Did you know that 70% of an employee’s engagement is influenced and determined by their manager? In other words, how effective your workforce is depends on your leadership skills. As a leader, you need to be constantly looking for ways to optimize your team’s performance and to improve workforce management.
There are many ways you can upgrade your workforce management practices for a more engaged and productive workforce. What’s more, many of these tips are easy to implement and don’t require a lot of extra time or money.
In this article, we’ll explore what workforce management is in the first place, eight tips for better workforce management, what not to do concerning workforce management, outsourcing workforce management, and workforce management in the 21st Century – so buckle in, because there’s lots to cover!
What Is Workforce Management?
Workforce management is a process that companies use to staff and schedule their employees. It can be used in various different ways, but the main goal is always to ensure that the company has the right number of employees working at the right times.
Getting workforce management right can be difficult, but it’s important for companies to get it right in order to stay competitive and keep their employees happy.
1. Assess what Matters to Your Employees
The first step in creating an effective workforce management strategy is understanding what matters to your employees. What makes them happy and engaged at work?
Some things that may be important to your employees include:
- A good work/life balance
- Opportunities for growth and development
- Feeling appreciated and valued
- Having a sense of purpose in their work
There’s no way to know their priorities for sure, however, unless you make the effort to ask them. You can do this by:
- Conducting an employee satisfaction survey
- Holding focus groups or individual interviews
- Asking questions through social media or employee surveys
Once you have a better understanding of what’s important to your employees, you can start to address these things in your workforce management strategy.
2. Implement Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements present many benefits for both your employees and the functioning of your business as a whole. For employees, flexible work arrangements can offer a better work-life balance, increased job satisfaction and opportunities for professional growth. They also allow for more creativity and productivity in the workplace.
For businesses, implementing flexible work arrangements can improve communication and collaboration among team members, reduce overhead costs and increase employee retention rates.
There are many types of flexible work arrangements that you can implement, depending on the needs of your business and employees:
- Telecommuting: Employees work from home or another remote location.
- Flexible hours: Employees have some control over when they work, within certain parameters.
- Job sharing: Two or more employees share the responsibilities of a single job.
- Part-time work: Employees work fewer hours than traditional full-time employees.
- Sabbaticals: Employees take a break from work for a specific period of time.
By allowing for flexibility in when, where and how employees work, you can create a more productive and satisfied workforce.
3. Keep your Employee Data Up-to-Date
Make sure you keep track of any changes in an employee’s status, such as a promotion, change in job responsibilities or termination. This will ensure that you always have the most accurate information when it comes time to generate reports or make decisions about whom to assign to which project.
While this doesn’t necessarily solve all of your management problems, it will help keep you organized and efficient, allowing you more time to focus in improving morale and boosting productivity.
To keep your employee records up to snuff, consider investing in workforce management software. This will automate much of the data-keeping for you, ensuring that all changes are tracked and recorded accurately. Alternatively, ensure that you are manually tracking the following information:
- Employee name
- Date of hire
- Supervisor’s name
- Status (active, inactive, terminated)
- Last updated date
4. Keep an Eye on Trends on Workforce Management
It’s important to keep an eye on trends in the workforce management industry so that you can stay ahead of the curve. For example, more and more businesses are moving to a cloud-based system for workforce management. Make sure your software is up-to-date and that you’re taking advantage of all the latest features.
In 2022, some key management trends to watch are:
- Collaboration between remote and on-site employees
- The use of AI and machine learning for workforce management
- Employee experience and engagement continuing to be a priority
- More use of contingent or contract workers
- Integration of HR, payroll, and time & attendance systems
By keeping an eye on these trends, you can make sure your business is ready for the future of workforce management.
5. Measure Employee Productivity
In order to properly manage your workforce, you need to be able to measure their productivity. This means taking the time to track how much work each employee is completing and how efficiently they are doing it.
You can then use this information to make better decisions about whom to keep on staff, who to promote, and who might need additional training.
Some essential metrics to record and monitor are:
- Workload per employee (monitor this by job role, team, or division)
- Number of customer contacts per employee
- Average handle time for customer contacts
- Percentage of first contact resolutions
- Customer satisfaction ratings
- Productivity (measured by number of work items completed per hour)
- Quality (measured by defect rate and customer complaints)
- Efficiency (measured by utilization rates and cycle times)
Not all of these metrics will be relevant to your business, but tracking the ones that are can help you make better decisions about how to manage your workforce.
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6. Streamline Time Tracking
Time tracking is almost essential for effective workforce management. It can help you keep track of employee productivity, identify areas where employees could use improvement, and calculate the ROI of your workforce. However, it can also be a time-consuming process.
There are a few ways to streamline time tracking:
- Use an automated time tracking solution like Day.io. Such solutions can automatically track the time employees spend on different tasks and projects.
- Integrate time tracking with your accounting software. This will make it easier to track employee time and expenses.
- Use time tracking templates. Templates can help you keep track of employee hours more efficiently.
