Workforce management software helps businesses automatically collect employee time and attendance, manage absence requests and shifts, monitor workforce performance, optimize labor cost and create real time reports for all employees in one system. Time tracking systems can be used as cloud-based software solutions or standalone applications installed on premises to get more control.
Workforce Management Software – What is It and Why You Need It
- What is workforce management software?
- Key Features of Workforce Management Systems
- The Uses and Benefits of Workforce Management Software
- What to look for when buying workforce management software
- How to choose the software Vendor
- SaaS on Cloud or On Premises Platform Solutions
- Types of Workforce Management Software
Time and attendance
- 6 steps to Workforce Management Implementation
- The Incorporation of Technology
1. What is Workforce Management Software?
Workforce management program is designed to optimize workforce productivity, on an individual, team-wide and company-wide basis. Areas covered by workforce management solutions include timekeeping systems and employees attendance tracking, payment and benefits, scheduling, training and performance management.
Workforce Management Software (WFM) can help businesses effectively manage their staff scheduling , incorporating employee skills and shift schedules that can help to create business schedules that factor in the importance of a well-rested workforce.
in order to avoid paying people to be idle during the workday. Furthermore, workforce management software can offer important insights into business and employee metrics. Human resource departments that learn to utilize time management tools can find ways to employ the fewest possible number of workers to effectively get a job done.
The aim of effective workforce management system is, in a nutshell, to optimize customer service while keeping staffing costs to a minimum. More specifically, this means balancing the company’s resources and the demands placed on it, so that for any given task to be carried out within or on behalf of a company, an employee with the skill set best suited to the task at hand is assigned to that task at the right time to meet demand.
Today, workforce management systems continue to develop and is used increasingly to streamline HR within businesses, providing services including employee self-service, allowing online access to training, leave and absence requests and time tracking, as well as improving efficiency in the management of performance, HR administration, payroll and benefits.
2. Key Features of Workforce Management Systems
The range of workforce management solutions in cloud and on premise offers a number of important benefits for midsize and large companies looking for cost-effective and efficient ways of getting the most from the people they pay and includes:
- Time and Attendance
- Absence Management
- Biometric / Swipe Card attendance system
- Mobile Workforce Management
- FMLA tracking
- Employee Scheduling
- Time Allocation Systems
- HR Management
- Employee Self Service Portal
- Automated Payroll integration
- Real Time Reports
- Workplace health and safety in case of emergency
For companies who manage a large workforce, finding ways to manage and optimize the productivity of those employees is essential for the company to be successful, profitable, and productive. Today, however, the digitalization of the business world is changing how companies manage and supervise the people they employ.
A recent article published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that American workers spend an enormous amount of idle time during their workdays. The study suggested that the time not devoted towards actively pursuing or working on job-related tasks costs employers an estimated $100 billion dollars each year. The study also mentioned that more than three quarters of all employees that were polled admitted to experiencing some type of idle time while on the job.
Furthermore, workforce management system can offer important insights into business and employee metrics. Human resource departments that learn to utilize time management tools can find ways to employ the fewest possible number of workers to effectively get a job done.
3. The Uses and Benefits of Workforce Management Software
Workforce Management software has several core functions that can help businesses and their respective HR departments effectively manage their employees.
Firstly, this software can optimize labor scheduling through identifying employee skills more realistically. Finding the most competent employee for a specific job can help reduce the number of people needed to be hired. Also, these software programs can deliver detailed analysis of labor management requirements during specific times and business-related tasks. This can take the guesswork out of making decisions for activity-based employee management.
Furthermore, time management software can be utilized to collect time and work data. This will give HR departments useful employee metrics related to labor use within the company. Leave management can also be another important function of workforce management software, allowing employees to request time off while allowing for a streamlined procedure to process these employee requests without negatively affecting the necessary staffing requirements.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, time and attendance software programs will allow companies to monitor their employees´ working hours, late arrivals, early departures, time taken on breaks and absenteeism. These programs can help companies of all sizes save time and resources, identify and reward the most dedicated employees, create effective policies that govern absentee employees and idle time, while also avoiding clerical errors that can be caused by paper tracking system.
Additional Elements of Workforce Management Systems include:
- Customizable dashboards and portals so that companies can modify the ways in which they interact with their employees.
- Access on mobile devices so that HR leaders can remotely monitor employees attendance and performance. This is especially important for businesses who manage remote employees.
