If you’ve read our deep dive into workforce management, you’ll know how beneficial Workforce Management Software can be. There are endless providers of WFM software, which is both a blessing and a curse. When you have multiple vendors to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one might work for you. Rather than focusing on just the essential features, we are highlighting those that work best to create a well-engaged workforce, which is essential. These features focus solely on communication, flexibility, efficiency, and accountability. All of these are key areas that should be addressed during any workforce management overhaul.
1 ) Centralized Scheduling
Typically, a business will use spreadsheets for its scheduling needs. With a decentralized method like this, any changes that are made need to be re-saved and re-distributed. This creates room for error and increases the likelihood of scheduling changes being missed or overwritten. With the right WFM software, schedules should be centralized, and stored in the cloud. That way, anyone with access to the schedule can make and review changes instantly. Those changes are reflected for anyone else viewing the schedule, and it prevents the possibility of lost data and other errors.
2 ) Schedule Distribution
Once you finalize your schedule, you can distribute it in a number of ways. Echoing back to using spreadsheets – this often leads to the schedule being printed and posted in a common area for staff to go and review. With a process like this, schedule changes often go unseen by employees and some employees may miss the schedule altogether. With the right WFM software, employers can distribute the schedule digitally instantly, and even notify employees of any schedule changes that are relevant to them.
3 ) Allow employees to self-schedule themselves
In an effort to create an engaged workforce, providing some level of flexibility is a great start. Most WFM providers will offer some form of self-scheduling. By giving your employees the opportunity to contribute to their own schedules, you are giving them autonomy and keeping them engaged. Celayix offers both self-scheduling and shift bidding. While self-scheduling allows employees to claim shifts on a first come first served basis, shift bidding is a great way to start. It allows employees to place “bids” on shifts, which basically signals their interest and availability to work the shift. Once the bids are closed, management can decide themselves who to assign to the shift or use Celayix AI or Autofill to find the best fit employee.
4 ) Allow Employees to submit their availability
If you’re not in a position to allow employees to self-schedule, there are other ways to involve your employees in the scheduling process that provide them some level of autonomy. A great start is by giving employees the opportunity to provide their availability. The rules-based scheduler will then avoid scheduling those employees on the days they are not available. As mentioned above, involving your employees in the scheduling process is a great way to keep them engaged.
5 ) Shift confirmations for employees
In a further effort to engage employees and tackle absenteeism, your WFM software should have an option to ask employees to review and confirm their shifts. This is essentially asking employees to affirm they have viewed and are aware of their schedule. Management should be able to review the schedule and contact any employees who have not confirmed their shifts. This allows for better planning in the event an employee cannot make a shift. It also provides a record so employees cannot say they “forgot” their shift.
6 ) Important alerts for Management
As a manager, it’s typically pretty vital for you to know if an employee is late, or a no-show. Without the right systems in place, it might be hours before you notice or are alerted, or even worse you mightn’t notice at all. With WFM software that is linked to your time and attendance system, you should receive alerts if an employee is late or absent. This allows you to reach out and follow up, as well as replace the employees sooner rather than later.
7 ) Easily find replacement staff
Speaking of late check-ins or absences, having the right processes in place can save managers a great deal of stress. A good WFM software provider will have a feature to help you manage replacements. In the event of a late check-in or missed shift, the system should generate a list of qualified & available employees to choose from. Celayix’s Find Replacement feature can even choose the best fit employee for you.
8 ) Handle remote workforces with GPS Geofencing
When it comes to handling a remote workforce, there are definitely some major challenges. One of these challenges is knowing that your employee got to the site on time, and are safe. To tackle this, Celayix developed GPS geofencing. Essentially, schedulers can create a GSP perimeter that employees can only check in/out of if they are within it. This not only ensures that the employee arrived on time, but it also verifies that they are actually on site. This helps reduce time theft and other forms of time fraud.
9 ) Ensure remote workforce safety
For employees in remote locations, possibly working alone, it is important for them to be able to let others know that they are safe. A safety check feature in the system shows a time-stamp once the employee has checked in as “safe”. In the event that a regular safety check is missed, measures can be taken to ensure that all is OK. This feature can also use the GPS geofence to ensure that the employee is on-site, as well as safe.
10 ) Secure, internal communication platform
Often, it is necessary for one employee to quickly and easily message another employee or supervisor for a work-related issue of any kind. Advanced workforce management systems sometimes have built-in messaging features so that personal or work email/text messaging is not required. By providing a dedicated space for work communications, employees can maintain a work-life balance. Showing your employees that you care about their work-life balance is a great way to keep morale high.
Aside from looking for features that will improve workforce management, it is equally important to ensure that your WFM software is easy to use. Usability is crucial to ensure both schedulers and employees are comfortable using the system. If the software is not user-friendly, it can create other inefficiencies in your processes that go against the objectives of Workforce Management practices. It is also important to educate employees on why you are implementing WFM software. Once they understand that it is to improve their lives and the work environment, they are more likely to use and benefit from it.