Workforce Management Trends: Looking Ahead to 2016

by | Dec 18, 2015 | Blog, Thought

Workforce Management Trends: Looking Ahead to 2016

Every year we partner with Workforce magazine to conduct an extensive workforce management trend survey. This year’s findings reveal a combination of proven best practices and emerging trends around three red-hot issues: organizational efficiency, compliance, and employee satisfaction. See how your organization stacks up with this three-part series on the latest workforce management trends.

Part 1: Organizational efficiency

Leading organizations continue to automate workforce management processes in order to cut costs and boost organizational efficiency. Yet nearly 35% of survey participants indicated that they depend on manual practices—such as having employees complete paper timesheets—for processes like time and attendance, workforce scheduling, absence and leave management, and labor analytics. Another 15% use hybrid solutions, such as managing processes for a portion of their workforce using manual spreadsheets.

Replace manual processes

We’ve known for a long time that manual processes generate higher error rates. Here are just a few real-life examples:

  • Misreading handwritten time data – Sarah works in payroll, and twice a month she spends the bulk of her time keying handwritten time data into a spreadsheet. Often, she finds it difficult to read the employees’ handwriting. In those instances, she can either delay payroll and go track down that person (or persons), or she can make an educated guess about what the scribbles on the timesheet really mean.
  • Keystroke errors – Pat also spends a huge chunk of time rekeying time data each month. Yet one slip of the finger—omitting a zero or adding an extra one—can have significant consequences for the organization in terms of payroll accuracy.
  • Inconsistent rounding procedures – Marco and Diana both arrived at work at nine minutes after the hour. However, they report to different managers. Marco’s manager manually marked him ‘on time’ and he got paid for the full hour, but Diana was docked 15 minutes of pay. An automated solution would have applied the company’s ‘grace period’ policy consistently across all departments.

All told, manual processes like these account for payroll error rates as high as 8%1. Organizations that automate workforce management processes eliminate this margin of error and are able to maintain greater consistency and payroll accuracy.

Accelerate payroll processing

Automation also reduces payroll processing time. According to industry estimates, it takes seven minutes to manually review a paper timesheet. Multiply that investment of time across thousands of employees, and the impact is significant, forcing managers and payroll professionals to put in extra-long hours each time payroll is processed. Those moving to an automated solution experience immediate benefits through increased accuracy and time savings.

Fill shift vacancies more quickly

Another area where greater efficiency is sorely needed and can be achieved through automation is in addressing the issue of employee absence. According to survey results, 37% of organizations that rely on shift work do not currently fill a vacancy when faced with an unexpected absence. Instead, they do nothing, causing productivity to plunge with each unplanned absence. Automated scheduling software such as EmpCenter Advanced Scheduler eliminates this issue by streamlining callout procedures while also allowing managers to prioritize by skill level and budget. So it’s easy to fill open shifts with the precise qualifications you need, keeping productivity levels high without exceeding your overtime budget or violating union or organizational policies.

With an eye toward maximizing efficiencies in 2016, it will be more important than ever for enterprise organizations to choose technologies that allow them to meet 100% of their goals across all locations and employee groups—while simultaneously managing costs and facilitating higher levels of engagement and productivity.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Employee Satisfaction. And for more on current workforce management trends, download the 2015-2016 Workforce Management Trend Survey.

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