- Embedded real time reports: These reports can allow companies to observe and supervise real time employee output to make sure that hour to hour tasks are being completed adequately.
- Unlimited language packs: Around 58 percent of small businesses have international customers, so unlimited language packs can allow these companies to expand their workforce to include foreign workers who speak a different language.
- Advanced messaging functionality is essential for direct communication with employees. This function of workforce management software can get rid of the need for employee meetings which can cut into productivity.
- Recruitment: Workforce management software can also help businesses recruit and maintain the best employee talent.
- Management of available employees. This can reduce the stress that comes with finding needed employees during moments of intense business activity.
- Clock against tasks or projects. Hourly employees are certainly common, though some businesses are looking to find workers who will be paid by task or project, especially when hiring freelance workers. Workforce management software makes it possible for companies to clock against tasks or projects, instead of the usual 9 am to 5 pm workday.
4. What to Look for when Buying Workforce Management Software
The first things to think about when buying workforce management technology are why you need it, and how you are going to use it.
- What issues are you facing that could be improved by workforce management technology?
- Do you have problems with balancing variable demands and resources?
- Do you wish you could generate accurate real-time reports and forecasts?
- Are you concerned about the productivity or retention of your staff?
- Would you like to identify areas where you could improve efficiency and save money?
- Or maybe you already know where the problem areas are, and you want to automate areas of your business, limiting time spent on manual administration processes, improving accuracy in the process?
The many different systems and solutions available can be overwhelming, but with so many options available, there will almost certainly be a system that suits, or can be adapted to, your specific business needs.
To identify why you need workforce management technology, and how you can best use it, consider what the biggest ‘pain areas’ are for your company, for example, could you be better using HR data? Think about how you could take HR or ‘people’ data, such as time and attendance, wellness and productivity data, and use it to achieve the outcomes you want.
For example, do you want to identify issues in recruitment, staff management, attendance, and engagement? Do you want to organize this information by the manager, or by location?
Workforce management solutions can allow you to look more closely at your HR data and can help you to improve your decision making processes regarding your business and your employees. Ultimately, to decide what you are looking for in workforce management software, you need to really look at your organization, and consider what the issues are.
This will vary in every organization, but key issues that many businesses have include staff engagement, retention and turnover, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Identifying the areas your business struggles with means that you can then look for software that will help you to identify the root of the problem, so you can tackle the issues.
Specific Questions when Choosing Workforce Management Solution:
- What kind of reporting does your organization need and expect from HR?
- Would self-service for employees be useful to your organization, and if you do want to implement this, do your employees have access to company devices that would allow this, such as laptops, smartphones or tablets?
- How do you want to manage the company payroll going forward? Consider whether you would prefer it to be managed in-house or externally.
- If you are planning on rolling out self-service, do you want payslips to be accessible to employees via this service?
- What manual processes within your organisation can be automated?
5. SaaS on Cloud or On Premises?
The final question to consider is – Do you need a SaaS (Software as a Service)/ cloud-based system, or a system that is installed on your premises? It is daunting for many businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the key differences to demystify this part of the selection process.
So, what exactly is “the Cloud”?
- Having your workforce management technology on a cloud-based system means that the software that can be used without the need to install on your own IT server
- The installation is managed by a supplier, meaning that there is no need for IT involvement.
- Hardware, software, security, and availability of technology remain the responsibility of the solution provider. This means that any issues should be resolved before you even notice them, and you don’t have to worry about backing up data or ensuring you have enough disc space.
- Cloud-based systems are designed to be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, wherever you are located.
- You may have heard the term SaaS, or Software as a Service, and again, it isn’t as complicated as it might initially seem. SaaS is a purchase option only accessible using the cloud, and it simply refers to renting a software system, paying for it as a subscription service, as opposed to buying and therefore owning it.
- With a cloud-based system, data is stored in a private cloud designed exclusively for the company, i.e. the data isn’t ‘floating around’ in cyberspace. Your data will also be stored by your cloud application provider. If you decide to choose a cloud-based system, make sure that the application you decide on is ISO27001 compliant. This is the Information Security standard that means you can be confident the provider will have an advanced backup, storage, and security systems in place, including mechanisms for break-ins, fires or natural disasters. Even with this certification, however, make sure you ask where your data will be stored.
