Gone are the days when culling workforce data took tremendous time, energy, effort, and money. Next-generation workforce management (WFM) innovations have enabled real-time data collection, with workforce stats and performance indicators readily available at the disposal of managers.
With many innovative, cloud-based solutions available, organizations now have the capability to use data to pinpoint how their workforce is performing, which will ease the great pressure that some managers are under to make informed business decisions faster. At the same time, employees expect a better experience from their workforce tools.
The urgency for next-generation workplace data collection applications is high. These applications should empower managers, accommodate flexibility, and enhance the overall employee experience.
There are three key capabilities that these new-age technologies are expected to transform, allowing workplace leaders to collect data efficiently, and make fast and better management decisions.
1. Automation of tactical management tasks
2. Improvement of general employee workplace experience
3. Accurate and reliable tracking of workforce composition
Let’s go through them one by one.
1. Automation of Tactical Managerial Tasks
Managers should be spending most of their time providing strategic management to their teams instead of getting buried in tactical management tasks.
The former increases productivity because it focuses on employee development and contributes to overall business development. The latter involves necessary, but tedious mechanical tasks.
By adopting new generation data collection technologies, managers can untangle themselves from tactical management tasks. Here are a couple of examples:
● Time offs approval
When not planned carefully, employee time offs can cause massive disruptions. Managers are burdened with the important task of making sure all shifts are covered and ensuring there’s enough manpower to keep things moving forward. It’s a time-consuming process.
New generation data collection systems provide employees with a visual representation of the scheduled time offs for their team and automatically prompts them to select a different slot. By having this “self-service” approach, managers can reclaim hours in their work week that would have been lost if they were to process time offs manually.
● Deploying a contingent workforce
Unscheduled absences can hurt a team’s productivity. With a new generation data collection, managers are immediately notified about these disruptions. The system also automatically generates a list of contingent employees that are most suited to replace the absent employees. All the manager needs to do is to trigger the process.
The Society for Human Resource Management defines employee experience as the encapsulation of what workers feel, observe, and encounter day-to-day in the conduct of their work. This is influenced by three key factors: technology, culture, and physical environment.
Technology is just one third of the equation, but it affects employee perception about workplace culture and their physical environment as well. Improve technology, and you also improve these two other areas to some extent.
How do next-generation data collection technologies improve employee experience?
● Time capture and approval
New data collection solutions can offer employee GPS tracking. Having the ability to record employee location through mobile devices and enabling them to clock in when they reach a certain proximity to the office has a positive impact on employee experience.
WFM data collection technologies can also trigger automatic reminders when employees are reaching the end of their shifts. Managers can also benefit because they can review and approve time entries easier and faster; thereby minimizing errors from manually clocking in and recording work hours.
● Better work-life balance and better retention
As the labor market has become more competitive, organizations have realized that scheduling automation makes sense business-wise. It should also offer employees better scheduling visibility and flexibility.
With next-generation data collection applications, employees can easily provide their schedule preferences to management, resolve scheduling issues, and provide feedback in terms of schedule quality.
Experts predict that remote workers will dominate the US workforce by 2027. As is, the current workplace composition is more dynamic with a diverse mix of full-time, part-time, remote, contract, and freelancers.
Managers cannot afford to have blind spots regarding their current workforce composition. This is where next-generation data collection can help. More importantly, new age data collection is an advantage in the following workforce management areas as they relate to monitoring workers composition:
● Costing projection
As managers accrue data over time, they will notice certain spikes in the labor costs for the wages of gig employees or freelancers and other contingent workforce. For example, the data might reveal that labor costs for contingent workforce increases during the flu season due to absences. As early as the planning stage, these costs could already be considered.
● Identifying cost-saving opportunities
Organizations with a good mix of in-house employees, contractors, freelancers, part-time workers, etc. should have a clear picture regarding the productivity of each workforce category. They should be able to measure the quality of their work.
For example, hiring freelancers for certain tasks/projects is typically cheaper compared to hiring in-house staff. If freelancers can get the same job done in the same amount of time while meeting the same quality standards compared to in-house personnel, why wouldn’t an organization opt for the more cost-effective alternative?
It wasn’t too long ago when organizations would forego workforce data collection. It was difficult, tedious, and often expensive.
However, with the deployment of innovative, cloud-based data collection solutions, getting insights into today’s modern workforces has become more accessible. Not using these tools means managers could be missing out on the many benefits data-driven workplace management provides.
Data collection empowers businesses the opportunity to make smarter decisions around everything related to human capital management — from managerial tasks automation, improvement of employee experience, tracking of workforce composition, payroll, compliance, and training and development.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing web-based business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family, friends and finding ways to make the world just a little better. You can find Dean on LinkedIn.