How Mature Are You? Part 4

There are many organisations that have evolved through the first three phases of the workforce management maturity curve*, from seeing their workforce as an expense they now see them as a resource and a flexible asset.

Best-in-class organisations that have moved into the fourth phase, The Innovate Phase now view their workforce as an absolute competitive advantage. For them, their employees are their most critical asset who, when given the right tools, training and support enable these organisations to achieve great results that their customers’ value and their peers and competitors envy.

Workforce Maturity Curve 4Organisations in the Innovate phase are embracing Big Data initiatives to identify triggers that influence growth, profitability, brand reputation, and operational excellence, as well as organisational transparency and accountability.

In the Innovate phase, organisations incorporate labour metrics into their Big Data strategies, to transform their workforce into a network of individuals all working together to achieve a desired result.

The correlation of workforce data with operational measurements of inputs & outcomes can yield powerful insight into the impact of your people on business growth, brand perception and ultimately shareholder value. Big Data strategy will enable business innovation and continuous improvement. Lack of understanding of how to use analytics to improve the business is the biggest obstacle in achieving success with big data. Organisations must move the analysis from an IT function to a business operations function – combining measurements, analytics and business intelligence tools with visibility and controls for business leaders to understand and act on.

When workforce analytics is combined successfully with operational data, actionable information will lead to operational comparisons and adjustments. Initial tracking of labour metrics like absenteeism, turnover and overtime can evolve into industry-specific trends and analysis. Retail stores can see the impact in increased operating margins, profit per employee and a stronger brand reputation. Manufacturing and Contract Services organisations can achieve operational excellence lean labour principles. The Supply chain can manage in the moment in warehouses and distribution channels and Healthcare providers provide better patient care and outcomes.

When your workforce evolves from a cost of doing business into a competitive advantage, your organisation can make that leap from good to great!

If you have any questions or comments please post them and I will be happy to respond.

The workforce management maturity curve was first discussed in detail in my US Kronos colleagues’ blog It’s About Time

How Mature Are You? Part 2

So, you have automated your workforce management processes and are capturing absence and employees’ time automatically, providing data to your managers and supervisors and feeding data into your payroll and/or HR systems. What’s next?

Maturity Curve Phase 2 - PlanningThe second phase of workforce management maturity curve* is The Planning Phase.This phase is about aligning your labour with business demand by understanding what in your business drives the need for labour and matching that need with the pool of employees you have.

Once you have automated many of the manual processes that are obstacles for your workforce, the focus should turn to deploying the right person, in the right place at the right time – or in other words providing structure to the important business process of matching your people to demand. Organisations that are in the Planning phase see the value of their workforce as beyond an expense, and more of a resource – your people have particular skills that you won’t want to lose. Similar to an asset like equipment or materials, the workforce is an important component of the business with skills and capabilities that need to be deployed the right way in order to meet your business objective. Whilst at the same time ensuring the work is stimulating and engaging for the employee.

Mature organisations typically have workforce management solutions that provide accurate forecasts of what drives labour demand, standards that convert those forecasts to skills required in each area of the business, and schedule optimisation capabilities that take the ideal requirement and match it to the labour in the organisation. The solution will take into further consideration: preferences, availability, time worked and local legislation, providing complete visibility and control to where the workforce is deployed.

By eliminating manual scheduling processes organisations will reduce excess labour costs from over-scheduling and the quality or service level impacts of under-scheduling. Overtime and supplemental labour usage is reduced and balanced schedules greatly improve staffing. Moreover, employees are much happier and engaged when they feel that they are adding value to the business. The time and effort required in manual scheduling processes is eliminated, and schedules automatically adhere to rules, requests, skills, certifications, availability and experience. So here are a few questions for you:

• How does your workforce know when they are scheduled to work next?
• How is the right level of coverage for each shift or activity determined?
• Are employee shift requests and preferences taken into account when a schedule is created?
• Are there any seasonal or external influences that could impact demand on your business?

With cloud-based workforce management on demand, organisations of any size can now benefit from enterprise-class technology at a fraction of the cost and resource requirements.

In part three we will take a look at the next phase of workforce management maturity – Execute. Don’t forget to sign up to my blog so you won’t miss it and if you have any questions or comments please post them and I will be happy to respond.

*The workforce management maturity curve was first discussed in detail in my US Kronos colleagues’ blog It’s About Time.