- Cloud-based systems are usually scalable, meaning they can grow with your company, and using a cloud-based system also means you can avoid large-scale capital expenses, as there is no need to pay for servers, licenses, IT support – cloud services are usually provided as a subscription service, including all of these aspects. It is worth noting that the way providers charge can vary, for example by user or transaction activity.
- Another factor to consider with cloud use is connectivity – you may have issues using the cloud if the application provider’s data center, or your business, is in a rural area, for example, with limited connectivity.
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And What about On Premises?
The alternative to a cloud-based system is a system installed on premises, but what exactly does using on-premises workforce management solutions involve?
- With on-premises technology, the system will be both installed in and operated from your in-house server and IT infrastructure. As a result of this, it is reliant on your IT team to operate the system, troubleshoot and back up data, etc.
- Using an on-premises system means you will need a purchased or licensed copy of the software, and that you, as the customer, are responsible for security, availability and overall management of the software, although you should have access to support from the provider when needed – if you do choose this option, make sure provider support is included as part of the package you purchase.
- It is worth noting that on-premises technology is generally more expensive than cloud-based because it requires in-house server hardware, as well as capital investment in software licenses, in-house IT support staff and longer integration periods.
- However, it is also worth noting that company data is more secure with on-premise technology, because of the entire instance of the software, and therefore the company data, remains on your premises.
If you are unsure of what is best for your company, involve your IT department in the decision. They should be able to inform your decision on which system best fits your organization.
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6. How to Choose the Software Vendor
It can be difficult to know where to start in choosing a supplier for workforce management solutions, and the technology is continuing to evolve. The first thing to consider is the features and functions that are available, and which of these features your business needs. We will discuss the different types of software available in detail in the next chapter, but the main features to be aware of are:
- Time and attendance
- Recruitment and online recruitment. Online recruitment refers to functionality that allows candidates to apply for vacancies within your company directly through your website.
- Performance appraisals
- Succession planning
- Timesheets. Consider what your organization uses timesheets for, for example, if you have staff who are paid by the hour, are you reliant on timesheets for their pay to be accurate? Does your finance team use it to calculate client invoices?
4 Advanced Features To Help Distinguish One Provider from Another
While the above features are largely self-explanatory and are offered by many providers, there are a number of more features that may set one provider apart from another. Let’s discuss how these can be used in more detail, allowing you to consider each alongside your own specific business needs, so you can decide whether or not these are features you need from your provider.
Technology that incorporates real-time adherence allows you to more accurately track employee performance and schedule accuracy. In other words, it means you can compare actual employee achievements with what you expect them to achieve according to your scheduling. This will allow you to see both where your scheduling can be adjusted, and also if any employees are over- or under-performing.
Virtualization of Remote Employee Management
Virtualization can be extremely beneficial to your business. It might be useful if your company operates in more than one location, ensuring that all of your offices are linked efficiently, creating one large virtual organization. An important benefit of this is that it can help to ensure that the workload is spread evenly across the entire company. If you want to take advantage of this use of workforce management software, you will also need to ensure that your software has multi-site capabilities.
Virtualization can also be used to manage remote employees. Encouraging your employees to work remotely can save them money on traveling to and from work, as well as saving you money on utilities, and you may find that your employees will actually put in more hours and take fewer sick days if they work from home. Having your employees work from home will also make your company greener, by reducing the number of cars on the road. If you are considering virtualization, make sure your choice of workforce management software includes access to technical support for all hours you expect your employees to work, as this is key to successfully virtualizing your workforce. Another feature of workforce management software you will need to virtualize your workforce is a task tracking system. This will ensure that employees are clear on how exactly they should be using their time working remotely, and will help them, and their manager(s) to keep track of their time and productivity effectively.
Commitment to an Upgrade Path
When choosing a workforce management solutions provider, make sure that they are committed to continuing to develop the software you are purchasing, and that you will be able to benefit from these future upgrades. Questions to ask are how often the software is updated, how much upgrades will cost you, and also who drives the updates – the user group or marketing workers? This means that as workforce management technology advances, your company will progress with it, rather than being left behind with out-dated software.
Ability to Be Personalized
As well as looking for the most advanced technology, you also need to make sure that the software isn’t just the ‘best’ in the sense that it is the most advanced or the most expensive – it needs to work specifically for your organization. In other words, make sure it can do at least everything that your workforce management is currently doing so that all aspects of your workforce management are streamlined. Then, consider what else your organization needs.
