Significantly, ‘workforce’ management is about your people, whereas ‘workflow’ management is about dealing with the work itself.
Therefore, to derive the greatest possible benefits from your workforce management software, make sure you keep a focus on your people and don’t just treat them as a lump of ‘capacity’ or a faceless quantity of ‘productivity’.
Set ’em up
First of all, invest the time to set up your software correctly – and that doesn’t just mean installing it.
The more data you can provide, the better the system will be from day one, so make sure it’s fully informed about your people and their skills, along with any specific and pertinent information about shift patterns, unavoidable absences, and so on.
Really there are few limits to how detailed you can be, and like navigating with maps at different scales, the more detail you provide to the software, the more precisely it can navigate your workforce once you put it in control.
Knock ’em down
Next up, once your workforce management software is up and running, start checking the historical data for any deviations from your forecasts.
Again, the more precise you can be in identifying deviations, the better – but don’t go too far, as it’s not worth flagging up a deviation from the forecast unless it had a negative effect on performance or productivity.
Over time, as you pick up on these deviations, you should be able to ensure they are less likely to occur again in the future, gradually but inevitably reducing the margin for error in your forecasts.
Keep ’em keen
Last of all, but by no means least of all, make sure your workforce are involved and ‘on board’ with your new software, so they see it as an ally rather than an enemy.
Accurate forecasts should be useful to everybody, so don’t deny your team members this valuable information, and invite feedback from them if they don’t feel the software is hitting 100% from the word go – there may be a few setup tweaks needed to get it spot-on, but the payoff for investing that time can be huge.
Your workforce are your ‘boots on the ground’, and nobody has a better view of daily activities than they do – not even you – so keep them involved and you might even find them willing to take on some of the admin to get your workforce management software running at its best.
Once it’s up and running and forecasting with a high degree of accuracy, you should soon start to see not just a positive ROI, but potentially a double-digit upturn in productivity and general workforce effectiveness.