Workforce Management (WFM) consists of just about everything needed to keep an office running smoothly and efficiently. It is similar to Human Resource Management (HRM) in that it covers many of the same areas: talent management, payroll, performance management, field service management, and learning management. But workforce management is evolving into a new concept: workforce optimization. Instead of just managing the workforce effectively or improving operational efficiency, it will also incorporate other key business ideas, such as customer experience. It is aimed at being the full package that will bridge the three entities of HR, operations, and IT together into one end-to-end service. The end result will be a more productive workforce, less labor costs, and better customer service.
Just as the role of workforce management is changing, so too are the technologies being used to implement and support it. The latest and perhaps most important trend in WFM is the mobile application. Many stores and companies still use a very primitive system to handle payroll, scheduling, and employee absences. Many still use a physical calendar in the break room to tell employees their upcoming schedule with no other way to view it except to come in and check it physically. Workforce Management on the mobile platform greatly improves the efficiency of managers and employees alike. Managers now have the ability to quickly correct time punches, approve payroll, and edit schedules. The mobile app greatly helps employees as well. They can view their schedule and request time off from anywhere as long as they have a smartphone.
There are a few companies that understand the importance of the mobile platform and are already leveraging this technology. Kronos has made an iPad app (Workforce Tablet) from the ground up that includes several powerful features such as GeoSensing, which allows managers of different departments or geographic regions to easily find and view information about specific branches/locations. Managers can also easily manage scheduling by opening and re-assigning shifts, as well as view data on how overtime is affecting their operations. Additionally, managers can approve time cards and view information on where their mobile employees are punching in. Kronos also offers analytics which give employers real-time information such as: sales per hour and actual vs forecasted labor costs. ClickSoftware has produced a variety of mobile apps, from analytics and field scheduling to HRM and IT management. Field scheduling allows workers to report the progress made each day as well as adjust the schedule based on real time events in the field. While the HRM app allows users to view or trade their shifts and submit requests for days off or absences.
In many industries around the globe, the way in which work is managed is still very archaic. Take for example construction: managers have to carry around a giant binder that contains all the paperwork needed for the job at hand. In other fields timecards are still being stamped by little electronic machines that you stick your card into, or physical calendars with your work schedule written on it. There are 314 million people that live in the United States and there are 91 million smartphones in the United States. That means that almost a third of everyone in the U.S. owns a smartphone – it’s only logical to leverage such wide-spread technology. Using mobile technology gives managers real-time data while still supplying them with all the relevant project data. The construction manager can now use the iPad to track all data and make any needed “on the fly” changes without leaving the construction site. Mobile technology is the future of workforce management software: it not only makes life easier for employees, but also makes the workflow of the employer much more efficient when dealing with personnel. Along the same vein, workforce management is the future of businesses: when done right, productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction all increase, which in turn drives profits, innovation, and progress for your business.
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