Your Guide To Workforce Management
Your Guide to Workforce Management
Your Guide to Workforce Management
As one of the UK’s leading workforce management software companies, we wanted to share our experience with you in this eBook.
What is Workforce Management?
In its simplest terms, workforce management (often referred to as WFM) is an integrated set of processes and activities that an organisation may use to streamline its processes, and to maintain and optimise the productivity of its employees, even when working from home.
Typical workforce management activities include:
Depending on the industry you work in, and the size of your business, workforce management systems can be as complex or as simple as your organisation requires. To understand exactly what it is you need – it’s important to be aware of what each of the above activities involves.
Right people, right place at the right time, for the right cost.
At the heart of any workforce management system is the ability to track employee hours. Technology has moved on from yesteryear's punch-card clocks - time and attendance systems are now available as card or fob-activated terminals, biometric fingerprint readers, facial recognition systems, mobile apps and more!
Even when working remotely, employees can log their hours, providing managers with both historical and real-time information.
When a WFM solution replaces a manual clocking system, we find that the clear majority of our customers experience a reduction in admin time. If your business has complex overtime rules, contractual agreements and pay rates, modern systems really come into their own by allowing the data captured to be sent directly to the WFM system. This can then be exported or integrated into your payroll system to minimise paperwork, reduce the risk of “buddy-clocking” and other bad practices, and avoid overpayments in overtime.
Are you currently creating rosters on a manual spreadsheet or cumbersome planning tool? A WFM system will allow you to easily create the best shift patterns and staff rosters for your business whether in the office or working from home.
Once you have set up the system to align with the needs of your business, you can ensure you always have the right people in the right place at the right time, for the right cost.
By encapsulating leave requests in a self-service module, modern WFM solutions can make managing annual leave a quick and easy process for managers and employees alike. Self-service capabilities empower employees to request holidays, sickness and absence via their mobile phone, tablet or laptop. By adding customisable rules on the back-end, you can automatically ensure that leave requests are handled fairly, and that your organisation is never left understaffed. For example, requests can be approved automatically if no one else in the team is on holiday that day; the system can generate an immediate refusal if too many people are on holiday at once; and flags can be raised in the system if an employee claims to be ill or becomes an absentee after their leave request is refused.
From a technology perspective, it makes sense for all these core workforce management activities to be managed by a centralised system that offers a range of modules to suit employers’ and employees’ specific needs and is accessible even when staff and managers are working remotely. For example, a time and attendance module to manage clocking records, a HR module to store personal data, an employee self-service module for holiday bookings, and a payroll integration module to automate data entry and processing.
That’s why Capita Workforce Management has developed a central WFM software platform that gives you the power to pick and choose the right modules for your business.
Pick and choose the right modules for your business
What are the benefits
of using a workforce
Workforce management solutions provide automated processes for many of the everyday tasks carried out by a HR department, and can help your business drive profit in areas that have been previously inaccessible.
At Capita Workforce Management, we’ve seen organisations achieve a wide range of benefits from their WFM systems. Here are some of the most common advantages that our clients have identified:
A key feature of WFM solutions is the ability to automate many manual HR and payroll processes. From logging lateness and sickness, to calculating hours of overtime and running data-heavy processes such as payroll process, automation reduces the risk of errors. Whenever an employee clocks in or out, this data is automatically recorded in the system, instantly removing the need for data to be entered manually.
Keep in control, even with a remote workforce
There are times when employees, and their managers, need to work remotely. Because WFM is accessed securely online, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re able to continue effective supervision and resource planning whilst reassuring employees that they’ll be paid correctly for the work they do. As well as booking holiday, employees can log their hours and absence remotely on web and mobile devices, providing managers with both historical and real-time information for the full picture.
Increased productivity and business agility
Automated WFM solutions can provide managers and senior leaders with a wealth of data on their workforce from wherever they are, ultimately enabling better decisions for the organisation. Managers can ensure that they have the right people, with the right skills, for the right price, regardless of whether their business is organised around fixed shift patterns or a more flexible gig economy model. Data-driven WFM capabilities enable organisations to adopt a more agile business model and gain the ability to respond appropriately to changing market demands and peak times of year.
Access control is critical for the safety and security of both your employees and your business assets. By including a biometric element to your clocking and access control terminals, you can not only ensure that unauthorised people can’t gain access to your premises or secure areas—you can also eliminate the risk of bad practices such as “buddy clocking”, where employees clock on behalf of other people to inflate the number of working hours that they have logged.
Automating manual data entry and calculations helps organisations ensure that employees are paid accurately and—crucially—on time. With the most common cause of employee dissatisfaction arising from pay-related discrepancies, this is a very welcome benefit for HR Managers in particular. Pay-related dissatisfaction can quickly escalate, leading to bigger problems such as a loss of employee morale, higher attrition rates and possible industrial action.
