If the phrase “mobile workforce management software” doesn’t get you salivating the same way it does me, that’s understandable, you’re not alone.
I justify this level of excitement to myself by thinking that it’s ok for me because, in a former career I was an accountant and if I could live my life by numbers instead of names, life would be a whole lot easier!
However, times have changed now and in 2015 there’s a new breed of readily accessible, easy to understand, mobile staff management software programs, supported by Apps. These new programs are helping managers become better at their jobs and helping them with their day to day staff management challenges.
Gone are the days when you couldn’t try programs out without encountering a pushy salesman. Gone also are the days, when you would have to sign a contract and spend thousands of pounds or dollars on a box whose contents would need loaded up onto your server. When every upgrade was actually a downgrade and reports and features that you used to run your business, vanished with the upgrade. Frequently, you then had to spend many hours on the phone fighting with the provider to get them back!
Most of the new breed of SaaS (software-as-a-service) workforce management packages are cloud based, allowing access wherever you are, whenever you want.
Just take a look at some of the products in the market place now. If you’re still using paper timesheets or excel spreadsheets then it’s time for you to reconsider and look at the other options available. They can really save you a lot of time!
Imagine a timesheet that completes itself, where the hours are instantly transferred to a payroll or invoicing report! Take that a step further and imagine a system where, when access is switched on, allows your client to see the timesheet, meaning there is no excuse NOT to pay your invoice. That’s got to help your cashflow? So let’s keep going with this train of thought. You take the “technological plunge” and decide to use a system where:
- trusted staff can schedule themselves
- staff can request holiday
- clients can request staffing instantly and
- clients can give you feedback on the fantastic job you did for them!
Everyone is truly on the same page at that point and, as a bonus, it’s saving you time and money! “Hang on” I hear you say “is this image you’re painting a fantastical dream or the reality of the systems available these days?”
It’s a reality and you’d be foolish not to embrace it.
Can it make you a better manager? Well the short answer is probably no. These workforce software solutions cannot in themselves do that, but what they can do is give you the time, information and therefore the chance, to improve. Using one of them means that repetitive tasks such as emailing out schedules or checking certificates or training that used to consume such a lot of your valuable time, now only takes a few minutes. Now all the information you need to do your job better, is instantly at hand.
So what’s stopping you running and managing your workforce and their data in the cloud?
1.Simple, clear and intuitive
The new cloud based software programs often have easy to follow menus and at a glance scheduling. They quite often have a single main screen with easy to navigate options. They can be comprehensive multi-functional programs that use colour coding for easy viewer recognition. Why would you choose to continue using spreadsheets or paper timesheets with their inherent problems of illegibility due to:
- poor hand writing,
- errors crossed out
- coffee stains or
This old school approach is fraught with problems potentially leading to difficult conversations on the horizon because it affects people’s wages! Many of these systems are intuitive. You can start uploading data really quickly and start using them without the need for hours and hours of reading manuals.
2. You decide who can manages your staff
The new breed of workforce management program allows you to set different levels of hierarchical access. You decide who manages sites and departments and who has access to what information. You remain in control.
Some workforce programs can also track your employees’ time, prepare timesheets and show you who has clocked in late or is doing overtime, all really useful extra features.
As these systems become simpler it becomes easier for your staff to use them and engage with your company. Greater staff engagement can lead to better productivity and a more content workforce, but that’s a whole new article!
3. Support, help and customer satisfaction
In response to customer demand many workforce management SaaS providers don’t have or issue contracts anymore, unless you insist. So no more onerous notice periods or extra payments whilst you use a better system you came across!
Gone are the days of phoning in a problem or complaint for you to be issued with a “ticket” and then for the customer services desk to come back to you 48 hours later. Many current systems integrate a “live chat” or instant help message facility. You can ask for help this way, by phone or email. You choose. For lots of the new breed of workforce management systems unlimited support is part of the package but it is worth checking this out at the start.
4. Work when you want wherever you are
Choosing a cloud based system really does mean that you can access your information or data pretty much wherever you are whenever you want and whilst there are even still some areas of the the UK where you don’t get good WiFi or broadband there is a government initiative to address this. This should mean it’s possible to achieve a better work-life balance because you can now check who is working and where, from home. You can do your scheduling from anywhere, even in front of your fire on a icy Friday evening.
There it is. The choice is yours “to take the plunge or not to take the plunge” and start looking at a cloud based workforce management system. I only wish there had been this sort of package when I needed to oversee 126 staff, from warehouse and drivers to telesales and field sales. Life would have been easier and simpler!
After all, what have you got to lose but possibly a few hours checking them out when picking one might save you literally days in a year and save money too! #astonishingsoftware