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Finding a Substitute

Day Dosch -

WorshipPlanning.com can help team leaders find substitutes for assignments that have been declined.

First the team leaders will need to make sure the team settings allow team members to find substitutions:

For the team leader, when a person's assignment status is Decline there will appear a "subs" link under their name on the page where assignments are made. When this link is clicked, WP will open a window showing a list of available team members that are probably candidates for replacements. This list is also found in any Decline emails that are sent to team leaders as a part of assignment response notification emails. You can also find a list of qualified people to fill an empty role by clicking on the "No Person" link next to the role name that is scheduled for the service.

For the team member that declines an assignment, they will be able to click to find a substitute (see below for how the list is generated). They can choose one or several. Each person checked will receive a request to substitute for this assignment. The first person who accepts the assignment will be put on the schedule with the appropriate status of accepted.

The list of substitutes is generated based on several factors, such as: availability, if the person has served in that role before, if the person has that as their default role, and if the person has that listed as a skill. Using these factors, WP scores each team member and lists them, starting with the most qualified (according to the scores).

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6 Comments

  • 0
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    Daniel Obeng

    The substitute request can go out to multiple people, but once someone picks up the assignment, are the others potential subs alerted to the fact that the need has been fulfilled so that they don't accept the sub request after it's been met?

    I can foresee a situation in which someone, not knowing that the request has already been met, rearranges their personal schedule to accommodate and then accepts it, all unnecessarily.

  • 1
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    Tom Metz

    Hi Daniel. That is a great question.  When someone accepts the substitution request, if anyone else try and "accept" it, they are given a message that the request has already been filled by someone else.  We could send a follow up notification to everyone that didn't accept the request to let them know it's been filled.  But there are two reasons we decided not to have it work like that:

    1. We try to minimize how many notifications we send in order to reduce "notification fatigue", which leads people ignoring the emails and texts messages from the site (or worse, flagging them as spam).
    2. Our expectation is that people won't go to the effort to rearrange their calendar until they've actually clicked the "accept" and seen that the system captures their response.

    Perhaps we could put some text in the initial substitution request message to tell folks if the request has already been fill, they will be alerted of this when they try to accept.  Thoughts?

  • 0
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    Daniel Obeng

    Hi Tom!

    I think some text could help at the margins, but once the functionality is working as you describe it's probably not a huge added value.  One additional option along the lines of my original recommendation might be to give teams the option to send a follow up notification to the potential subs (just like the optional notification the team lead can receive when a substitute is found).

    Two related notes:

    1. I just found that I can get the prompt for identifying a sub if I decline from within WorshipPlanning, but I do not get the prompt if I decline straight from the service request email.  I doubt that's intentional, but I don't know if it's easily remedied either.
    2. As or more often than substitutes (e.g., Sarah subs in for Mark on piano), we have people who want to swap weeks (i.e., Sarah will cover Mark's Week 1 piano assignment if Mark covers Sarah's Week 3 piano assignment).  I can see a way to managing this using the sub feature as currently configured, but I'm wondering if functionality for swapping assignments could be a near-, mid-, or long-term consideration?
  • 0
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    Daniel Obeng

    Sorry - meant to add one more thought regarding the sub notifications.  One benefit to it that we've found is creating a sort of "cost sensitivity" to substitutions within our teams.  If all of the sopranos can see that only one of their rank tends to always fill the requests for substitutes, it will hopefully make them more thoughtful when requesting next time and/or provide justification for encouraging others to offer to fill in more often.  The more exposed to the cost of that team member, the more likely you are to make more informed (and hopefully more generous) choices the next time a request comes down the line.

    This may also just be an issue we struggle with : )

  • 1
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    Tom Metz

    You bring up so great points and ideas.  The "swap" feature is something we've batted around internally ever since the substitution feature was deployed.  We certainly see the value of it, and I'll discuss with the team again to see if that's something we could get on the schedule sooner rather than later.

    I will check into the substitution request behavior when declining from the link in an email.  I imagine it is something we could remedy without too much work.

    You're comment about the value of subbing in for someone is interesting.  We've actually discussed how a small slice of "gamification" could be used to help increase engagement, not just of our software, but more so engagement with the ministry team.  It gets tricky trying to do so without stirring prideful motives, which certainly is not what we want to do.  Perhaps your suggestion offers a different angle to consider how this could be done.  I will also bring this up with our team to see what comes of it.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  • 0
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    Daniel Obeng

    Hi Tom,

    Just circling back quickly on one aspect of the thread above.  We tried using the substitution feature this past week to see how it worked and ran into an issue. 

    I scheduled myself for a role, and then declined it and put out a request to others in that role to be my substitute.  Mark got the request and accepted it, which took him to a page in WP.com where he could confirm that he would sub in for me.  His name then replaced my in the worship flow for this particular role.  After Mark accepted the sub request, we had Sarah also accept the sub request that was sent to her to confirm that she would get a message indicating that the request had been fulfilled.  She did not receive any such communication, but when she clicked to accept the request she was taken to the general home screen for our church and was not asked to do or confirm anything more.  

    We can manage the function if this is how it's working (e.g., if you accept the request from your email and don't get asked to confirm, then the request has been fulfilled), but I wanted to raise this to your attention since an affirmative statement that the need has been satisfied would obviously be preferable.

    Thanks!

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