In addition, the fact that an employee’s own clocking records now result in what they will be paid, there is an onus on the employee to ensure that their clocking records are correct. The resulting increase in transparency and responsibility regarding pay ensures employees are not left grumbling come payday and beyond.
Employees are the most important asset of a company, but they are also often the most expensive. The reduction of human error, the automatic calculation of overtime payments and the elimination of buddy clocking works together to reduce your organisation’s overall costs. When adopted by an organisation of any magnitude, even these small steps to reduce unnecessary costs and overpayments will quickly scale up to become sizeable savings.
Easy integration and automation
To eliminate manual data entry and enable automated processing, a good WFM system must be able to integrate with the other key systems your HR team relies on, such as your payroll, LMS and onboarding systems. This can be achieved using an open application programming interface (API) which connects the systems and allows them to communicate and share data seamlessly.
Reduce your organisation’s overall costs
What to consider when implementing a workforce management system
When you decide to adopt a new WFM solution, careful project management is imperative to ensure a smooth transition to your new system. Organisations that rush the process and pay too little attention to managing business change often encounter problems later down the line.
How to ensure a successful rollout of a WFM system
Here are our top four tips for ensuring a successful implementation
Every HR manager and business leader knows the importance of good workforce management. A successful WFM rollout will assist in streamlining your business operations, help you manage employee productivity and performance, and aid better cost management.
Five ways workforce management systems can save you money
WFM software can bring measurable benefits, including a very rapid return on investment (ROI). By streamlining your day-to-day business processes, WFM solutions can unlock very significant savings, especially for organisations with shifts of hourly-paid employees working 24/7. So, how can a WFM system save you money?
Reduce payroll errors
If you work in HR or payroll, you’ll certainly be the first to know if an employee hasn’t been paid correctly. Payroll mistakes not only cause issues for employees but also create unnecessary work and hassle for the HR team. WFM software protects you from the risk of error; the automated clocking system captures the start and end time of each employee’s shifts, calculates their overtime rates correctly, and ensures that any relevant shift bonuses are awarded at the appropriate times. This not only increases employee satisfaction, but also saves your organization money by reducing the risk of overpayments from inaccurate timesheets.
Cut administrative effort
One of the main issues with manual and paper records is the amount of time that administrative staff need to spend on rectifying issues, such as filling in missing start and end times, deciphering handwriting, and correcting employees’ hours and overtime calculations. With a WFM system, clocking records are captured electronically, eliminating the need for paper records. Managers can approve timesheets with a quick glance and click to confirm.
A WFM system means you don’t need a huge HR department. Functionalities such as automated clocking records, system integrations and payroll export remove the need for your HR team to rekey data, ensuring that your business has a single, correct version of the truth.
Clamp down on time theft
At the last count, it was estimated by the CIPD that payroll fraud, including time theft and buddy clocking, was costing UK firms a staggering £12 billion each year.
A WFM system can help reduce and eliminate both time theft and buddy clocking in several ways. The electronic capture of clocking data ensures that you only pay employees for the hours they have really worked. Biometric clocking terminals also go a long way to stamping out buddy clocking, as fingerprints and faces can’t be duplicated and the devices are almost impossible to fool. Similarly, mobile apps with GPS stamps provide a simple way of tracking remote or lone workers throughout the work day, helping to ensure that the work actually gets done.
Streamline workflows & schedules
Creating rotas and schedules that work for your business is one of the core capabilities of a WFM solution. Understaffing leads to underdelivering on customers’ expectations and can lead to burnout of your employees. Overstaffing unnecessarily increases your labour costs and can have a negative impact on productivity when there is not enough work to go around. With a clear, graphical view of schedules, you can avoid both problems, easily and quickly managing your workforce to ensure that you always have the right people on shift at the right time, for the right price.
Employee absence costs your organisation money. When margins are tight, unforeseen staffing costs can have a huge impact on your bottom line. WFM software helps you spot patterns in sickness and absence by calculating useful metrics such as the Bradford Factor for each employee. This insight enables you to raise issues with employees and offer support where needed, before their attendance issues become a bigger problem. WFM software also allows your employees to book holiday quickly and easily, ensuring they use their annual leave entitlement and encouraging them to take leave at times that will have the least impact on the rest of their team.
The benefits of biometrics
Five years ago fingerprint scanners, iris recognition and facial detection sounded like technologies you’d find in a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster—yet today they have become commonplace in many everyday products. For instance, how many of us now unlock our phones or pay for things using our fingerprints?
Now that these technologies have been tested, proven, and adopted by consumers on a massive scale, it’s the perfect time for organisations to start harnessing them to create business value. In particular, we believe that biometrics have a key role to play in the next generation of WFM systems.
First thing first, what is biometrics?