When you have decided what exactly you are looking for in workforce management technology, and are ready to start assessing the different providers available, create your own evaluation criteria, so you can evaluate different systems against your requirements. When you have narrowed the providers down to those that best fit your needs, you should then ask the providers for demonstrations of the software.
After this, you should have a better idea of which of the systems on your shortlist will work best for your company. Make a list of scenarios that you want to see how the system copes with, for example adding a new starter, requesting or authorize a leave request, producing an absence report. Ensure that you engage all stakeholders in the demonstration process, especially those authorizing the budget.
Ask as many questions as possible of the supplier. In particular, make sure you check their business continuity plans and financial status, as well as what technology they use. Also check their references, i.e. other companies using the software. If possible, speak with some of the provider’s current clients and ask how well the software works for them, what the service is like and what they use it for. This is important, as it will give you a much more accurate representation of how the software and the provider operate a business than the people trying to sell you the technology will.
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7. Types of Workforce Management Software
There are a number of different types of workforce management solutions, and in this chapter we will discuss these in detail, covering the benefits, features, and usage of each.
Time and Attendance
Time and attendance software is designed to track and optimize the time your employees spend working, as well as keeping records of the wages and/or salaries your company pays its employees.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
There are a number of ways in which time and attendance software can be used, and its features can bring considerable benefits to your company.
- Improved workload management. If you have employees who work on a variety of different tasks, software allowing them to track the amount of time they spend on specific tasks lets them (and you) see clearly whether they are portioning their time appropriately or if adjustments need to be made to the amount of time they are spending on each aspect of their job
- Save time with the payroll. Some time and attendance software will not only allow employees to track their time but will also create timesheets, which can be a huge timesaver for you in calculating each employee’s pay. This is particularly useful for businesses with employees working variable hours.
- More Responsibility. Having employees track their time will make them more aware of how they are using their time at work. This should help them to take more responsibility for managing their time, and keep them more focused on meeting deadlines and using their time as efficiently as possible, which should minimize time spent procrastinating!
- Time management. Another advantage of using time tracking software is that you can easily compare how all of your employees are managing their time. The benefit of this is twofold.
a) it will allow you to easily see when workload needs to be redistributed across the team, which will make your team more efficient.
b) you will also be able to see how your most productive employees manage their time, so that (a) you can give credit where credit is due, and (b) you can encourage those who seem to be struggling with time management to mimic the working habits of their more productive colleagues.This, in turn, should help you to minimize wasted time and money. Being able to clearly see where your company’s time goes means you can clearly see any inefficiencies, which allows you to correct them, cutting down on unnecessary costs.
- Accuracy of client billing. When you are charging clients by the hour, it is crucial that you track time accurately. Time tracking software means you are able to account for exactly what the client is paying for, which they will appreciate. It can also help you to ensure that you are not over- or under-charge your clients, both of which are equally bad for business; an over-charged client is unlikely to be a returning customer, and undercharging clients means a financial loss for your company.
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Absence management software is designed to help you oversee and record all types of employee absence, from holiday requests to sick leave. It allows you to analyze absence trends within your company so you can clearly see the costs, causes, and impacts of employee absences, and hence understand any absence-related issues that might be causing problems for your business.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
Using absence management software allows you to collect much more accurate data than recording and managing employee absences manually. This will help you
- to avoid common absence-related issues in business such as misunderstandings over leave allowance, for example by allowing you to quickly and easily calculate leave allowances for employees who work part-time, or who are on fixed-term contracts.
- to allow staff to access their own holiday planners, and submit leave requests directly into the system. This will save managers time, as they can clearly see where any potential leave clashes might be, so they can effectively organize cover for staff shortages when needed and can approve leave requests with the click of a button.
- to efficiently keep track of employee sickness, crucially to pick up on any issues, for example with long-term health issues an employee may have, or cases of absenteeism.
- to produce data reports for each individual employee, you can make sure you don’t miss any problems.
- to create reports on workforce absence, so you can identify, and hence predict absence trends in your workforce, allowing you to more effectively arrange staff cover when you need it.
Making effective use of absence management software reports means you can maximize the potential of your workforce, allowing you to reduce time spent on administration and lower the risk of human error. By having an access to real-time information on absences within your workforce, so you can identify any problems and increase productivity.
