What’s Next in Workforce Management: 4 Predictions for 2015
Change: it’s constant for HR professionals. So we know 2015 will bring its share of challenges—as well as new opportunities. As the year comes to a close, let’s gear up for Q1 by considering the hottest workforce management topics of 2014 with an eye toward what’s coming in the year ahead:
- Free agents are on the rise … and we’ll see more companies adding contingent workers to their total workforce metrics in 2015. According to an analysis by Ardent Partners, utilization of contingent labor will increase by nearly 30 percent by 20171. Many factors are contributing to this shift, including fluctuating demand and legislative changes, like the Affordable Care Act—which is, in effect, uncoupling health insurance from employment. As a result, there are more skilled, experienced free agents available for contractual, freelance, part-time, or temporary work. So how will this increase play out in 2015? We anticipate that more employers will seek to add these contingent workers to their workforce management metrics in order to capture complete, accurate analytics across their entire enterprise. This in-depth visibility will enable greater strategic decision making and could even validate the use of contingent workers in a way that further increases their usage in the years ahead. (For more on this topic, read Workforce Management for Contingent Labor: Turning Free Agents into a Competitive Edge.)
- Cloud workforce management enters primetime … and employers will begin to realize greater benefits of workforce analytics in 2015. At WorkForce Software, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented shift to cloud adoption this year, which is no surprise as the benefits of cloud deployment become more widely recognized. According to Gartner Research, “The cloud is rapidly becoming the dominant delivery model for new human capital management systems.”2 And Towers Watson points out that “40% of companies are only considering SaaS-based solutions for their new HRMS.”3 But the shift we expect to see in 2015, which hasn’t fully taken hold yet, is a greater usage of cloud-based, real-time workforce management analytics. In our fifth annual Workforce Management Trends Survey, less than half (47 percent) of respondents told us that they currently use labor analytics to drive business value. And, not surprisingly, 43 percent indicated that analytics would be the most important function they’d look at if they were to evaluate a new workforce management solution today. Look for analytics to take on more importance in 2015 as companies begin to tap in to the potential for using big data to drive enterprise-wide business outcomes.
- Policies shape performance … and employers will seek new ways to increase automation and transparency in 2015. From offering more generous leave policies than required by law, to allowing employees to have a greater say in when and where they work, employers are using organizational policies to foster greater engagement and brand equity. Yet, there is room for increased automation and transparency—two key benefits of total workforce management. In 2015, look for employers to take workforce management to the next level with more precision around functions such as accrual tracking and scheduling. Similarly, we anticipate an increase in the use of flexible, accessible employee self-service options as employers look to align policies with day-to-day activities and increase clear, transparent communications.
- Compliance remains a big concern … and legislative demands will continue to grow in 2015. Our Trend Survey also revealed that employers aren’t just worried about the financial risks of noncompliance. Their biggest concern (69 percent) is that noncompliance would lead to a decline in morale. And that concern will like grow—exponentially—as more labor regulations come into play. A leading trend in this area is paid sick time, which continues to gain traction in the U.S. While actual legislation is highly regional at this point, with concentrations on both coasts, multiple states—and a smattering of individual cities—have proposals in the works. Should those proposals become laws, organizations with employees in those locations will have additional compliance regulations to contend with. In addition, as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, employers will be held to greater accountability for tracking employee hours in order to align with the expectation of providing health coverage for full time equivalent employees. And these are just two of the compliance implications in the works for 2015. To learn more about what you can expect, tune in to our next webinar, Compliance Update 2015, featuring our Director of Compliance, Paul Kramer.
As we close the door on 2014, what workforce management issues are most pressing for you? And what are your predictions about what lies ahead in 2015? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
1 Dwyer, Christopher J. Ardent Partners. “The State of Contingent Workforce Management 2014: A Framework for Success.” November 2013.
2 Gartner Research. “The Top Three Impacts of Cloud Computing on Human Capital Management Business Applications.” December 2013. https://www.gartner.com/doc/2642619/top-impacts-cloud-computing-human.
3 Towers Watson. 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey Results. June 2014. http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2014/06/2014-hr-service-delivery-and-technology-survey.