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2023-09-28 16:41:24

Improv led The Client’s Upgrade from Workforce Central v7 (on-premise) to v8.1.4. While they initially requested the project to follow a compressed timeline, the Improv team recommended a thorough Implementation Assessment prior to their Upgrade due to the complexity and scale of The Client’s business and deteriorated user trust in the existing system. The Client agreed to the system analysis.

The Assessment established the tone for the project and put the Upgrade on a clear, upward trajectory. The deeper dive into The Client’s system and organizational processes allowed Improv to find workflow patterns that had frustrated efficiency for years. The Assessment played a foundational role in increasing the client’s scheduling power, productivity, and patient care and retention during the COVID crisis.

Client Profile

The Client is one of the largest comprehensive dental practice with 80 locations spanning two states. It has over 125 doctors on its team who practice dentistry and orthodontics. The Kronos Implementation Assessment and Upgrade applied to 1,400 employees.

Project Challenges

COVID Impact

This Upgrade project took place during COVID-19 restrictions on elective surgeries, which included dental surgeries. The fragile business climate and The Client’s need to position its workforce for a healthy recovery amplified the company’s need for efficient scheduling, strong compliance, and patient satisfaction.

Timeline Interruption

The Improv team completed most of the Upgrade before COVID-19 hit, but the national lockdown prevented the team from moving forward with Scheduling and Optimization configurations for Workforce Timekeeper by about six weeks. Following the interruption, the timeline focused on completing the Upgrade quickly to bring The Client’s patient count and customer service back up to pre-COVID levels.

Ingrained and Manual Processes

Like many organizations, over time, inefficient, inherited processes slowed The Client’s ability to fully optimize its Kronos tools.

Multiple Locations

Because of The Client’s size and multiple office locations, Improv was tasked with automating every manual scheduling processes across 80 dental offices.

Improv's Approach

LaunchingPad: The Implementation Assessment

Every client and every Kronos project are different. In the case of The Client, putting on the project brakes to conduct an on-site system Implementation Assessment gave the Improv team and The Client an exact understanding (rather than assumptions) of the company’s efficiency gaps. The preliminary process also created a road map of how to get from The Client’s current Kronos system state to their ideal state of peak efficiency.

During the two-day Assessment, the Improv team interviewed The Client's managers and front-line Kronos users. Stakeholders included interviews with Scheduling Assistants, Office Managers, Hygienists, Dentists, and HR (Human Resources), and Payroll staff members.

The Assessment Included:

  • A review of The Client's Kronos suite of applications, existing Kronos configuration and setup, and the overall Kronos environment • Finding specific areas for optimization and or improvement (Best Practices)
  • Discovering critical places for training/documentation
  • Reviewing and documenting The Client's current customization and project queue
  • Identifying key projects for ongoing ROI
  • Analyzing processes, data flow, projects, challenges, and general business requirements
  • Examining internal processes, procedures, and support
  • Examining HR (Human Resources) and IT (Information Technology) roles
  • Interviewing stakeholders and front-end users to show user adoption issues and process inconsistencies


Improv identified scheduling inefficiencies, employee pain points and adoption issues, optimization gaps, business process irregularities, and critical configuration needs based on The Client’s optimization goals.

Open Shifts + SMS Quickfill

One of The Client’s primary needs (especially during COVID) was that Scheduling Managers needed the ability to quickly fill available shifts to keep customer service levels high. Improv would help them do this with Kronos’ Workforce Scheduler™ mobile SMS Quick Fill™ feature.

Existing State: The Client’s current channel for filling shifts was a group text message sent out on a first-come, first-serve basis. This manual process proved tedious, inefficient, and often inequitable shift distribution.

Solution State: The new scheduling tool automatically matched qualified employees to open shifts and gave managers a one-click way to fill shifts that become available after schedules were created. The feature allowed two-way mobile communication between The Client Staffing Managers and employees.

Moving from a manual Open Shift process to an automated one saved the The Client team administrative time that can now be spent on other tasks to grow efficiency. The measure also boosted compliance and data capture by generating complete audit trails and correct Time and Attendance reports; something their manual process just could not do.