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Mobile Workforce Management
In a world where the majority of the population are never without their mobile phones, and 1.6 billion smartphones have been purchased since the technology was first introduced, mobile technology seems to be the way forward for workforce management software. The workforce is dominated by tech-savvy individuals who expect the same digital expertise from their employers. To stay current, your company needs to keep up with the latest technologies.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
There are a number of HR processes that have been found to be particularly compatible with mobile technology
- which allows employees to receive instantaneous feedback via their mobile device.
- or to download and read content, as well as access multimedia content, regardless of where they are.
- or to securely access the company’s database of contacts, meaning they can reach business associates more quickly via their smartphone or tablet when on the move.
- This type of app could also be used to make the recruitment process faster and more efficient, allowing comparison between candidates, internal and external, as well as making it easy for the appropriate personnel to access their contact details.
Mobile workforce management solutions also means that you can cater to employees who work remotely some or all of the time with ease. Good mobile workforce management software will allow you to manage your employee scheduling and capture employee performance regardless of location, verify your employees’ hours using GPS tracking and eliminate issues arising from inaccurate time tracking and compliance.
Mobile technology could also make your out-of-office employees more productive
- a mobile employee should be able to access the same self-service capabilities as an in-office worker, without being tied to a hardwired desktop computer.
- it can also speed up the HR-related processes and workflows of your company. For example, requests that require a manager’s approval, such as sign off on a project, or a leave request. Mobile HR software allowing the supervisor to access the necessary application on the go can speed up the process.
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Another process that can be extremely time-consuming is employee scheduling, especially if you have a large workforce with more than 100 employees and/or complicated shift patterns. Put simply, employee scheduling software automates this process of creating and maintaining schedules.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
There are a number of ways in which you can make use of employee scheduling software, and reap the time saving and organizational benefits. Employee scheduling software programs will offer the following benefits
- for collaborative scheduling, which means that employees are able to input their own availability and manage to swap shifts between themselves when necessary. This means that only minimal input from management is required, in the form of approving shift requests, and ensuring that all shifts are covered, saving time that many managers spend manually creating schedules.
- conflicts can be minimized, as any clashes will be automatically highlighted, requiring employees to collaborate and negotiate to resolve any issues. This can create a stronger team environment, and give more control over their own schedules so that their work patterns suit them may lead to an increase in productivity.
- ‘drag and drop’ function that allows schedules to be easily carried over from previous weeks, or from one day to the next, which can be very useful if your employees work to similar schedules with only minor adjustments each week.
- avoid understaffing. business data give you detailed information on staff needs to make sure you don’t unnecessarily schedule extra shifts or pay additional overtime
- mobile accessibility, so that employees can access their schedules outside the office. This can help to avoid problems such as employees misreading or forgetting details of their schedules, helping your business to run more smoothly and efficiently
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Human resources (HR) management software can be a massive time saver for your company, streamlining all aspects of human resources, allowing you easy access to all your employee records, to reduce time spent on filing and administration, to generate detailed reports on workforce activity, and the simplify the recruitment and new-starter process.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
An important benefit of automating your HR processes is that you can use it to improve decision making. Having all of the relevant information affecting a business decision to hand, contained within the software, allows you to make decisions more confidently, knowing that there aren’t any factors impacting on your decision that you haven’t considered.
Many HR software programs include metrics tools, which can be used to dramatically speed up the necessary on-going review of information and devising of strategies based on the inner workings of your business and your competition.
Additional features can be used
- to improve productivity, free up staff time that would have been spent on manual record keeping for higher-order tasks.
- to save time on recruitment and selection, as well as employee evaluation and training, which can all be very time-consuming processes, can lead to substantial productivity gains.
- to track workforce productivity and identifying top performers. Talent Analytics is an area of HR software management that is continuing to evolve, and it can be used to review the performance of your employees and the company as a whole
- to improve business security. Security is an increasing concern for many businesses, and using HR management software to reduce the amount of company paperwork is a good way to reduce security issues
- to reduce errors in your company’s HR operations. Automating processes such as payroll information using HR software can reduce the risk of error to a minimum
- to meet all necessary legal requirements because it can give you faster and easier access to the information you need to make sure you are staying on the right side of the law.
- to boost employee morale. Implementing software that allows employees to manage their own benefits and absences gives them more control, both in and out of work.
