There is a new buzzword in the Human Resources profession, and it’s something that is finally bringing HR and Finance departments together (and that in itself is unusual). It’s called “Workforce Management”, and it is somewhat misunderstood at the moment. So what is it, and how can it help your business?
Workforce Management is a development of what used to be called “Time and Attendance”. Primarily used in retail, construction and manufacturing industries, where employees are used to working in shifts or ‘work patterns’, Time & Attendance has always proved to be an efficient, if basic, clocking in-clocking out system.
The advantage for employers was that they could easily monitor working times, yet the disadvantage was that it was sometimes left open to abuse, and that data didn’t flow from a Time & Attendance system very easily.
Today’s more mature development, Workforce Management, is a system that incorporates Time & Attendance with other features such as Rostering and Scheduling. It equally hooks up with your payroll system, ensuring that employees are paid for the time they have worked – reducing the likelihood of underpayments or even costly overpayments.
As a business owner, you will only really see the benefits of Workforce Management if you have a workforce of at least 300 people. Below that, there are simple online solutions which cost very little. Above 300, and you start to need an extra level of complexity. Some systems allow you to drag and drop employees into rostering schedules, and more complex ones alert you to preferred work patterns for each employee, as well as ‘premium pay scenarios’, which you can limit in order to save money.
Businesses who use these systems are experiencing savings of at least 2% of their overall salary bill, simply by reducing overpayments. That’s a stunning figure, and it increases when businesses use rostering systems to match their employee resources against peak periods. For example, a supermarket gets busy on a Saturday morning, but less busy on a Sunday evening, so the system can suggest the resource required. That helps improve the customer experience – and productivity – while helping the business manage cost.
Ultimately, it’s about running a business more efficiently – something that everyone is trying to do in these stretched times.
Nick Laird is Chief Commercial Officer for Ceridian, a leading provider of HR, Payroll and Workforce Management solutions.