I get frustrated every day when I read articles from software vendors or consultants with vested interests on how to get the most out of your workforce. One of my key frustrations is that very few of them actually focus on a holistic Workforce Management, so often they miss the point and lead some of their customers on a costly journey.
To get the most from your workforce it is important to understand 3 key things:
- What is Workforce Management?
- How do you understand your challenges and opportunities?
- How do I turn that into an investment strategy?
What is Workforce Management?
Workforce Management is the end to end process and practise of managing your workforce.
Whilst this might seem like an obvious and simple answer, I have seen and read 1,000 articles on LinkedIn on “What is Workforce Management?”, and 999 out of 1,000 managed to define the answer as “Whatever the software I have to sell you is capable of”!
Workforce Management is not a software system. No one would confuse air traffic control software with air traffic control, or building software with actually building a house. It would be silly to make the same mistake for Workforce Management.
Further to this there is no one software or software suite that is even close to handling the complex requirements of Workforce Management. Instead to compliment Workforce Management a suite of tools are required to support the overall process.
How to understand the complexity of your workforce – A common framework
Whilst every business’ Workforce Management challenges differ, it is important to also acknowledge that each of these challenges follow a common theme or framework. Below is a framework that can be used to map most medium to large business needs for workforce management:
Now you have a framework, so what?
Now that you have a common framework you can categorise and understand your business based on the following:
- How does each capability impact your business profitability?
- What is your current business process related to each capability?
- What is your current system and labour investment in maintaining each capability?
- Are there gaps or duplication in effort?
- What are the opportunities for future additional business benefit?
- Which capability provide a competitive advantage (or weakness) vs. the competitor?
- Do your current workforce processes and systems talk to each other?
- Do your current workforce process and systems talk to the rest of the business?
As you map these systems and processes you will be interested to find that a number of your key workforce management processes aren’t delivered by what are considered typical workforce management or HCM tools. Additionally often the weakness in workforce management tools is there lack of ability to communicate (and therefore deliver) for the rest of the business.
How do I turn that into an investment strategy?
With a better understanding of your business it will put you in a much better position to make investment decisions. Consider:
- Does the software I’m being sold really improve my workforce productivity, and does it produce the best ROI?
- Do solutions to improve my workforce productivity sit outside of my ‘traditional’ workforce management tools?
- Are their quick wins I can deliver today without new technology or costly investment?
- Could I be getting more out of my existing systems?
Once your business has completed the above process you should have created a unique roadmap for your workforce success!
Scott is a Workforce Management Solutions expert having worked on maximising value and building solutions for more than a quarter of a million employees in over 3,000 customer sites.
Contact ATEO today to understand how we can help you understand your Workforce landscape and get unbiased advice on how to get the most out of your existing and new tools.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the author/ATEO and do not reflect the view of any current company I’m working for.