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Employee Self-Service Portal
Employee self-service software allows employees to view and manage their HR and payroll information by logging in to their own individual account, connected to a central system. The idea behind this type of software is to free up HR and management time. Using employee self-service software can mean fewer questions from and issues for employees, saving time on HR and administrative tasks that can be time-consuming with a manual system.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
Some very useful features of self-service include
- being able to view and print their payroll information, meaning staff don’t need to submit a request to HR or management every time they need to see their pay slips.
- it allows employees to update important information, such as their bank details, so that this is updated in the system when they submit the information, rather than having to be updated by another person, saving time and reducing the risk of human error.
- it allows employees to track their hours and log them in the self-service system, which both saves you time in tracking your employees time and helps your employees to stay focused and productive.
- it allows employees to request leave and record absence, again saving HR and administration time.
You can check all information that staff enters into the self-service system, for example when one employee makes a leave request via the system, you will be able to quickly and easily check the dates requested against any pre-planned leave other employees will be taking, so that you can avoid staff-shortage problems, before approving the leave request using the system. Equally, you can check employees’ electronic time cards before running payroll to make sure the information is correct.
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Payroll software can speed up and improve key processes related to paying your employees, including recording your employees’ details, working out their pay and deductions, reporting payroll information to the relevant body depending on where you live, working out how much tax and national insurance you need to pay, and calculating statutory pay, such as maternity or sick pay.
Benefits, Features, and Usage
Some features that are not common to all payroll software programs include producing payslips, recording pension deductions, making pension payments, and paying people over different periods (for example, weekly and monthly). If you have fewer than 10 employees, it is likely that you will be able to find free software to meet your payroll needs. However, if you have 10 or more employees, you may need to invest in more advanced payroll software.
The key benefit of payroll software is time-saving. Payroll can be a very time-consuming process, but automating the process and calculations involved, for example calculating your employees’ taxes, can free up time to dedicate the running and growing your business. You can use these systems to create a clear and accurate payment history, as they can be used to archive payslips and monthly reports.
Another benefit of payroll software is that the likelihood of errors is reduced. Payroll software can be used to pay your employees automatically, according to parameters set up by you, leaving very little margin for human error.
As payroll software can be used to automate your payments and generate reports, they can also give you insight into where exactly your money is going. More specifically, they will allow you to see where you could save money, so you can make more informed decisions regarding your budget.
8. 6 Steps to Full Automation of Workforce Management Solutions
This chapter is a 6-step guide to achieving a fully automated workforce. No matter what system you choose, these steps will be invaluable in implementing your new software.
1. Get an Implementation Team Together
To implement workforce management software, you will need a strong team in place, with a variety of opinions and perspectives on what they want and need from automated workforce management solutions. Think about all of the areas of your company that will be affected by the new system, and meet with representatives from each department to get their views on the system as a whole, as well as specific features. This doesn’t just mean the IT department and managers or supervisors – make sure your team includes employees of all levels and pay grades, so you have a full picture of how the new system should work in practice.
This team will not only be invaluable to you in making sure you have thought of everything in implementing the new system. If you have people throughout the company on board with this new system, they will help with getting the rest of the company on board and will be on hand to answer any questions people may have, making the transition easier for everyone involved.
2. Write Down All of your Current Workforce Management Practices, and Review Them
First, you need to look at what you are doing now in terms of time tracking, scheduling, payroll, HR, absence management etc. Once you have your current policies written down, it will be easier to review them, as simply automating your current practices might not be the best idea. Review your current practices objectively, involving your team, and look at areas where there may be room for improvement going forward.
Once you have made notes on how your system currently operates, and how you would like it to operate, you should share both sets of notes with key stakeholders and your vendor representative. This will help them to make sure your new system fulfills all the requirements you need it to.
These notes will also be useful to you as you go through the steps of implementing your new automated system, making sure you don’t forget anything, and that no out-dated, unnecessary practices are carried forwards.
3. Choose Your New Workforce Management System
Choosing your new system and your provider is covered in detail in Chapters 3 and 4 of this guide, but the key things to remember are, to be honest with yourself, and your vendor, about your needs and wants. Be clear about what your business absolutely needs from workforce management solutions, and what you want, so that you can choose the system that most closely fits your requirements. There’s no point in maxing out your budget on a high-tech system with all the bells and whistles to only use 10% of its features. However, a low-cost system that doesn’t meet all of your basic requirements is equally unhelpful. So, in choosing your new system, honesty really is the best policy.
