When there's a disconnect between talent management and workforce management systems productivity can suffer. Meaning organizations must find a way to effectively combine talent and workforce productivity systems and processes to provide a seamless, strategic experience that maximizes efficiency. But knowing about a problem and fixing it are often two very different things.
Recognize the Disconnect
As noted by Harvard Business Review, while HR typically owns the "employment system" that handles full-time and part-time staff deployments, procurement-focused departments get control of workforce resource planning systems. But it's no longer enough to hire and develop great talent and then (separately) try to optimize your workforce to meet demand. The two processes must happen in concert — and in real time — to maximize ROI. Ask yourself who needs to be collaborating and how you can bring them closer together.
Find Common Ground
Look at how and when the HR/Talent teams do their budgeting and planning, and be prepared to have the operations folks inform their decisions and timing. For example, if talent needs can be forecasted down to the job/skill and month/week, and those needs can be compared to the anticipated available talent (with expected turnover factored in), then a hiring and development plan that is well aligned with reality can be developed. When these processes are out of alignment, businesses can be overstaffed or understaffed, which can impact costs, business outcomes and employee satisfaction.
Create Time to Align
So how do organizations make the time to get better aligned? The complexities of talent management and day-to-day workforce management processes make them very time consuming. Explore technologies that can help automate time-consuming administrative tasks, or if you are already using software, but handle it entirely in-house, consider finding a cloud-based solution provider. Finding a provider that offers feature-complete shared talent and workforce management systems as a subscription, cloud-based offering takes the burden off local IT and HR professionals, allowing them to focus on more strategic responsibilities.
As noted by Forbes, "people analytics" is taking over HR. Why? Because engaged employees are productive employees, and the most effective way for HR departments to engage staff members is by using reliable data to inform their actions. Without the cloud, however, analytics at the scale required to enhance results simply aren't possible. What matters most to staff will invariably change over time and systems must be able to report on current trends immediately, not after the fact.
Even the best technology won't improve productivity without the right strategy. HR leaders and C-suite managers must collaborate before deploying new technologies to define metrics, describe outcomes and decide what a "successful" workplace productivity strategy looks like.
Consider moving from standalone systems to integrative technology, which addresses workforce productivity needs both immediately and over the long term. There are solutions today that will let you see talent metrics — such as hiring and turnover — alongside workforce metrics — such as overtime, absences and premium labor costs. HR and operations can sit side-by-side to identify opportunities for alignment and to appreciate each other's side of the equation.
Similarly, these solutions are often connected in ways that allow key HR data, i.e., people records, to flow to the workforce management systems in a timely fashion. So as soon as a new person is hired they will appear as available to the manager who is trying to quickly fill shifts and optimize the schedule.
Once businesses adopt a merged talent/workforce strategy, here are specific outcomes HR professionals should expect and how they benefit the bottom line.
- Better scheduling — When managers have the tools to forecast their needs, and when they search for people to schedule, and the talent they need is available when they need it, schedules and business outcomes are optimized. Having the right people, in the right place at the right time is possible, when you can look at past trends, current metrics and future predictions help fine-tune staffing decisions.
- Engaged employees — When employees can identify their availability and preferred shifts in advance, managers and the scheduling technology can find them the shifts they want to work. Furthermore, by letting employees communicate with one another via the workforce management system, they can advocate for their own needs and swap shifts to suit their personal schedules with management oversight and automatic notification.
- Cost and overtime control — Are certain employees taking on too much overtime? Are they being assigned too many overtime shifts by management? Visibility into overtime hours can help ensure that your best employees don't get "burned out" and you can proactively manage to keep down overtime costs. Operations and HR can work together to understand what acceptable OT limits should be, and align the hiring and talent plan to address it.
- More optimal labor and skill management — Not all employees share the same skill set or performance goals. With easy access to the appropriate data, management can ensure the ideal combination for scheduling, and can put employee learning, development and succession plans in place to keep a steady stream of talent flowing to where it is needed. Retention-focused strategies can lower turnover, reduce hiring expenses and increase morale, while minimizing disruption to productivity.
Workplace productivity shouldn't exist in a vacuum. By combining talent and workplace management solutions, both the frontline managers and the C-suite should benefit from greater control and enhanced productivity, and employees should be more engaged as a result.