HRTech Interview with Mark Woodka, CEO at OnShift

Mark Woodka

Mark Woodka sheds light on the solutions that OnShift’s HCM software offers and discusses the top three trends for employee engagement and how is technology impacting it.

1. Can you give us a brief overview of your career before OnShift?
I’ve been with OnShift as CEO since July of 2008 and was an angel investor in the company before becoming CEO. Prior to joining OnShift, I led global sales and channel strategy for BEA Systems as VP of Sales. I have more than 25 years of experience in enterprise software sales and marketing having worked for both startups and Fortune 500 companies.

2. Could you tell us more about OnShift and what was the inspiration behind starting this company?
OnShift provides a human capital management platform that is purpose-built for the post-acute care and senior living industries. Every aspect of the technology is built to help leaders navigate the complexities of the industry while enhancing the employee experience. Our solutions are designed to deliver operational excellence while improving the daily lives of healthcare employees, so they can focus on what matters most—delivering quality care to patients and residents.
OnShift began with a system to help directors of nursing fill last-minute call-offs and open shifts. Since then, we’ve grown our portfolio of solutions tremendously to meet the workforce needs of senior care providers, from recruiting and hiring to scheduling, workforce management, pay and employee engagement. We entered the market with a focused solution to a very tangible problem. This philosophy of solving challenges for our customers has remained steadfast throughout our growth. Today, thousands of organizations rely on our integrated suite of software and services to reduce turnover rates, decrease costs, and improve the quality and continuity of care.

3. Which solutions/integrations does your HCM software offer?
We offer a fully integrated software suite with solutions that span multiple functions – talent acquisition, workforce management, financial wellness, engagement and retention, and reporting and compliance. One of the most important goals is to improve the relationship between healthcare organizations and their employees at every interaction. The massive labor shortage and intensifying workforce challenges throughout the industry have really made it difficult for providers to operate efficiently. All of our solutions are designed to help them attack these issues so they can staff communities consistently and efficiently, each and every shift. With our major focus on delivering an exceptional employee experience, we also help organizations address turnover, which is one of the most significant challenges facing senior living and post-acute care leaders.

4. What according to you are the top three trends for employee engagement and how is technology impacting it?
In my opinion, the three biggest trends are communication, support, and recognition.
Communication: Opening lines of communication is pivotal to creating stronger employee engagement, and technology helps make this possible. Our OnShift Engage solution helps leaders gather an understanding of their employees’ thoughts, feedback and experiences with automated pulse surveys that go straight to an employee’s smartphone. For example, managers can very easily capture real-time feedback with a quick pulse survey delivered after employees punch-out for the day, asking “How was your shift today?” This empowers leaders to understand how employees are feeling and identify any problems before they grow into larger-scale concerns. Additionally, this effort helps ensure that employees feel supported by their employer and that their day-to-day concerns are valued. Communication is equally as crucial to the success of new hires, especially in today’s competitive labor market.

Organizations need to prove to new hires that they are personally and professionally valued.

With the ability to capture real-time feedback throughout training and the first 30-90 days of employment, technology enables leaders to better monitor new hire satisfaction and understand when they need additional support.
Support: Support goes beyond communication. For example, many of our customers provide an added layer of financial support with our OnShift Wallet app. The technology gives employees access to earned wages in between paychecks, typically during times they need it most. We’ve seen just how impactful this kind of offering can be – 71% of senior care employees reported that using OnShift Wallet helped them avoid costly overdraft or late fees. In 2021, over $68 million in early wages were accessed with OnShift Wallet, bringing the total wages accessed by OnShift users to more than $161 million.
Additionally, support can take the form of establishing career growth trajectories for employees. With technology, employers can provide tools and guidance, like real-time feedback from managers or access to online lessons, that help employees meet their career goals.
Recognition: Finally, recognition is a vital pillar to employee engagement. Employees are an organization’s heartbeat – it’s essential that they’re recognized for their hard work. Leaders can leverage HR technology to create recognition programs that are fair, consistent, and unbiased. With systematic recognition and rewards strategies, leaders can encourage positive behaviors that align with business initiatives and ensure that great employees get the recognition that they deserve.

5. How does OnShift software help in better candidate sourcing and onboarding?
Our OnShift Employ solution aims to take the burden off the HR and recruiting teams by streamlining and optimizing talent acquisition and onboarding processes. OnShift Employ allows users to automate job postings to popular boards, which gets more eyes on applications faster. As the labor shortage remains a pervasive concern and competition for talent is greater than ever, speed is essential when it comes to working with candidates. Our customers use our technology to streamline their application processes to move candidates through the hiring process as quickly as possible. They can create custom, mobile-friendly applications that are fast and easy for candidates to complete. The technology also runs automated reminders to keep candidates on top of the next steps for completing their application, background check, and onboarding. And once employees are hired, employers can use pulse surveys in OnShift Engage to track new hire progression, development, and satisfaction.

6. Can you give us an example of how OnShift’s clientele has benefitted from your service?
OnShift has really helped our customers in a variety of ways, by streamlining operations and helping to reduce labor costs. From the employee perspective, we’ve witnessed the positive impact our technology can have on their lives. One story that stands out to me relates back to OnShift Wallet. One customer’s employee shared that accessing her funds through OnShift Wallet was the reason she could put a Christmas dinner on the table for her family. The ability to enhance and improve the lives of healthcare employees is what drives us forward.

7. Could you tell us more about your team and how they support you?
The OnShift team is made up of people who truly care about the impact we’re making in the lives of frontline staff, and this is the best way my team supports me. They all live and breathe OnShift’s dedication to the industry, our customers, and those they serve.

8. What is the biggest piece of advice you could provide to company leaders?
Never react, always respond. Reactions are driven by emotion, while responses are tactful and thoughtful. In business, there will always be challenges or unexpected hurdles that arise, but it’s important to stay thoughtful in your response and not let your emotions get the best of you.

9. What are your plans for expansion and growth?
We are always striving to increase operational efficiency and improve the lives of healthcare employees. To do this, we’ll continue to innovate and focus on where automation can improve operational processes and eliminate time-consuming tasks. Overall, we will continue to identify how and where technology can do more for healthcare providers across all levels, from executives and community leaders to caregivers and staff.

10. Which motivational quote drives you to achieve more at work?
There’s actually a concept from the book The Mission, The Men, and Me by Pete Blaber that resonates with me. It’s that to be successful, you need to surround yourself with a strong team. It’s important to trust them, let them drive the mission, ensure they have everything they need, and put their needs ahead of yours. I think this has a strong application to the workplace. You need to invest in the team around you.

11. How do you manage to stay relevant in such a fast-paced industry?
We truly listen to our customers and the employees who are caring for residents every day. We use these insights to identify patterns and trends around the pain points that both staff members and employer organizations are facing. With this insight, we’re able to build solutions that get ahead of the market and solve the most-pressing problems.

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Mark Woodka CEO at OnShift

Mark Woodka, CEO at OnShift, a leader in human capital management software for post-acute care and senior living – an industry that’s been hit hard by the labor shortage. OnShift’s technology helps healthcare organizations with recruitment, hiring, workforce management, payroll and employee engagement.


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