4. Make Time to Communicate with your Employees
Choosing your system definitely isn’t the last step in successfully automating your workforce management. Once you’ve chosen the system that works best for you, you need to make time to communicate with your employees about what the new system will mean for them, give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions, and, perhaps most importantly, take the time to reassure them about any concerns they may have.
The key to this step is to put yourself in your employee’s shoes. For you, what might seem most important to the new system are the benefits to the company as a whole, for example saving time and money on payroll preparation and HR administration. However, you need to remember that this isn’t something that will concern most of your employees. Think about ways the new system will benefit your employees on a personal level. If the system you have chosen includes employee self-service, your employees will want to know about the features of this, for example being able to update their personal information quickly and easily without filling out lengthy paper forms or checking the status of their leave requests without having to seek out their supervisor. If your employees are paid by the hour, understanding that the new time tracking software will mean they are paid more accurately will reassure them that the implementation of the new system is in their best interests.
5. Training and Testing
This step is absolutely crucial for successful implementation. To test the new system, you may want to consider running it alongside your old system for two or three payroll cycles, so you can make sure everything is working as it should, and any problems can be ironed out.
To get the most out of your new system, it’s really important to make sure all your employees are fully trained in how to use it. You may want to consider supplying a handbook or “cheat sheet” for performing the most common tasks on the system. Check with your vendor first, as they will probably have something you can use for this purpose, but if not, creating one specifically for your company will not be time wasted. In the long run, it will save you time, because it will mean you can avoid answering the same questions multiple times, and the guide can be used time and time again with new recruits getting used to the system.
At this point, you should also create an administrator’s handbook, including important details such as the administrator password, and how to add new recruits to the system. This will avoid issues if your administrator is on leave or quits, as others will be able to easily pick up where they left off if necessary.
6. Review and Revise
Once you have had the new system in place for a few months, go back to your initial expectations of the system and compare these to how the system is working in practice. Is the new system doing everything you want it to? Are there any features you could be making better use of? Are there any features of the system you hadn’t initially considered using that you might want to implement now that you are comfortable using the system as a whole?
Reviewing at regular intervals is important to make sure you are getting, and continue to get, the most out of the system as your business grows.
9. The Incorporation of Technology
Managing human resources is difficult, especially with businesses who have dozens or hundreds of employees. Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly being incorporated into certain aspects of workforce management software. AI offers deep learning capabilities that can gather, organize, and analyze diverse streams of data and information. Not only does AI automate the processes of data collection, but the machine learning capabilities can make inferences and generate insights related to employee performance as these relate to business goals.
The incorporation of advanced technologies such as artificial and business intelligence and machine learning into workforce management software will allow HR departments to avoid speculation related to employee performance. Furthermore, HR managers will be able to use the ready-to-use insights and analysis provided by these systems to optimize workforce and employee performance.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have already simplified employee workflow while also automating the routine, non-creative tasks that used to be the responsibility of HR workers. As these cutting edge technologies continue to advance and evolve, however, the deep learning capabilities of AI should be able to assume broader functions.
For example, workforce management software in the near future should be able to help companies avoid employee turnover through managing employee growth and satisfaction metrics. The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that the cost to replace employees costs:
- 16 percent of the annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs,
- 20 percent of the annual salary for midrange positions, and
- Up to 213 percent of annual salary for highly educated executive positions.
AI technologies in workforce management will be help companies save money through avoiding common turnover. Furthermore, machine learning systems will also be able to assist HR professionals in the recruitment and appraisal of employees. This will help companies find and retain the best employee talent to move their business in the right direction.
Workforce management software offers a number of important benefits for business of all different sizes. Incorporating these programs will help your company move forward with the best human resource technologies available.
Keep up to date with the latest technologies. If your provider offers updates that will make things easier for you, take them! And if you feel that your current provider isn’t keeping up with the latest technologies, or that your business needs have changed over time, don’t be afraid to look into changing your provider.
Workforce management systems that fit your business can have dramatic effects for the better. it will make sure that your company is operating as the best version of itself, by minimizing waste, and maximizing efficiency, creativity, and productivity. It will make management of your company easier, ensuring you can create schedules and forecasts that work for your company, allowing you to efficiently balance varying demand with your available resources.
Successfully implementing workforce management software will save you time and money, improve accuracy, and free up employees whose time was previously taken up with administrative work to take on higher order work requiring human input.