What is workforce management?
Workforce management in layman’s terms is the task of managing or handling your employees, staff or workforce. That’s managing their hours, the tasks they do, the scheduling of both of these, their overall workload, their allocation to specific jobs, tasks or shifts and the communication with them.
A much more complicated way of looking at is as a system or collection of processes and monitoring that allows a company or individual to get the best out of, or optimise the use of, their employees. These processes would include the monitoring of hours, clocking in and out, absence recording and maybe certificate tracking. Understanding and grasping the challenges or barriers to good workforce management practice better prepares both management and staff for the future.
Why use a workforce management system?
What are we aiming to achieve by using a workforce management program? The reason a company employs a workforce management system would include to:
- optimise and organise the use of their staff through forecasting
- reduce costs through efficiencies
- improve productivity
- match suitably qualified staff to tasks
- reduce time spent on repetitive administrative tasks
- effective absence recording, monitoring and management
In summary - the right people are allocated to the right jobs and perform them in the quickest, most cost effective manner.
The benefits of an online workforce management system
The old school style manual workforce management system can be very time consuming, repetitive and labour intensive. Information and reports can be very difficult to extract. The difficulty of extracting useful data from a manual workforce system is a pity because the numbers surrounding your staff costs and the management of your workforce are key to the day to day running of your business, its future and its profitability.
So why wouldn’t you at least explore the possibility of using an integrated online workforce management software solution? There are many benefits of choosing one of the many workforce management software programs and I list quite a few of them below.
There are many benefits of using a good basic workforce software management system:
- Allows you to monitor careers, training and staff progress
- Check and ensure certificates are kept up to date and valid
- Ensure holidays are properly taken and recorded
- Sickness and other absences are properly regulated and recorded
- Reduces errors and duplications
- Management can better analyse the key business numbers
- Comply with new flexible workforce policy and other European legislation
Workforce software progams with multiple access portals including one for staff have further benefits:
- Staff can interact with the company and feel more engaged, included
- Staff can have the option to self schedule further reducing the admin burden
- Scheduling can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime aiding work life balance
- Clarity, visibility and transparency
The greatest intangible benefit of a good system, one that allows the interaction of staff with the system, is that you get a workforce feeling consulted, feeling part of the company and feeling more engaged. There have been many surveys on what having better engaged staff means for a company from greater productivity to better customer service.
For some types of company this engagement, consulted, interactive aspect can be extended to clients as well. It goes without saying that for this to be true the system you pick has to have a client portal as well. This adds visibility, transparency, saves time for your clients and can cast a leading edge technological glow on their view of your company.
Or you could choose not to!
Some of the consequences of not using an online or computerised system could include:
- Lapsed qualifications or certificates
- Extra cost and resources expended
- No reporting or very time consuming report production
- Under or over-staffing on critical or cost sensitive jobs
- Poor customer service
- Greater number of errors, illegible handwriting or duplications
- Fewer complicated spreadsheets that only a few can understand or access
I would describe myself as a technological sceptic. I can’t see the point in using a tech solution for the sake of it. I can, however always see the benefit of trying to do something better, quicker or more easily.
Technological solutions aren’t for everyone and they do require some thought and attention to detail. They also need process in the setting up phase, but like business planning, the more time you invest at the setting up phase, the greater the time and cost saved and the greater the benefit.
Have a look at one and give it a try! You might be amazed how much time it saves, how easy it is to use and how much time can be swapped from mundane administration to revenue generation or client satisfaction.