In the last decade, the Workforce Management (WFM) industry has experienced significant change brought about by technology disruption.
Gone are the days where shifts used to be scribbled on a Rota pinned to a wall & staff used to write down their schedules and clock in by writing down their time on a book manned at the reception.
Gone also are the days those managers used to spend hours on the phone trying to find replacements to shifts. It was a frustrating time, a time rife with inefficiency and a time where it was infinitely harder to enjoy work.
Thankfully, workforce management – and the way businesses operate – has evolved. We have abandoned pen and paper, and instead find ourselves on a more exciting and less time-consuming path.
The world’s response to COVID-19 has also resulted in the most rapid transformation of the workplace. Working from home and working near home has become the new normal and has now led to not only building the relationship between firm and customer but also digitizing the relationship between employer and employee.
We have been catapulted forward, fast-tracking trends such as automation, digitalization, and innovation.
Companies are at a crossroads with those that prioritize on post-COVID opportunities finding themselves in the front row of retaining their best talent and attracting people when the situation stabilizes
The combination of technology, changing behaviors of consumers and employees, and the needs and wants of Gen Z and Millennial workers are fueling both the industry’s growth and its increasing importance to businesses that rely on the deskless workforce.
With more workforce management software embracing cloud computing the tools have become affordable, scalable, and is constantly improving with regular updates. This brings with it better integration and more robust security. Gone are the days of being reliant on a legacy system or even worse a spreadsheet.
The need to offer and deliver flexibility has been another catalyst behind the way workforce management has evolved.
With flexibility as a core tenant, the way we work today and the process of doing work is changing right in front of our eyes. The gig economy started this transformation, as a break away from the traditional employment model.
In 2020, at the onset of COVID-19, the Workforce management was tasked with building more trust with the employees even as they opted to embrace new trends like Working From Home. This saw more people in the workforce have been mandated to be more responsible.
This period has required us all to be supportive of one another, as we all face uncertainty. Control has to some extent given way to trust.
People are learning how to do work disparately and with far less oversight: they are learning “on the job” what works and what doesn’t work at home and holding virtual meetings that might have happened before but never to such an extent.
During the pandemic period employees have had to develop a learning mindset to help get through this and even the uncertain times. Now more than ever employees are harboring more than one skill.
The quick adoption of new, advanced technology is the central catalyst and is likely to lead to an acceleration in the creation of new roles.
Changes in workload during the pandemic have sometimes resulted in an imbalance of resource allocation. Reskilling and upskilling has since helped employees move from one part of the business to another.
Moving forward management will be tasked with ensuring that they source for employees who have more than one skill and will also be tasked with ensuring that their employees enroll for short courses and get training to advance their skills.
As mentioned earlier and working from home becoming a trend for many businesses, the management is now tasked with embracing Workforce management tools.
These tools have evolved into the crucial piece of the puzzle that allows businesses to deliver. It doesn’t end there.
The best workforce management software will include features that address everything from employee scheduling, attendance tracking, leave management, onboarding, benefits administration, call center optimization, HRIS, time tracking, and payroll systems—just to name a few!
An intelligent workforce management solution will for example help businesses intelligently automate schedules, based on employee skills and experience, or times of peak demand. And warn when scheduled hours exceed budgeted hours or if you have an unhappy employee.
Some of these tools also help workforce management quickly measure, track and predict the absence of employees while making it easy to find cover for shifts and to manage leave applications.
The tools also help to significantly reduce margins for error in the payroll by integrating it with time reporting and scheduling.
Put simply, if your business is reliant on a diskless workforce, a WFM tool is the secret ingredient to business optimization.
From communication, scheduling, and forecasting through to employee engagement and retention, WFM software can help you optimize huge swathes of your business and together with automation, AI and machine learning help you create a happy, profitable, and successful business with employees who enjoy work.
This is what the future of work – and workforce management – looks like
In conclusion, the unprecedented times and the events that have unfolded have shown how fast we can adapt and have demonstrated that we can move faster and act in more agile ways than we thought.
Business leaders now have, in some sense, been gifted with a better idea of what can and cannot be done outside their companies’ traditional processes, and COVID-19 is forcing both the pace and scale of workplace innovation. Many are finding simpler, faster and less expensive ways to operate.