Disruptions, Solutions, and Customer Satisfaction: The Argument for Intelligent Workforce Management
High employee turnover is driving organizations to focus on their workforce as a priority. Leadership is looking for better ways to optimize the workforce to achieve organizational goals while also ensuring a positive employee experience to retain talent.
Recently, leaders from IDC (Amy Loomis, Research Director, and Lisa Rowan, Research VP), Oracle (Daryn McCool, Senior Director), and WorkForce Software (Joe Ross, Chief Product Officer) sat down for a webinar discussing “The Business Case for Intelligent Workforce Management.”
We’ve summarized the highlights for your convenience below, but please watch the full webcast for a more thorough and detailed discussion.
The Disruptions and Uncertainty Currently Challenging Businesses
Though many restrictions stemming from the COVID pandemic are being rescinded, companies are still globally dealing with its ramifications. At the peak of the Great Resignation in 2021, a total of 47.4 million Americans voluntarily left their positions, nearly a third of all U.S. workers. Some left for remote-work opportunities, some left to spend more time with family. Ultimately, they all left because they were unsatisfied with their jobs.
What caused this dissatisfaction? Many blame traditional workforce management practices that approach employees with a top-down, “operational goals” focus. Lack of consideration for work/life balance in scheduling, poor training, lack of communication, and other difficulties have taken their toll on the modern workforce. While the ultimate goal of any company is the health and success of the business, many workers felt this goal was being achieved at their expense. Being treated as another “cog in the machine” led many to flee at the first convenient opportunity.
That convenient time was the pandemic, where a once-in-a-lifetime disruption collided with decades of frustrated workers. In the aftermath, industries have found themselves in an all-time labor shortage having to compete for talent. How are they to find the right workers, keep them trained and skilled, and—most importantly—retain those workers for the long run?
We believe the answer lies in modern workforce management programs.
The Case for Intelligent Workforce Management
Those enticing new labor opportunities weren’t equally available to all employees, however. Remote work, while considered revolutionary in its sudden implementation and scale, has only become available to a subset of workers whose roles predominately require computer/office work performed during traditional 9 to 5 hours. Meanwhile, deskless/shift/frontline workers (who make up a whopping 80% of all workers worldwide) have been left out of the digital revolution.
A modern workforce management approach is the perfect method to address these issues. Workers may not require a computer or communication hub to support their roles, but they still need to connect with each other and with leadership—the modern prevalence of personal mobile devices provides a great opportunity to keep teams working together. With two-way communication channels, access to employee data, and scheduling information all available through a single app, workers can be empowered to do their best possible work without the hassle and distractions of traditional models.
Further, the call for many years before the pandemic was, “Millennials are coming to the workforce! How are we going to handle them?” Well, they’re here, and they expect a more digital approach to their roles within the company. Through their smartphones and tablets, these digital natives have a tech tether to almost every important aspect of their lives—entertainment, banking, health—why should it be different at work?
These are singular times. For the first point in history, there are five distinct generations of workers in the workforce. And it’s not just Millennials and younger Zoomer workers whose employee experience improves through better work tech—Gen X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation have all become more tech savvy in recent years and could benefit immensely from a more digital connection to their workplace. When an employee needs to take time off, request overtime, check paystub details, or consult training programs, they no longer need to leave their work areas to physically contact a representative: it can all be done through a single app on their personal device.
According to a recent IDC Technology Spotlight: The Imperative and Value of Intelligent Workforce Management, the use of these technologies in business is only expected to increase: “By 2023, 70% of connected workers in task-based roles will use intelligence embedded in adaptive digital workspaces to engage clients/colleagues and drive enterprise productivity.” While some may still be hesitant to implement such technological changes to their business, the time is swiftly coming where only those forward-thinking companies who did have survived to thrive.
Agility and Flexibility
One benefit of modern workforce management is an increased ability to remain agile when it comes to scheduling and training. When certain workers (say, in a manufacturing setting) resign, replacing them is a much harder task, as their role-training is far more skill-specific than in other industries.
But when on-the-job training can be complemented with digital training, accessible anywhere through a worker’s smartphone, those empty slots can be filled more easily. Moreover, by making use of employee data and scheduling software when determining team composition, you can ensure that less experienced members are matched with seasoned vets who can train them and oversee their work. This allows organizations to remain agile and flexible in the face of any challenge or obstacle that may present itself.
By meeting labor demands with flexibility and communication, companies can prevent future burnout and understaffing, which often spark retention and morale issues.
Satisfied Employees Create Satisfied Customers
Many workers can relate past issues with their organizations to a narrow focus on operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and productivity. These were often pursued at the expense of employee satisfaction, which is ironic, as studies have proven again and again that there is a direct correlation between satisfied employees and satisfied customers.
Studies repeatedly show that the key to a successful business is an engaged workforce. Disengaged workers cost money and customers, while engaged workers increase profit and customer satisfaction. It’s as simple as that. No business has ever benefitted from ignoring employee dissatisfaction.
When IDC surveyed IT and line-of-business (LOB) leaders about their top business priorities in 2021, over 50% of respondents indicated that their organizations were focused on retaining the right people to improve customer acquisition and retention rates. Organizations are realizing the importance of both employee experience and customer experience and are beginning to merge them, treating each as interconnected critical priorities.
The global pandemic pushed through technological changes in the workplace that weren’t expected for another decade. But now that the paradigm has shifted, businesses must adapt to these new expectations. In the current labor market, workers:
- Have more choices than ever
- Use digital technology daily to manage their affairs
- Demand flexibility in their roles
- Require digital tools to perform their roles to the fullest
In times like these, organizations must answer the call of the workforce if they are to remain competitive. That is the ultimate case for intelligent workforce management: it saves time, costs, and effort and keeps your teams working together and performing at their best.
Who could mount a good case against that?
At its heart, we believe modern workforce management is a discipline focused on optimizing business performance while treating workers as a valuable resource. Bridging the gap between desired business outcomes and employee expectations, modern workforce management provides consumer-grade tools to support your employees’ successes on the job no matter where and when work happens.
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