Management of substitutes via Telegram

The daily nursing operations of Benito Menni Mental Healthcare Complex in Sant Boi (Barcelona) include hiring temporary staff (substitutes). To fill available vacancies, a person from the Human Resources department would previously telephone a list of professionals preselected by Benito Menni CASM and validated as candidates. This method of working required a person from the organization to spend almost half a workday telephoning different candidates. Benito Menni CASM decided to improve this procedure by changing the entire process of communication with candidates to an instant messaging system: Telegram. The new system has been a great success and has reduced the number of phone calls by 80%.

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The Benito Menni CASM Mental Healthcare Complex, located in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, comprises a series of professionals, services and care mechanisms that work to promote the health and comprehensive social care of people who suffer from mental illness. Our main objective is to offer comprehensive, quality health and social care to everyone who suffers from mental illnesses or who needs social healthcare and social assistance.

Within the organization needs arise that must be covered with temporary staff (substitutes). On a regular and constant basis, we must fill around 40 to 50 vacancies per week (discretionary days, days agreed by convention, sickness, COVID-19, etc.).

The process for hiring substitutes is by telephone. A professional from Benito Menni telephones the substitutes registered on the list of candidates and offers them the specific position to be filled. This professional spends around half a working day telephoning and agreeing details with each available candidate (about 10 minutes per call). Considerable time is spent on this procedure, because the same information must be repeated in each call. This process is inefficient and requires the person from the organization to devote a lot of time to it. It is also a nuisance for the substitutes, as they need to keep checking their mobile phone and, in some cases, calls cause awkward interruptions. In view of this situation, Benito Menni CASM opted to improve the system for notifying substitutes of vacancies and to make it more efficient and more considerate to temporary staff (interest group). We decided to use a tool to support the management of nursing substitution vacancies. After assessing different applications available and their compliance with the LOPD, (Data Protection Law), use of the Telegram application was chosen as part of the quality and ongoing improvement policies of the EFQM excellence model implemented at Benito Menni CASM.

Implementing the good practice involved different interest groups, who took part and introduced the initiative by contributing their knowledge and experience in their area of expertise:
Systems Area (IT)
People Management Area (communication with staff and administrative management)
Legal Area (privacy and data protection of participants)

We incorporated the views of all the interest groups and created a Telegram group that complies with data protection law, and also designed an Excel document in which vacancies are published. The data of participants in the Telegram group are anonymous and neither their telephone numbers nor their profile pictures are displayed. It is a one-way communication channel in which only administrators (Benito Menni CASM) can post. Participants in the group are given no reply option. A “User Manual” protocol, addressed to substitutes, is generated. They are given technical instructions on how to access the document in which the vacancies are published, and on how to complete it and to save it properly. The document is a fixed link that does not vary each week and it is regularly updated. Members of the channel communicate privately with the administrators to indicate whether they are available for vacancies. The administrator sends the professional private confirmation of the vacancy to be filled and modifies the Excel in real time, so that everyone views the latest version.
To ensure compliance with the LOPD and our other commitments as an organization, participants are previously required to give authorization for their inclusion in the channel. The provider is also offered the alternative of calling during a time slot to enquire about available vacancies.

We currently have two groups on Telegram:
“Suplències TCAI - Benito Menni CASM”, (substitutes’ group) with over 100 subscribers.
“HHCC TCAI - Benito Menni CASM”, (part-time staff’s group) with 129 part-time professionals. Their current working day does not cover 100% of week’s working hours but the Extra Hours agreement enables them to extend their working day by putting in these hours in the different time slots generated. On the first working day of the week, both tables are updated and a message is sent to the group: “Good morning, the available slots for this week have been updated. Anyone interested should indicate the reference number. Regards.” Users fill in their individual availability.

Lessons learned and areas for improvement:

Since the initial phase of implementation of the new system, vacancies have been filled in a very short time. There are complaints from substitutes because offers are active for only a very short time. We made adjustments and established a 4-hour window for indicating availability, in which Benito Menni does not confirm the candidate’s assignment. Substitutes are therefore given more time and the overall process is more democratic. Furthermore, a longer window provides us with a larger number of available candidates, which is beneficial to us when assigning them according to the specificities of the professional profile required in each event. We have become aware of a side effect that is causing concern. The new system is working so well that permanent part-time staff are offered virtually no extra hours. We identified this as an area for improvement and replicated the same system for managing extra hours. We set up another group with part-time staff. A maximum number of hours to be offered in each group was established. Throughout the process we received suggestions from users on formatting the document, on viewing on a mobile and on improvements to usability. Feedback is incorporated swiftly.


  • To fill substitute nursing vacancies effectively and efficiently.
  • To foster a good working environment.
  • To encourage motivation among permanent and substitute staff.
  • To encourage motivation among substitute staff.
  • To promote the participation of substitutes in the offers published so that everyone has access to covering the different vacancies published.
  • To share the same information simultaneously through a Telegram channel.
  • To encourage internal communication with the organization.
  • To improve information on filling substitute vacancies on a prior, programmed basis, and to ensure that the allocation of extra hours is transparent.
  • To improve information on filling substitute vacancies on a prior, weekly-programmed basis.
  • To optimize staff management times.
  • To optimize cover times and therefore establish less waiting time when hiring and ensuring the multiple healthcare units are covered with the corresponding staff.
  • To prevent errors in managing substitute staff.
  • To avoid notifying staff who are unable to provide cover on that day/at that time.


Time optimisation. Reduction of the time devoted to managing cover. The time devoted by the person from Human Resources has been reduced by 80%, as each phone call previously lasted an average of 10 minutes. The professional who performed this task generally took half a working day to complete it. The time taken to fill vacancies is now much shorter than before.

Employee satisfaction . 90% of employees would recommend use of the new system via Telegram to fill vacancies. Substitutes are satisfied with a communication system that respects their time more, is more democratic and encourages work-life balance, because with the Telegram group, the people interested in the vacancy contact the organization directly, and people who cannot work that day are not contacted.

No more errors. We have practically eliminated errors in cover such as doubling filling of vacancies, erroneous cover or failing to provide cover because of loss of information. Computerization of the process and working with the application means that everything is recorded. This prevents possible confusion when assigning an available vacancy to be filled.







Tomeu Parets Martínez

Montse Milà

Ángel Alba

Maria Loza

Esther Atienza Rodríguez


With the implementation of this new system, we have managed to improve considerably and very quickly. Vacancies are now filled in a much shorter time than before. We no longer need a person from Benito Menni CASM to call candidates one by one. In addition, the working environment has improved because this tool allows us not to interrupt the day-to-day life of professionals with calls and also establishes a more democratic way of accessing available job offers.

Published on*** 22 Jun 2022


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