Workforce Management Maturity Evolution Part 1 – Automation

This is the first 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 1 discusses the first phase of workforce management maturity – automation.

Isn’t it amazing that we can land an exploratory SUV on Mars, but yet there are thousands of organizations still manually processing basic HR, payroll and labor management tasks?

While traditional enterprise software has helped many large organizations attempt to get a handle on managing labor hours, payroll, time-off requests accruals, hiring, etc., there are still many organizations, small and large that struggle with manual, but necessary business processes.

In most cases these organizations perceive their workforce as more of an expense – a cost of doing business. And while HR departments aspire for employee engagement, the workforce themselves’ aspire to be unburdened by enabling them to work efficiently and effectively, without obstacles and processes that hold them back.

Workforce Management Maturity – Automate Phase

The first phase of workforce management maturity is to move from manual to automated. The Automate Phase focuses on the ability to streamline, simplify, and standardize necessary business process such as hiring, absence management or converting hours to payroll. As with all phases in workforce management maturity, the Automate phase combines both process and technology improvements. And while the levels of complexity and maturity vary drastically, from one organization to the next, often there are additional automation steps organizations can take even if they have some level of workforce management already in place.

For example, time clocks may automate data collection from hourly employees punching in and out – yet a company may still benefit from biometric identification, automated time off requests or self service labor level transfers. Or, there may be a segment of your workforce that works remotely, without regular access to a time clock, and requires more mobile technology.

The goal in the Automate phase is to eliminate waste and minimize errors by moving from complex, manual processes to streamlining, and simplifying wherever possible.  The end result is fewer payroll errors, reduced time fraud, better accuracy end efficiency – controlling labor costs and avoiding compliance risk.  

The value of the workforce increases as an organization navigates the automate phase.  Manual, unstructured business processes require tedious data entry, transcription, hand calculation, and error-checking.  This is low-value, unrewarding work.  Automation unburdens the workforce and allows their time and energy to be invested in higher value activities that will further the mission of the organization.

How mature is your organizations’ workforce management? How complex and manual are your necessary business processes? Is your workforce considered more of an expense?

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 two we will review the second phase of workforce management maturity – Planning.

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