Read on to explore the significant and surprising benefits of introducing a modern workforce management system with efficient, engaging and empowering workforce management capabilities.
What are Workforce Management Tools (WFM)?
A workforce management tool is an element of workforce management software. They can vary considerably, but typically cover the following labour management tasks:
- attendance and leave
- task management
- employee self-service.
Workforce management systems have evolved from HR enterprise solutions and as such, some of them are designed to provide centralised workplace planning. Staffing, attendance management, compliance and scheduling, as well as visibility of business metrics, are the drivers for many WFM systems.
Modern software workforce management tools have also empowered staff by focusing on wellness, improving their autonomy and increasing their engagement and team motivation.
How could a Workforce Management System help frontline, shift-based workers during the pandemic?
The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on shift-based workers and casual workers.
ABS data from February 2021 showed 41% of people with a job worked from home at least once a week, compared with only 24% the year before. This is far easier if you’re salaried, desk-bound and work 9 to 5.
Workers in childcare, hospitality and aged care and other shift-based sectors would benefit from a democratising of workforce tools.
Rather than their employment data being tied up in an inaccessible HR silo, a workforce management solution that allowed them to connect, collaborate and engage in decisions about their shifts would be ideal in reducing the stress of coping with pandemic conditions.
How can a Workforce Management Tool facilitate happier teams?
If you’re wondering how something as basic as a roster can influence staff morale, ask an overworked nurse how she feels about shift patterns in Covid isolation wards.
The very best workforce management software creates happier workplaces, better teams and more engaged employees.
Workers who are motivated tend to value:
- visibility over their shifts and rosters
- direct messaging with their managers
- choosing work patterns and shifts autonomously
- monitoring without micromanaging.
The stats back this up. A Gallup survey revealed that an engaged workforce can create:
- 21% rise in productivity
- 65% less staff turnover
- 22% increase in profitability.
What challenges will HR managers face when shift-based staff return to normal work patterns?
The pandemic has disrupted normal work patterns and work may never return to exactly what it once was.
Managers are struggling, not only with compliance and paperwork but with motivating staff and providing solace in their new role as Chief Empathy Officers.
Questions facing managers include:
- How will frontline industries like hospitality and tourism rebound in the face of changing demand?
- How will companies deal with employee stress and mental health?
- How can employee self-service improve staff engagement?
- How can workplaces become more flexible and responsive (for, among other reasons, enabling gender equality)?
Shift Based Workers
Managers of shift workers have to wrangle high staff turnover, high labour costs relative to sales and complex attendance management and payroll demands.
Smart rostering software provides automated onboarding for new staff, data-driven rostering and efficient timesheets.
Hospitality & Hotels
For the 60% of workers who can’t work from home, especially those on the frontline of customer service in hospitality, missing a few shifts can mean the difference between paying the rent or feeding the kids.
The best workforce management tools will include equity in their rosters so that all team members feel valued and are offered equal time at work.
Aged care has complex workforce management requirements, juggling diverse skill sets and patient needs while restraining labour costs and maintaining compliance.
A workforce management tool can keep clinical FTE rates on track, reduce unnecessary overtime and automate compliance to reduce errors and avoid penalties.
It’s a challenge in child care to balance revenue and staff ratios, retain workers and comply with reporting demands.
WFM tools can lead to error-free scheduling, more engaged workers and automated reports and insights.
Logistics & Warehousing
Logistics has complex awards and pay rates, qualification compliance issues and project cost-tracking challenges.
A workforce management solution can automate industrial award calculations and produce smart rosters with an eye on the budget.
Government & Councils
Governments employ a very wide range of complex workforces, leading to challenges in labour cost management and compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.
The best workforce management capabilities make it easier with drag-and-drop rosters, inbuilt data insights to optimise workforces and automated award compliance.
How Workforce Management Tools help work with compliance rules
The best workforce management solutions are flexible and responsive to the needs of organisations. Rapidly responding to the pandemic, Humanforce released a solution to help streamline WFM for Covid.
These tools allow organisations to manage vaccination policies, including:
- automated communication of vaccine requirements to staff
- rostering enhancements to prevent non-vaccinated staff from non-compliant working
- single source of truth on an employee’s vaccination status.
Additionally, the solution supports contact tracing if there is a Covid case in the workplace.
Some businesses are yet to get across new and complex leave types, including pandemic leave, that have been introduced recently. The best workforce management solution can help to navigate and manage these compliance challenges.
Workforce Management systems improve employee engagement
As HR managers ponder how to help staff integrate back into the workforce after months of lockdown, WFH and social distancing, successful organisations will use technology to build trust and demonstrate empathy through direct employee communication. At least, according to Lisa Rowan, HR maven at IDC:
‘HR managers’ number one job right now is to keep people up-to-date, be reassuring and build trust.’
That is also the view at Humanforce, where the focus is on entire workforce management solutions that bring team members together with enhanced employee engagement:
- better one-on-one and team connections
- connect workers across multiple locations with mobile tools
- engage employees on their preferred channels
- stay in touch to identify and resolve issues quickly.
Cloud-based platform for Workforce Management Solutions
The pandemic has forced workforces to become more mobile and this has accelerated a trend towards cloud-based human resource software.
A report from Acute Market Reports suggests that cloud-based platform solutions will grow at a superior growth rate to 2028, spurred on by the ease of remote access, lower costs and popularity among employees.
User-friendly WFM mobile apps give staff (and you) more freedom
Autonomy is more important than remuneration when it comes to how people feel about their jobs.
Giving employees scope to arrange shifts within a roster means the world to a barista, nurse or waitress. The best new mobile app WFM tools allow workers more flexibility in choosing shifts, prioritising tasks and communicating with their team.
As a step towards streamlining post-lockdown staff, going mobile is an effective way to increase employee freedom and engagement.
Human-centred processes are managed transparently through intuitive WFM Tools, keeping staff happier
The best workforce management solution makes it easy to put the human at the centre of the roster. By democratising the process, it makes it far easier for employees to select shifts that align with their work-life commitments, leading to empowered and happier staff.
Employee communication is improved by mobile apps designed with the user experience in mind.
There’s no need to build a roster from scratch when templates can reduce the grunt work. Online rostering and scheduling allows better transparency for payroll and fewer errors, resulting in a happier workforce.
Why WFM Tools will help integrate frontline staff back to the workplace
If you need to build a winning case for a workforce management solution, there are many benefits they bring to the modern workforce reintegrating after lockdowns.
WFM tools can lead to:
- error-free scheduling
- greater employee availability and engagement
- automated analytics and reports
- industrial award calculations
- smart and flexible rosters.
Businesses wanting to ease workers into the Post-COVID arrangements with workforce management solutions can find:
- clearer transparency of employee schedules
- improved communications within teams
- faster resolution of workplace issues
- better connections with workers across locations using mobile tools.