority,” he continued. 


“Without having a sense of wellbeing across your educator workforce, and the ability to meet their needs, all sorts of secondary effects like rising sick leave, higher team turnover and lower team engagement follow.”


“To address this we have been working very hard to integrate ‘soft rules’ into our automated scheduling technology to cater for specific educator needs within the more standardised broader rosters.”


“Soft rules” a crucial component to building schedules that meet educator needs 


Widget Brain’s workforce scheduling and planning smarts are built on a set of rules that make up the algorithm that processes data, such as enrolment levels, drop off and pick up times, room sizes, weather and traffic patterns and more, to recommend schedules that meet compliance, efficiency and engagement objectives. 


However, the dynamic nature of the Widget Brain technology also enables educator specific requirements to be overlaid into the system to cater for unique circumstances and in turn enable expectations to be met. 


“Including soft rules into our algorithm that cater for the specific needs of an educator or group of educators is a really important step for us and our partners,” Mr Patel said. 


“Employee expectations are shifting. Educators want better working conditions, such as flexible work environments like preferences for working or not working at particular times (e.g. to do school pick up or drop off), avoiding patterns like work-rest-work or split shifts for part-timers and providing the correct breaks.”


Widget Brain can include any eventuality and make schedules ‘really work’ in real life, meeting the expectations of team members as a result. 


“If your team isn’t happy, then you are at risk of losing them, so we consider this to be a very important differentiator for the Widget Brain technology,” Mr Patel added. 


New “compliance checker” module provides additional peace of mind to teams


As well as being able to craft schedules that meet the specific needs of educators Widget Brain has tackled compliance reporting as another means of ensuring that educators are not burdened with environments where ratios are stressed due to understaffing. 


The“compliance checker” algorithm is able to produce a report that indicates in advance (or in hindsight) what the status of a particular schedule is relative to ratio requirements. It also uses the same ‘soft-rules’ used in scheduling to indicate where rules are violated, per employee. This gives directors and managers an opportunity to address possible retention issues for specific employees before they happen.


In an environment where educators are already in short supply, sick days and other absences can have a detrimental impact on ratio and by extension, in some circumstances, create additional workload on team members. 


“Our compliance checker is proving to be very popular, not just as a regulatory test but also as a means to flag in advance whether ratios are likely to be in doubt and provide leaders with an opportunity to address the imbalance in advance,” Mr Patel said. 


“Given how often team members are asked to sacrifice lunch breaks or programming time, we are finding that this tool is proving exceptionally popular as it enables action to be taken ahead of time and in turn spares the team from shouldering extra burdens.”


“This is an excellent example of how our technology can help the general well being of an ECEC team and testament to our commitment to this important sector.”


To learn more about Widget Brain please visit their website to book a demo. 

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