This article was updated on Aug. 30, 2018.
Organizations are continually trying to increase workplace productivity, promote flexibility and respond in an agile manner to demands on the business. It is, therefore, imperative for HR leaders to incorporate innovation into their workforce management strategy to ensure it is scalable, responsive and can meet the needs of both a permanent and contingent workforce.
Here are three ways to generate results:
1. Digital Transformation
Identifying the technologies that best suit each organization's specialized circumstances will reduce the complexities involved in maintaining multiple systems and lay the groundwork for a more responsive IT environment. Rather than buying components from different vendors and trying to merge them into a customized system, a more efficient and simplistic approach is to use one outside vendor to bring together hardware and software in an integrated approach. This can transform organizations by streamlining additional add-ons and providing scalability and increased productivity.
Those enterprise applications can also extend to smartphone and tablet platforms, allowing them to be deployed to a range of devices through a flexible architecture that can interface with mobile and HTML technologies.
Google Hangouts, Zoom video and web conferencing and Screenhero are all examples of applications that digitally transform a workforce, giving staff the ability to work flexibly and remotely while still feeling connected to their team.
2. Mobile Workforce
Mobile devices should be at the forefront of any workforce management strategy. Apart from their primary purpose of communication, those devices also manage applications such as contacts and calendars and also facilitate a myriad of learned behavioral apps, which can assist employees with daily tasks.
A report by Berg Insight predicts that by 2018 2.5 million organizations in Europe and North America will adopt mobile workforce management solutions. That is a 21 percent increase from the 0.8 million users of mobile services in 2012. According to the ADP Evolution of Work Study, "45 percent [of respondents] fear that automation, smart machines and artificial intelligence will replace people for repetitive work," but "90 percent of people believe technology will allow for deeper connections across distance and time."
Mobile devices let people be more informed and more engaged than ever before. Organizations can create a competitive advantage by using those devices to generate a holistic system that improves the employee experience. Employees can work from anywhere and, where an organization permits bring your own device (BYOD), choose their preferred operating system, generating cost efficiencies, flexibility and productivity.
According to a Citrix employee survey, 61 percent of respondents felt mobile access improved productivity. Ford Motor Co. has recognized this trend in employee behavior and allows employees to have their own smartphones via a program called the individual-liable device program (ILD), which has been utilized in 20 countries since 2009, according to an article in TechTarget.
Additionally, this increasingly intelligent mobile technology has led to the emergence of the "gig economy" (think Uber, Kickstarter and Freelancer), which offers the potential to transform your workforce with independent workers. Organizations can host their own private cloud-based talent platforms to source freelancers that match the skill sets needed or interact with online marketplaces and crowdsourcing platforms.
3. Data Integration and Automation
Automating workforce management processes can certainly increase organizational efficiency in areas such as payroll, rostering and leave management. For example, 48 percent of HR leaders surveyed by Workforce Software indicated they "only learn about payroll errors when employees notify them." The survey also reported that only 11 percent of organizations who employ shift workers "use an automated callout tool or process" for unplanned absences and 37 percent simply "don't fill the shift."
The loss of productivity and business output related to those issues could be avoided by the installation of automated scheduling and payroll software. Thereby filling vacant shifts promptly based on your organizational requirements, letting employees easily swap shifts or indicate availability and automatically notifying both employer and employee immediately of any payroll discrepancies.
This automated data is also collected and can then be integrated and analyzed to produce productivity dashboards, providing real-time information and insights into employee performance. The reports can then isolate particular issue areas and assist with creating a culture of accountability.
With the continual growth in new technology, coupled with a shift toward a more mobile workforce, the true assessment of an organization's workforce management strategy is the direct impact on the bottom line. Embracing innovative practices such as cloud-based applications, automated systems and data integration are key to generating increased productivity and managing regulatory and compliance requirements in the future.