Top 10 Workforce Management Mistakes

Businesses have begun investing in automated workforce solutions to help them attract, engage, and retain top talent while controlling costs and driving exceptional service


In today’s world, organisations recognise that success depends on strong relationships built on trust and transparency. In a competitive market, a company’s employees can make or break these crucial relationships through their interactions with customers. That is why businesses have begun investing in automated workforce solutions to help them attract, engage, and retain top talent while controlling costs and driving exceptional service. 

Managing a diverse workforce across many locations and sites can be challenging. Identifying and retaining best-fit employees is a task in itself, but you also need to optimise day-to-day functions such as time and attendance, scheduling, payroll, labour cost and productivity tracking, and compliance management to stay competitive and profitable. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that management teams are often not leveraging their workforce processes and technology for maximum impact. A few common mistakes in workforce management would include: 

1) Trying to manage labour compliance with outdated systems and processes 

If your organisation fails to keep up with labour law changes and new legislation, it could pay a steep price. While managing labour compliance is always complex, it can be especially difficult when you use manual methods, semi-automated processes, or a proprietary code-based system. An automated workforce solution enables you to configure complex work and pay roles once and apply them consistently and accurately. 

2) Providing a substandard mobile experience for human resources (HR), scheduling, and timekeeping  

Convenience and empowerment are essential to employees. Hourly employees want the ability to punch in and out, submit timesheets, request leave or time off, or view schedules from their mobile devices. Salaried employees expect anytime, anywhere access to HR information, accrual balances, and notifications. Similarly, managers can be more effective with mobile tools that enable them to manage processes, no matter where they are. By offering mobile tools, your organisation can drive higher engagement and retention rates. 

3) Enforcing absence policies inconsistently and accruing time off manually  

Absence management and accrual tracking systems automatically enforce time-off policies to help eliminate misuse of leaves, ensure fair treatment of employees, and support compliance with government regulations. These solutions reduce the impact of planned, incidental, or extended employee time off by providing visibility into trends and patterns of employee planning, allowing you to take action before absenteeism impacts labor costs and productivity. On-demand access to accrual balances helps employees make time-off requests based on eligibility while helping managers make informed approval decisions. 

4) Looking the other way when hourly employees do not adhere to optimised schedules 

Time and attendance reports can help managers quickly verify whether employees are adhering to the optimal schedules. If nonadherence is an issue, sophisticated analytics solutions can be used to quantify its business impact, providing answers to questions such as, “Is employee idle time on the rise?” These insights help you spot trends that can negatively affect employee engagement, customer service, and the bottom line. Another way you can improve schedule adherence is to empower your employees with self-service tools that give them greater flexibility and control over their schedules. 

5) Relying on manual and semi-automatic systems for time and attendance management 

Even if you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place, its basic timekeeping functionality might not be able to handle the complex work and pay rules needed for accurate absence tracking and compliance management. Automated time and attendance systems provide significant cost and productivity benefits that extend across the enterprise. Furthermore, automated tools expedite or eliminate tedious administrative tasks so managers can focus more time on coaching employees and generating revenue.   

6) Depending on disparate systems for a holistic view of the workforce 

In today’s fast-paced environment, there is limited time to put together information from multiple non-integrated systems when critical decisions need to be made. Unified workforce solutions provide a holistic view of employee history by integrating HR, time and attendance, scheduling, and more, to create a single employee record that is updated in real-time. This visibility allows managers to make more informed business decisions at the moment. Integration places core business metrics in one central location to tie people-centric data to overall business results, supporting the continual refinement of organisational strategies. 

7) Neglecting to keep tabs on evolving employee expectations 

Implementing effective people strategies is more important today than ever. Automated surveys provide an easy and convenient way to measure employee engagement. Many organisations are taking advantage of pulse surveys — short questionnaires presented at frequent intervals — to gain insight into employee expectations. Outdated performance review processes that use complex paper-based forms will do little to encourage meaningful communication. Automated talent management systems, however, support a flexible, data-driven approach to nurturing employee engagement. With immediate visibility into goals, managers are better able to initiate communication with employees in order to understand expectations and support continued development. 

8) Staffing to achieve the lowest labour cost without accounting for employee engagement and customer service

Businesses, too often, focus heavily on minimizing labour costs when staffing their offices — an approach that can result in low employee morale and dissatisfied customers. Accurate time and attendance tracking and optimised scheduling can help you keep labour costs in check. Ready access to forecasted demand and current employee profiles lets you know how many employees are needed and which ones have the skills and experience to deliver quality service or other desirable business outcomes.

9) Failing to consider employee performance when determining the optimal staffing mix 

Performance analytics solutions provide key labour metrics to measure individual productivity and effectiveness. This performance insight enables managers to schedule high performers with the right skills where and when they are needed most. Performance metrics also offer benefits that extend beyond scheduling like implementing a custom incentive pay plan to reward top performers.

10)  Lacking a data-driven approach to optimizing workforce utilization and performance 

Without the ability to integrate and visualise key data and metrics, managers are left to rely on educated guesses and gut instinct rather than actionable insights. Advanced scheduling systems with accurate demand forecasting capabilities take the guesswork out of workforce management, helping your organization transition from reactive decision-making to proactive planning. Leveraging data from various sources, these tools demonstrate how historical trends coupled with everyday choices will impact the future of workforce productivity.  Managers will be able to predict ahead of time, when and where the call or foot traffic spikes will take place. Therefore, fine-tune scheduling practices are critical to ensure maximum productivity meeting demand and to identify future labour requirements early on to allow ample time for onboarding and training new employees. 

In conclusion, managing a diverse workforce is a complex undertaking, so even the savviest business leaders are bound to hit roadblocks. Dependence on manual and semi-automated processes or multiple disparate systems can compound your workforce management challenges. Real-time visibility and data-driven insights are crucial to effectively control labour costs, improve productivity, minimise compliance risk, and drive employee engagement. By recognising these common workforce management pitfalls and taking steps to avoid them, organisations can better leverage people resources to achieve a competitive edge. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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