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Workforce Management Maturity Evolution Part 2 – Planning

September 11, 2012

This is the second in a four-part series on workforce management maturity. With advancements in cloud-based technology, mobile applications and simplified enterprise applications, organizations are able to transform their workforce from a cost of doing business into a competitive advantage. Part 2 discusses the next phase of workforce management maturity – planning.

The second phase of workforce management maturity evolution is Planning. This phase is about putting your best team on the field to try and address the challenges in managing overtime and ensuring the right amount of coverage.  Once you have automated many of the manual processes that are obstacles for your workforce, the focus should turn to deploying the right person in the right place at the right time – or in other words provide structure to the important business process of matching labor to volume.

Organizations that are in the Planning phase see the value of their workforce as beyond just an expense, and more of a resource – categories of people with certain skills & hard to retain. Similar to an asset like equipment or materials, the workforce is an important component of their business with skills and capabilities that need to be deployed the right way in order for financial objectives to be met. 

Within the planning phase are processes that drive organizational complexity. How these processes are managed can determine an organization’s maturity.  Planning how to deploy a workforce effectively begins with matching labor to volume – short-term labor planning. Based on past data and trends, they should translate business/activity volume forecasts to labor forecasts and create labor standards. This information combined with workforce constraints and requests should yield a labor schedule.

Mature organizations have typically developed sophisticated labor standards, accurate forecasts and schedule optimization capabilities that provides standardization, centralization, visibility and control. By eliminating manual scheduling processes, organizations can reduce excess labor costs from over scheduling and the quality or service level impacts of under scheduling. Overtime and supplemental labor usage is reduced and balanced schedules greatly improve staffing. Moreover, employees are much happier. The time and effort required in manual scheduling processes is eliminated, and schedules automatically adhere to rules, requests, skills, certifications, availability and experience.

How does your workforce know when they are scheduled to work next? How is the right level of coverage for each shift determined? Are employee shift requests and seniority taken into account when a schedule is created? Are there any seasonal or external influences that could impact demand on your business this scheduling period?

With cloud-based workforce management on demand, even small to medium sized organizations can leverage and benefit from enterprise-class technology at a fraction of the cost and resource requirements.

In part three we will review the next phase of workforce management maturity – Execute.

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