Biometrics is the science of identifying an individual based on human characteristics and unique attributes, such as fingerprints, iris patterns and facial features. Whilst biometric systems in the movies appear to be easily duped with contact lenses or fake fingerprints, the technologies we use today are incredibly sophisticated and difficult to fool - making them a great choice for security-critical applications.
So how do biometrics work?
Fingerprint scanners typically work by capturing a collection of interesting data-points about a fingerprint—for example, the distances between the ridge intersections—and using an algorithm to convert them into a unique, encrypted mathematical hash. The fingerprint itself never needs to be recorded; instead, we simply keep a copy of the hash that can be used to identify and match against other fingerprints that are passed though the same algorithm.
If you were to reverse the hash to try and gain an image of a fingerprint, it wouldn’t work. Decrypting the hash would only give you the list of vertices representing the mathematical relationships between the points of interest. This is far too little data to allow you to reconstruct the original fingerprint image.
Facial recognition works in a very similar way, plotting the features around the eyes, nose and mouth to help establish a unique hash for every face that is registered. It is common in higher-end face scanners to record a very short video clip as well, and to shine or pulse infrared light from more than one source onto a face to look for shadows and movement. This helps to build up a much more sophisticated record of facial characteristics, and means that the recognition system can’t be fooled by simply showing it a picture of a user’s face.
What are the benefits of using biometrics within your business?
As outlined above, biometric records are incredibly hard to crack, fake or fool. Even identical twins would have different fingerprint and facial hashes. From a WFM perspective, the ability to identify people with near-zero risk of error can be very valuable. For example, it eliminates the risk of “buddy clocking”, because unless an employee is physically present on site, it’s almost impossible for them to clock in.
Biometric clocking and access control systems can also be much more convenient for employees, who no longer need to remember to bring a physical ID with them to work. This can also reduce the cost of the whole process around purchasing, printing, issuing, checking and revoking ID cards or tokens, as well as significantly improving safety and security for employees and other users of your site.
When managing people, it’s important to realise that your success depends on the success of your team. The more engaged, supported and trusted they feel, the more they will grow and the more empowered they will become. Empowering employees means giving them the ability to make decisions and take action that will benefit them and their careers, as well as the organisation they work for.
People who work shifts or do other types of nonsalaried work have historically been among the least empowered employees in any job market, yet they make a vital contribution to almost every aspect of our society. At the same time, public consciousness around worker exploitation and the gig economy has never been higher, and organisations that fail to treat workers fairly are increasingly likely to face negative publicity, pressure from government, and even legal action.
On the other hand, organisations that are willing to empower these employees can gain a key competitive advantage - especially in a job market where freedom of movement is increasingly under threat and labour shortages may be on the horizon. By addressing the key concerns of shift workers and making their working lives easier, safer and more convenient, they can benefit from greater long-term employee retention and reduced hiring and training costs.
Modern WFM solutions offer a number of capabilities that can help your organisation empower all its employees - for example:
Accurate, on-time pay
For employees, there is nothing worse than getting to payday and realising that their pay cheque isn’t what it’s meant to be. Inaccurate or late pay is a surefire way to rile your employees and provoke them to complain to management—or even quit if the situation is not resolved quickly.
A WFM solution not only ensures that every employee’s hours are correctly logged, but also guarantees that they are assigned the right pay and overtime codes. Meanwhile, self-service portals, accessible remotely from mobile devices, give employees the ability to keep track of the hours they have worked and the pay rates for each shift throughout the month. This enables employees to flag any potential discrepancies well ahead of payroll to ensure that they are always paid accurately and on time.
Visibility of shifts
Giving employees visibility of their working pattern, especially when it involves weekends or night shifts, is another key element in making and keeping them empowered. A WFM solution that provides an instant view of upcoming shifts allows them to make the most of their time outside of work and plan for childcare and other responsibilities. This not only makes employees’ lives easier - it also reduces the risk that they will need to miss a shift at short notice, and avoids last-minute staffing problems.
A good WFM platform can also offer employees the ability to swap their shifts with a colleague if they need to—for example to attend their children’s school play or sports day, fit in a doctor’s appointment or just make better use of their time off. Automating this process can allow employees to swap shifts and cover for each other at the click of a button, eliminating the need for time-consuming approval workflows and form-filling.
Holiday bookings and absence management
Picture the scene; you’re sitting at home with your family and your other half points out an advert for a dream holiday. There is even a special offer saving you £500 if you book before the end of the week. However, you know that making a holiday request will involve filling in loads of paperwork and you’ll probably have to wait three weeks before it gets authorised. Not particularly empowering or motivational for you or your team, right?
What if there was a better and quicker way to request leave? A modern WFM solution should include a self-service portal that employees can access via the web anywhere, anytime. The portal provides instant visibility of their annual leave calendar and create new holiday requests. Moreover, rules can be set in the background to ensure that minimum staffing levels aren’t jeopardised and that requests can be automatically approved whenever possible.