Successfully managing a workforce is a challenge for businesses of any size, but new mobile and cloud-based technologies can help streamline operations while allowing organizations to customize their approach to HR.
Workforce management analytics and reporting allow organizations to move beyond the management of employees, with its hyper-focus on mundane aspects such as attendance and scheduling management, into predictive modeling. This helps ensure that organizations are prepared to deploy the right number of employees with the correct skillsets at the required time for the lowest cost.
Moving forward, improved workforce management solutions will allow organizations to revamp how they manage and deploy their teams; the importance of customer satisfaction means availability won’t be the only metric driving resource allocation.
When staffing up projects, organizations will have more data to account for performance, utilization, employee churn and many other factors that threaten the ability to complete projects on time and on budget.
But in order to succeed, organizations don’t just need to collect data about the state of their business; they need to leverage that data for valuable insights that will allow them to survive in industries that are constantly evolving.
“More and more organizations are realizing that they need to keep their workforce management solutions up-to-date and current for accurate time collection and payroll as well as legislative compliance,” Craig Fearon, a senior product director at SumTotal, which specializes in human capital management (HCM), told Dice.
As Fearon explained, the adoption of new HCM technologies is an ideal time for organizations to consider how they can streamline and simplify their processes based on the capabilities of new systems.
“As the hosting and management of the application is removed from the organization’s IT department responsibilities, we have seen customers be more aggressive at upgrading and updating their systems,” Fearon said.
Cloud computing and vendor-hosted solutions such as SAP SuccessFactors and Oracle (among others) have changed how organizations approach workforce management. By moving the management and hosting of the application to a vendor, organizations no longer have to worry about the on-premises management of the application.
In addition, moving to a vendor’s cloud frees up resources and time, and (hopefully) ensures guaranteed uptime for an application.
Paul Yaros is vice president of Changepoint’s global professional services division, which uses a cloud-based HCM for formal performance management, along with other management tools that track project performance. Within the latter system, employees maintain a skills list, which managers can review to identify growth opportunities.
“This puts the power in our employees’ hands,” Yaros explained. “It allows our employees to pursue new skills and passions while expanding on the skills and capabilities that bring value to our business and customers.”
The cloud has also changed how Changepoint collects data and makes business decisions, thanks to software that is more accessible. “Software-as-a-Service-based technologies have extended robust workforce management software to all organizations, regardless of size,” Yaros said.
Although Changepoint, with 250 employees, has a smaller workforce than many multinational corporations, they work across more than twenty physical locations across the globe. “Employee accessibility is a top priority for us, as it directly impacts how frequently our team interacts with a tool,” Yaros said. “More robust data means better data guiding our decisions.”
By letting employees work from anywhere, mobile technology also helps companies make more informed staffing decisions, better control costs, and meet contractual and regulatory labor obligations.
Yaros also noted that, with multiple generations making up today’s workforce, it’s important to keep employees’ unique values in mind when considering how to share the insights gained through HCM technologies.
Jen Ryan, director at Mavens, a consulting firm that builds cloud-based software for healthcare companies around the globe, told Dice that her company has begun using cloud technology to staff projects in optimal ways.
Mavens’ Intranet is not only a tool to share information, but also a collaboration tool for projects and sales opportunities. Traditionally, most consulting companies use a staffing coordinator to place staffers on projects—a process ripe for disruption.
“We have democratized the process by allowing a salesperson to create staffing requests for project needs that are shared with the entire team so that each individual Maven can have visibility into upcoming project needs and express interest in new roles by reviewing the staffing request,” Ryan said.
In theory, this eliminates the need for a staffing coordinator, while empowering employees to take accountability for the types of projects and roles they are interested in pursuing. A part of employee compensation is based on resource utilization, so employees are incentivized to engage and express interest in new projects. “This provides a nice check and balance to enable freedom of choice for employees, and contributes to the culture of accountability,” Ryan said.