- Automate time tracking reminders. Reminders can help employees remember to track their time accurately.
- Use a time tracking mobile app. Mobile apps can make time tracking easier and more convenient for employees.
- Train employees on how to use time tracking software correctly. This will ensure that employees are using the software to its full potential and that their time is being accurately tracked.
- Use time tracking for performance reviews. Time tracking can help you identify areas where employees need improvement and track their progress over time.
- Periodically audit employee time tracking data to ensure accuracy and compliance with time tracking policies.
By streamlining time tracking, you can make it a more efficient and less time-consuming process, allowing you to manage your workforce more effectively and improve employee productivity.
7. Give your employees opportunities to progress
Considering that 55% of employees are thinking about finding a new job in the next six months, now is the time to start showing your employees that you are committed to their growth and development. You can do this by giving them opportunities to progress in their careers.
This could mean offering training and development programs, or providing opportunities for promotion. Some ideas for progression opportunities might be:
- Offering training and development programs that help employees learn new skills or improve their current skills
- Promoting employees to higher-level positions within the company
- Allowing employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities
- Giving employees opportunities to lead or participate in projects
By providing opportunities to progress, you show your employees that you are invested in their future and that you believe they have the potential to grow and succeed.
8. Promote a culture of accountability
Accountability is often viewed in a negative light by employees, as it has been twisted to represent micromanagement and a lack of trust. However, when done correctly, promoting accountability in the workplace can actually lead to a more trusting and empowering environment.
The key is to ensure that employees understand the expectations you have of them and what will happen if they don’t meet those expectations. This can be done through setting standards, providing feedback, and using clear and concise communication.
When employees know what is expected of them and are held accountable for their actions, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and be productive. A culture of accountability also helps to build trust between managers and employees, which can lead to a more positive and productive work environment.
Management success indicators in your workforce
It can take a fair bit of work to apply these eight tips within your workforce – so how can you be sure that your efforts are paying off? The answer lies in monitoring your workforce’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
Some KPIs you may want to track include:
1. Employee productivity levels: track both overall productivity and individual productivity levels for each employee
2. Employee satisfaction levels: use surveys or other means to track how happy employees are with their jobs and work environments
3. Employee turnover rates : track how many employees leave your company in a given period of time
4. Training and development needs: keep track of the skills and training that employees need in order to be successful
5. Employee engagement levels: measure how enthusiastic employees are about their work and whether they feel connected to their company’s mission and goals
6. Compliance with workplace policies: make sure you track whether employees are following your company’s policies and procedures
7. Customer satisfaction levels: track how your customers feel about the service they received from your employees
8. Financial performance indicators: track how your workforce affects your company’s bottom line
By monitoring these KPIs, you can ensure that your workforce management strategy is effective and that you are making the most of your employees’ talents and skills.
Workforce Management: What Not To Do?
You’ve been tasked with workforce management. You have a few employees, or maybe a lot, and you need to get the work done efficiently and effectively.
By figuring out what not to do, you can create a productive and healthy workforce.
1. Don’t try to do everything yourself
As the manager, it’s easy to feel like you need to be in control of everything. But that’s not only impossible, it’s also detrimental to the long-term success of your team.
Trying to micromanage every aspect of your employee’s job will only lead to frustration on both your parts: you will want control of everything, and your employees will feel like de-valued cogs in a machine.
2. Don’t be a control freak
This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. If you’re trying to control everything, your employees will start to feel like they’re not valued or trusted. This can lead to low morale and high turnover rates.
Instead, try to let go of some control and allow your employees to take ownership of their work. This will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, and it will free up your time to focus on other aspects of management.
3. Don’t be an absentee manager
Your employees need you to be present and available. If you’re constantly disappearing or MIA, they’ll start to feel like they’re not a priority. This can lead to resentment and mistrust.
Make sure you’re accessible when your employees need you, and try to create an open and welcoming environment in your office.
It could be the case that you’re in a position where you’re unavailable to be in the office all the time, such as if you have to go to meetings abroad. In these situations, take advantage of technology and stay in touch via email, instant messaging, or video conferencing.
4. Don’t be a dictator
No one likes to be bossed around all the time. If you’re constantly demanding things from your employees without listening to their input, they’ll start to feel like their opinion doesn’t matter.
This can lead to resentment and a feeling of powerlessness. To prevent his from occurring, try to encourage open communication and collaboration by creating an environment where everyone feels like their input is valued. You can achieve this by holding regular meetings, encouraging feedback, and being open to new ideas.
5. Don’t play favorites
If you have a favorite employee, it’s important to keep that relationship professional. Showing favoritism will only breed resentment among your other employees.
They’ll feel like they can’t trust you to be fair, and they may start to question your decisions. If you need to give someone special treatment, make sure you’re transparent about it and explain the reasoning to your other employees.
