How to get the most out of a Workforce Management System: Empower Your Workforce (part 3)

4 April 2016

Workforce Management

In my previous blogs I described how important a transparent labour model and flexible workforce are to the successful implementation of a WFM system. Today I want to focus on how such a system can help re-engage your workforce, improving morale and colleague retention.

The labour flexibility I spoke about in my previous blog isn’t just advantageous to your managers. When supported by the right tools, this flexibility allows your colleagues to achieve a better work-life balance by taking more control of when they work:

  • Managing availability to work
  • Early visibility of scheduled shifts
  • Trading shifts with colleagues and volunteering for unfilled shifts
  • Visibility of hours worked and preview of associated pay
  • Requesting time off and accessing balances e.g. holiday, lieu time etc.

I worked with a hospitality company who built their business case for WFM purely on reducing overtime and payment errors. After rolling out the system they performed a survey which showed that their workforce’s engagement levels had increased significantly. As a result of this they can expect to benefit from additional return on their investment in two key areas:

  1. Colleague retention – Recent analysis by Oxford Economics found that the average cost to replace an employee is £30k (primarily due to loss of productivity whilst the new recruit gets up to speed). If an organisation with a 5k headcount reduces staff turnover by just 1% this equates to an annual saving of £1.5m.
  2. Revenue – A happier workforce is a more productive workforce and this is especially important in a customer-facing environment. I can speak from my own experience – the amount of time (and therefore money) I’m prepared to spend in a store, restaurant or coffee shop is entirely driven by the level of customer service I get.

Modern WFM & HR systems are now taking the engagement & empowerment concept to the next level by incorporating social elements into their self-service offering. Using the company’s social network, colleagues can informally communicate with and recognise one other. Gamification is also starting to play a part as colleagues are encouraged to compete with their peers in return for formal recognition or simply the kudos associated with being top of the leader board!

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