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Game management – can you react to changing conditions with your team?

January 20, 2012

I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, in addition to my day job at Kronos, I am a high school basketball coach. I recently presented to a room full of newly hired sales people on how our customers use workforce management systems. When discussing scheduling and staff management, the discussion surprisingly moved into a conversation about coaching…

Building a Roster, Defining Positions and Game Management

Like most teams, we have a roster of 14 players. At the beginning of the season, we planned on having [hiring] a total headcount of 36 players [ee’s] – 12 on the Varsity, 12 on the Junior Varsity (two who also play Varsity) and 12 on the Freshman team.

As the season goes on, we deal with absenteeism (injuries, sickness, etc.) and our goal is to minimize the impact with substitutes that can perform up to (or close to) the same level as the absent player, while also minimizing the impact on the other players ‘ performance when the new player is integrated to the lineup.

But one of the most interesting correlations was regarding Staffing. Reacting and adapting to changing conditions to maximize performance. As a coach, if I had the same line-ups and substitution patterns for every game at the exact same time, regardless of the situation, what would the result be? Depending on the ability of our players, we may have some success, but we would not be optimizing our line-up based on the situation.

Coaches train their players to be agile and flexible based on the game situation and react to changing conditions to constantly maintain the highest level of performance. Are we facing a big team that is slower but strong? Are we facing a smaller, quicker team? Do we need more scoring? More defense? More rebounds?

Managing your Workforce – Hiring, Scheduling, Absence, Staff Management

Workforce scheduling is often a complex planning process, based on analyzing historical data to provide insight to anticipated labor needs. Labor forecasts and budgets provide employers with the insight needed to match anticipated labor needs to expected volume. In some cases, labor budgets and employee schedules are produced weeks in advance.

Like a coach you have hired an optimal number of employees, and cross-trained a segment of them to address absenteeism.

What about executing as a manager within the week, day or shift? Can you respond to changing conditions and optimize the employees you have working based what you need to address or how to capitalize on a given scenario? Is your workforce agile? Do you have visibility into what is happening at a given point in time, and have the ability to tap into other resources available? Staff management/whole house staffing can provide managers with this necessary visibility, fully integrated with time and attendance, scheduling, payroll and labor analytics.

Success = Plan + Execute

Successful coaches not only plan in advance, they execute in the moment with agility to react to game situations. Successful managers must take the same approach – using labor forecasts and budgeting to plan ahead, but then leverage their workforce as needed based on changing conditions (increase in patients, higher store traffic, a slow manufacturing line, power outages, etc.) Today’s workforce management systems provide new levels of visibility into the staff on hand and the areas that need to be addressed, allowing managers to optimize their workforce and strive for operational excellence.

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