Process Re-engineering + Advanced Scheduler

Improv discovered a critical need to redesign The Client’s business process regarding a specific scheduling window.

Existing State: In the dental industry, shifts typically run eight hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; however, it is understood that if you are a dental hygienist, you are trained to arrive at your shift 30 minutes early to prepare the exam room for the Dentist. In addition, you know to stay 15 minutes later to update charts and sanitize. While The Client had done well to create Shift Templates to distribute dollars to cover pre- and post-schedule hours, the process was confusing to most employees using the system.

Solution State: Using Advanced Scheduler, Improv created a Shift Template that set a simple ½ hour earlier shift start. This small but powerful change resulted in a more manageable and right way to track time. The process was time-consuming (it included 60 hours (about 2 and a half days) of data entry) but resulted in greater scheduling ease and efficiency, reduced risk, easier onboarding, and happier employees.

Missed Punches + Attestation Toolkit

Improv set out to reduce the risk of missed punches and set up a new process for easy, accurate timecard corrections — that did not fall solely on the manager.

Existing State: Upon running initial reports, Improv discovered The Client (though unaware) had a considerable number of punches.

Solution State: Improv installed and configured the Attestation Toolkit, a Kronos module that enables employees to enter missed punch information for selected dates in the current pay period. The Client employees and managers can now easily fix punches, approve timecard edits, and access and print time-off balances and schedules. The Daily Timecard Edit Approval function also allows employees to review and approve or reject any changes made by their managers during the current or previous pay periods.

A solid upgrade requires you to take the time to get to know the client’s business at the deepest level possible. Only then can you begin to understand the best way to configure the features and functions of the system in a way that will generate the most ROI."

Ken Wallenhorst

Improv Application Consultant

Best Practices

Assessment Depth Influences an Upgrade

Before compressing a project’s timeline, stop to assess. Taking the extra time (about two weeks from start to finish) to dive deeper into the processes attached a Kronos system can significantly improve the quality of an upgrade.

System Configurations and Processes are Inseparable

According to Improv Application Consultant Kevin Wallenhorst, a Kronos upgrade is more than just installing the technology. “A solid upgrade requires you to take the time to get to know the client’s business at the deepest level possible. Only then can you begin to understand the best way to configure the features and functions of the system in a way that will generate the most ROI.”

Better Questions Generate Better Outcomes

Senior Improv Application Consultant Paul Gaetani added that asking The Client stakeholders the right questions led directly to better solutions. “Ask any consultant: There are a lot of different ways to configure a Kronos upgrade,” says Paul. “Having the experience to ask the right questions — about operations, goals, and user process — is how you drill down to find the best solution. Is it time-consuming? You bet. But, there’s really no other way if you are aiming for exceptional outcomes.”

Optimization and ROI Require Agility

Gaetani added, “Organizations get set in their way of doing things. The problem is no one knows why they do things a certain way; so, we end up handing down faulty processes — it is quite common. Having a client like The Client, who is agile and willing to re-engineer an ingrained process, makes a significant impact on the Kronos Upgrade.

Having the experience to ask the right questions — about operations, goals, and user process — is how you drill down to find the best solution. Is it time consuming? You bet. But, there’s really no other way if you are aiming for exceptional outcomes.”

Paul Gaetani

Improv Senior Application Consultant

Outcomes & Opportunity

  • Taking steps to re-engineer existing processes, Improv significantly reconfigured existing Scheduler objects and naming conventions to maximize user adoption and usability. The Implementation Assessment uncovered significant configuration gaps that Improv Application Consultants say shaved weeks off the traditional upgrade process.
  • Taking the client from a manual Open Shift process to an automated one, rendered immediate improvements. Installing SMS Quickfill established a more equitable shift process, improved morale, increased data, and reporting ability, and strengthened compliance and scheduling efficiency.
  • The ability to fix missed punches using the Attestation Toolkit has strengthened compliance, payroll efficiency, and internal collaboration.
  • Successful training helped contribute to strong user adoption and Go Live support for supervisors and employees.
  • The client successfully reopened post-COVID, is doing well, and continues to work with Improv on an on-going basis.

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