Organisations rely on their workforce to manage, execute and deliver against their customers’ expectations. Todays businesses constantly strive to increase revenues from existing customers and engage with new ones to produce new revenue streams. Cost, quality, consistency, service and support are all key elements in creating marketable products and services and, ultimately, a successful and thriving operation.
Even in the Public Sector, demands to reduce costs, while maintaining equivalent or improved service levels, continue unabated.
So how do you keep your organisation lean whilst driving a quality offering at a cost that will attract new customers and maintain existing ones?
Let’s consider the cost of labour as one major element of most organisations’ overheads in conjunction with the effectiveness of good labour management. Optimising the value to the organisation for every hour of each Employee’s time is essential to maximise the return on the wage investment being made. The right Employees in the right place at the right time supporting correctly targeted tasks will ensure the maximum return in Employee value to the enterprise.
So how do organisations achieve this labour optimisation in an environment that is controlled by legislative and contractual rules and subject to the human behaviours of Employees and their Managers?
A good Workforce Management System can support the planning, monitoring, control and reporting for the workforce by removing the management burden of multiple manual tasks and giving them the tools to plan and optimise their Employees’ time. Simple creation of work schedules or Rotas/Rostas that allocate appropriate Employee hours and skillsets to each area of the organisation with the ability to amend these to meet changes in demand, or Employee absence, are a key management tool and should be an integral part of a system.
A Workforce Management System should automatically apply the business and contractual rules for hours worked, overtime and other payments, to the Employees hours accrued, whilst ensuring that suitable management approvals and amendment can be made as part of the process. This will ensure accuracy and deliver a central data source for Finance and Payroll confirming the Employee hours accrued in a format suitable for their Payroll system upload. This can save the time and effort spent on manual collation, checking and amendment of Employee hours and ensure any human error is removed in the Payroll calculation.
Other essential components to support Managers in delivering an effective workforce performance whilst optimising their own management time must include tools that:
- Alert them to trigger review of, and support the control of overtime and other payments, Employee exceptions, absence and holiday
- It should also provide comprehensive reporting capabilities delivering key management data for Employee absence, holiday, labour hours planned/actual, Employee information and accurate Payroll submission
Elements of HR management can also be included in a good Workforce Management solution offering the centralisation of Employee data and histories and giving authorised access to those who need it without the burden of initiating calls, emails or making references to multiple sources. This may include simple Employee contact details or even documents recording key Employee data for training records, disciplinary actions and histories, HSE information, Right To Work details, other documentation, key review dates and HR-centric Employee details.
Some systems enable the creation of automated reports or alerts for Managers when actions are required relating to their Employees. This can eliminate the reliance on loosely controlled diary and other methods which might leave such actions at risk of being overlooked and potentially creating a compliance issue.
Options which create an ability for Employees to physically clock in and out of the workplace using a method suited to the environment and workforce type will ensure accuracy in hours reported and control the risk of time theft and overpaid or inaccurate wage payments. Empowering Employees further by giving them secure access, where appropriate, to their timesheets, scheduled working hours, holiday status and details, and enabling holiday requests to be made, can substantially reduce the number of interruptions and workload for Managers in terms of holiday and Payroll management. This key element of Workforce Management is offered as an integral part of many good systems available today.
Essentially then, a good Workforce Management System can support the optimisation and reporting of both Management and Employees’ time and labour whilst eliminating unnecessary manual practices, in a centralised resource made available to those Managers who need it, when they need it.
Many existing time consuming and repetitive manual processes can be consolidated, removing the reliance on spreadsheets and the chaos created by multiple locally managed procedures. Centralised overall visibility with effective management and control of the Employee resource, which is available to senior and other business stakeholders, can support the delivery of business consistency and maximise operational effectiveness throughout the organisation. This, in turn, can optimise the value of the workforce in delivering the products and services provided and ensure the management, execution and delivery required to satisfy their customers’ expectations can be met.