How to Choose & Implement Workforce Management Systems

Workforce management (WFM), labor management (LM) and human capital management (HCM) are more than buzzwords among HR experts and operations leaders. They’re becoming bigger and bigger parts of how companies are run. A trend that can only be expected to continue in the coming years.

According to industry research, expectations are that by 2025, 80 percent of large enterprises with hourly workers will have invested in WFM to support the employee experience and/or digital workplace initiatives.

There’s an endless list of potential benefits that attract business leaders to WFM. Increased efficiency, lower costs and the availability of a wide array of meaningful performance measurements are among the most desirable. But WFM is not only implemented in the name of the singular end goal of making the business more successful through productivity improvement. It also helps create an improved experience for employees. 

It’s easy to see why WFM is something so many businesses see as part of future-state operations. What’s not always as apparent is where to start and how to accomplish a WFM system implementation. 

A trusted group of WFM experts can help you get there by following a simple, yet all-encompassing process.

Step 1: Assessment of Your Current Systems

There’s no one-size-fits-all WFM solution. Every company—even every store or distribution center within the company—has different strengths and weaknesses and therefore different needs. By assessing the current state of operations you can pinpoint exact pain points, compliance risks and other places to improve.

The best way to gather this mission-critical information is to bring in workforce management experts to conduct a comprehensive evaluation, with fresh sets of eyes, so they can make educated recommendations. By spending time on-site and examining the inner workings of a workplace down to every detail, consultants like Connors Group can gain an understanding of the operation with depth that really isn’t possible any other way.

Once the learnings from an assessment are secured, the smartest course of action can be planned to rectify prevailing pitfalls and further improve existing efficiencies. Prioritization can take place and a roadmap of immediate fixes and longer-term targets can be laid out.

Step 2: Conducting a Cost/Benefit Analysis

In a perfect world, every recommendation would be brought to life. The reality is that doing so may not be financially feasible or may exceed necessary timelines. As much as a company might want to improve every deficiency and fine-tune its strengths, budgets may only allow so much to be done. To make sure the most impactful changes are made at the lowest possible expense when implementing a workforce management system, the costs and benefits of each recommendation must be made—you could say the goal is to determine the most efficient way to improve efficiency.

This step is where key decision makers and the internal team that will work directly on implementation have to begin asking tough questions: Where can we realize the biggest benefits? What can we do now? What do we need to wait to do? Do we have the resources ready to begin big initiatives now? Can we accurately foresee now what the benefits will be for long-term projects?

Having a trusted partner who specializes in both conducting such analyses and implementing WFM systems makes answering those challenging questions easier.

Step 3: Implementation

Labor management and WFM systems can help organizations make incredible strides in productivity, but they’re not set-it-and-forget-it systems. Through AI and other advancements they can remove a great deal of guesswork, yet there’s still a human element involved in putting them in place and running them. Even the most talented team needs guidance to get started with—and then get the most out of—their chosen WFM platform.

Part of what makes WFM implementation so complicated is the fact that the aforementioned human element is already tied to other legacy systems. It’s worth noting that WFM systems don’t exist in a vacuum. Many of the companies most in need of implementation assistance already have sophisticated human capital management in place or soon will.

In fact, according to Gartner, Inc. “by 2025, 60% of global midmarket and large enterprises will have invested in a cloud-deployed HCM suite for administrative HR and talent management. However, they will still need to source 20 to 30 percent of their HR requirements (often including WFM) from other solutions.”

That means implementation will involve getting two or more—and in some cases many more—systems to work in concert. Doing so will require experts in implementing WFM, labor management and task management systems who collaborate with client’s teams on an ongoing basis through project management, training and regular ROI assessments. If that sounds like a lofty expectation, it doesn’t have to.

Putting It All Together

In their report on WFM, Gartner also notes that “this market is highly fragmented, and in some cases organizations may have very niche requirements.”

As Connors Group’s list of clients indicates, they have experience with industries of all kinds. Bridging gaps and connecting businesses to systems that work for them is what they do. Their LaborPro engineered labor standards system, for example, was designed for retail, grocery, distribution, manufacturing and service industries. A wide range of applications.

Yet even with industry-best technology, nimble cloud-based solutions and continual development and feedback, systems are—to an extent—only as good as the way they’re implemented. Through thoughtful, a la carte training and resources like an extensive library of continuous education you can ensure implementation is treated as the ongoing process successful companies know it has to be. And as a result you can also ensure your systems are always being utilized to their fullest capabilities, allowing your company to attain its fullest capabilities as well.