How to get the most out of a Workforce Management System: Get Flexible! (part 2)
In part 1 of my blog I described how keeping the labour model as simple and transparent as possible increases the chances of user buy-in whilst still generating an accurate labour forecast. Today I want to talk about how critical the flexibility of your workforce is to the successful implementation of a WFM system…
It’s all very well having a sophisticated tool to tell you exactly what skills are needed throughout the day at each location, but if your business is constrained by inflexible work contracts it can be very difficult to make any real use of this information.
More and more organisations are moving away from traditional working patterns and shift rotations to more flexible contracts:
- The colleague is guaranteed a minimum number of hours over a specified period e.g. weekly or monthly
- They are contracted to make themselves available for work for specified days of the week and times of the day
- The shifts they work are planned and communicated 1-2 weeks in advance based on their guaranteed hours and contracted availability
Not only does this work to the advantage of the business by improving customer service and reducing overtime costs, but modern WFM systems also make this advantageous to the colleague.
By using functionality such as online holiday booking, availability management and shift trading they can take greater control of their work-life balance.
In turn this further increases the benefit to the business since colleagues are likely to be more productive if their working hours suit their needs as much as the company’s.
Improving the flexibility of a workforce is typically achieved through a combination of colleague turnover and contractual negotiations and so inevitably takes time.
Any business looking to take advantage of a WFM software solution should therefore start taking steps to improve the flexibility of their workforce well in advance of the procurement of such a system.