How HR Technology Helps Ease Staffing Strain, Engage Employees, And Lower Costs

Peter Harte, group vice president, enterprise, EMEA at UKG, takes a look at how HR technology can benefit businesses. 

The Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) recently reported that the UK could face two years of labour shortages due to a combination of COVID-19 and Brexit. From construction and manufacturing to retail and hospitality, it is no secret that these challenges have brought about widespread worker shortages to organisations across different industries.

With a much smaller pool of talent, it is vital for business leaders to invest in their existing workforce. In fact, how organisations choose to manage and support their employees during times of disruption will mean the difference between sinking or swimming when trying to navigate future challenges. Leveraging the power of modern HR technology can help to ease the strain placed on the workforce, improve employee engagement, and keep costs down.

The benefits of leveraging workforce management technology

Modern technology enables organisations to efficiently gather and display business-critical data. Workforce management technology gives business leaders the potential to leverage innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for demand forecasting. It can also help to build optimal schedules that consider the needs of individuals, the business, and customers, which is vital for maintaining wellbeing and safety on a large scale.

Armed with these powerful tools, organisations are better equipped to counter challenges such as unplanned absenteeism due to sickness. A modern workforce management solution will quickly identify the next available person with the appropriate skills to fill a shift. As part of this, the automation of processes and use of predictive analytics, such as identifying, contacting, and adding to the schedule suitably of qualified replacement workers, will help to significantly reduce manual efforts. This development, in turn, can save time and money, and boost overall productivity levels. 

Put simply, workforce management technology enables team leaders to easily and accurately put the right people, in the right place, at the right time. The ability to quickly make the right decision is key to optimal performance as this enables the gathering of accurate, real-time information. Only with visibility, control, and flexibility, across both the workforce and the systems used to manage it, will businesses be able to manage risks, control costs, and exploit new revenue opportunities effectively. 

HR technology can also help to make complicated but vital tasks much simpler, such as improving scheduling and forecasting through its ability to easily cross-site schedule. Organisations with multiple branches can use features like these to distribute staff across multiple stores or brands in close proximity, thereby optimising labour budgets and meeting customer demand more effectively – all on a single platform.

Putting information in the hands of employees

Contrary to popular belief, digitalisation does not replace or dehumanise the HR function. Instead, research from the Workforce Institute at UKG shows that improving employee access to information and HR services actually works to empower individual staff members. Some of the ways this is made possible is through resources such as digitalised knowledge bases and mobile access to schedules, which allow employees to access information and forms whenever and wherever they need. 

Digitalising HR document journeys serves to boost overall engagement and productivity by enabling the flexibility that employees both want and need. Plus, increased automation is necessary for organisations looking to navigate the new world of work, as it puts the power back in the hands of staff.

In addition, handing mobile access to employees provides greater autonomy, and works to reduce the admin burden on HR teams. Utilising mobile apps to manage communications in real-time is also an effective way to help identify staff shortages and respond accordingly. 

Saving valuable time

Manually creating complex schedules takes time and more often than not these schedules need to change or be adapted at short notice. However, it is not only scheduling that demands a lot of HR’s attention. Time and absence management itself requires careful consideration, planning, and upkeep to get it right. This is where automated workforce management technology comes into play, by transforming these two distinct HR functions and linking them directly to payroll.

Through greatly improved and automated business intelligence, managers are able to make better, more informed decisions. The result of all of this is a successful business, with happy employees, that delivers financially, commercially, and operationally. This is why workforce management technology should be a top priority for small businesses, large organisations, and everyone in between. Fundamentally, it will transform your operations and pave the way for growth, success, and optimised performance in times of uncertainty.

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