6. Don’t be a bully
No one likes to be bullied, and your employees are no exception. If you’re constantly yelling, belittling, or threatening your employees, they’ll start to feel like they’re not valued. This can lead to low morale and high turnover rates.
Instead, try to create an environment of mutual respect by treating your employees with kindness and understanding.
7. Don’t neglect your team
Your team is the backbone of your business, and you need to take care of them. If you’re constantly putting your own needs ahead of your team’s, they’ll start to feel like they’re not a priority.
This can lead to low morale and high turnover rates. Make your team a priority by investing in their development, listening to their concerns, and treating them with respect.
Workforce Management In The 21st Century
Modern workforce management differs massively from workforce management a few decades ago.
With the technological advances and increased connectivity of the 21st century, businesses have to adapt their workforce management practices to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are some of the key ways in which workforce management has changed in recent years:
1. Technology has made remote work possible
One of the biggest changes to workforce management is the rise of remote work. With technology such as video conferencing and cloud-based storage, it’s now possible for employees to work from anywhere in the world.
This has huge implications for businesses, who can now hire the best talent regardless of location.
2. The gig economy is on the rise
The traditional 9–5 job is no longer the only option for workers. The gig economy, where people work freelance or short-term contracts, is becoming increasingly popular.
This means that businesses have to be more flexible in their workforce management, as they may need to hire people for specific projects rather than long-term roles.
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3. Social media has changed the way we communicate
Social media has had a huge impact on the way businesses communicate with their employees. It’s now possible to give real-time feedback and connect with employees no matter where they are in the world.
This instant communication can be a great tool for managing a remote workforce.
4. Data is more important than ever
With the rise of big data, businesses now have access to more information than ever before. This data can be used to track employee performance, identify areas for improvement, and make better decisions about the workforce.
5. Employee retention is a key concern
With the war for talent becoming increasingly competitive, businesses need to focus on retaining their best employees. This means offering attractive benefits packages, developing a strong company culture, and investing in training and development.
Modern workforce management is a complex and ever-changing field. By keeping up with the latest trends, businesses can ensure that they have the right strategies in place to attract and retain the best talent. Keep the above factors in mind to stay ahead of the curve.
Outsourcing Workforce Management
As we’ve discussed, organizations across industries are turning to workforce management practices to help them do more with less and remain competitive.
However it does not always have to be the case that they have to deal with workforce management issues in house.
You can also take the alternative route and outsource workforce management to professionals.
The first step is to identify the core workforce management processes that your organization needs assistance with.
Once you have a list of processes, you can scout potential vendors and start to evaluate them based on their ability to deliver on those specific processes.
When looking for a WFM partner, it’s important to consider:
- Industry experience: Does the vendor have experience working with companies in your industry? This is important because they will be more familiar with the unique challenges and opportunities that come with managing your type of workforce.
- Technology: What kind of technology do they use? Is it compatible with the systems you already have in place? Do they offer a mobile app?
- Flexibility: How flexible is the vendor in terms of contract length and scope of services? Can they tailor their offerings to meet your specific needs?
- Reporting: What kind of reporting and analytics do they provide? Do they offer real-time visibility into key workforce metrics?
Outsourcing workforce management can help you free up internal resources, improve efficiencies, and better manage your talent. But it’s important to do your homework and choose a vendor that will be a true partner in your WFM journey.
Workforce Management Software Solutions: The Future Of HR
The human resources (HR) department is responsible for managing employee data, tracking employee productivity and compliance with company policies. In the past, these tasks were completed manually using paper records and spreadsheets.
However, as companies increasingly rely on technology to improve efficiency and competitiveness, workforce management software solutions are becoming more popular.
Workforce management software solutions are designed to automate HR processes and provide real-time insights into employee performance.
These solutions can help organizations save time and money, improve employee productivity and satisfaction, and reduce compliance risks.
There are a number of different types of workforce management software solutions available on the market.
Some solutions focus on HR processes such as payroll and benefits administration, while others provide more comprehensive tools for tracking employee performance and engagement.
Additionally, many workforce management solutions offer mobile apps that allow employees to access their records and perform tasks such as request vacation days or view their schedule from their smartphone or tablet.
As the use of workforce management software solutions continues to grow, HR professionals are expected to become more involved in selecting and implementing these solutions.
In order to select the best solution for their organization, HR professionals should consider their specific needs and objectives.
Additionally, it is important to consider the user experience when choosing a workforce management software solution, as a poor user experience can lead to low adoption rates and decreased employee satisfaction.
There are many benefits of using workforce management software solutions. These solutions can help organizations save time and money, improve employee productivity and satisfaction, and reduce compliance risks.
As the use of these solutions continues to grow, HR professionals are expected to become more involved in selecting and implementing these solutions.
Workforce Management: Wrap-up
It takes a very talented and hardworking individual to manage a team of people, and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start.
By using the tips provided in this article and understanding workforce management holistically, you can create a more effective and efficient workforce that will help your business achieve its goals – not just in terms of profit, but also in employee satisfaction and happiness.