Everyone counted down to zero hoping that Y2K wouldn’t cripple the world. People were partying to Britney Spears “Baby one more time” and Mark Zuckerberg was yet to have attended Harvard. We texted our friends on our Nokias, and we have started a new digital millennium.

It’s amazing how long ago this feels now.

How was the workforce managed in the year 2000?

Managers or admin staff manually made rosters, printed them or hand wrote them and pinned them to the notice board. Time was either recorded on paper or via a large ugly looking “clock” on the wall, and overtime pay was calculated manually (and sporadically) in the store.

So what has changed since the year 2000?

The Y2K bug has gone and left with just a huge consulting bill.  Britney Spears has had 2 marriages, 2 kids and 100 scandals. Mark Zuckerberg has a relatively successful website for linking together friends, and phones have had some minor improvements as well!

Workforce Management in 2017

Rosters are still mainly manually built by managers, time is still captured on large ugly “clocks”, rosters are still written or printed on walls, there are too many manual processes in calculating correct payments…… and the list goes on.

Often when I visit workplaces, I get ‘But this works for us’ or ‘We have always done it this way’. I used to love my Nokia 3210 but it would be weird if I was still using it today!


So what? Why does any of this matter?

Unfortunately there are 4 key issues with these practises:

  • Expensive to administer – the huge amount of time invested in these manual processes could be better invested
  • Lack of visibility (as I discussed in my last blog) – there are a number of key area’s that these processes don’t highlight
  • Prone to error – without automation, under and overpayment is almost guaranteed
  • Inconsistent – having 10’s or 100’s of people independently building and interpreting rosters will never provide a consistent investment or service outcome

So what’s next?

It’s time to make a plan, but what type?

  • Quick wins
  • Technology updates
  • Transformational change

It is likely you will need all three, but the one thing that is certain, sitting still is a guaranteed loss maker.


Author: Scott Gavens   LinkedIn Logo

Scott is a Workforce Management Solutions expert having worked on building solutions that drive value for more than a quarter of a million employees in over 3,000 customer sites.

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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.