WHAT IS WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY?
Workforce management is defined as the business area that manages labor activity and spending including timekeeping, scheduling, attendance and leave, data collection, reporting, and labor related analytics. It is the real time domain of management decisions and labor cost that is administered within technology systems and devices.
Workforce Management Systems include:
Timekeeping Systems: Ex: Advanced software applications and data collection devices – including everything from basic, mechanical card punch timeclocks to biometric scanners, telephone systems with number validation and voice recognition, web applications, bar code readers and GPS technology. After data is collected, the software is responsible for administering the calculation of pay according to complex federal and state rules, union bargaining agreements, human resource policy, and scheduling models that seek to balance the employer’s workload against employee schedule preferences and personal constraints. In other words, for employees to be treated and paid fairly and consistently, employers must understand and configure these systems appropriately. With the technology advancing, practices that were acceptable under paper or strictly mechanical devices are no longer acceptable. Ex: Workers today work remotely – at home, in the car, by computer, etc. This complicates reporting of time and the definition of what is compensable time. Thousands of employees are suing their employers for failure to pay for time worked (e.g. class action suits against Walmart, AT&T, and numerous other employers in industries as diverse as hospitals, hospitality, retail and manufacturing), suppression of reported hours to avoid overtime, and a host of other violations of current statutes.
Scheduling Systems: Today the challenge is “work-life fit”. Employees are working multiple jobs, juggling child & elder care, night classes, and transportation with working hours. Today’s highly optimized scheduling systems used the wrong way can put undue burden on workers, produce unpredictable schedules based on business volume rather than employee availability, reduce total hours disqualifying employees from qualifying for company benefits such as healthcare, or create fatigue, stress and health problems from being overworked and under-rested. In some industries, fatigue is highly regulated and employers MUST understand how to manage work time. Scheduling systems used improperly – focusing on bottom line profits rather than patient care or worker safety– can result in increased patient falls and medical errors in the healthcare industry or increased on the job injuries in manufacturing environments. They can also hurt low wage workers where schedule stability and reduced hours fail to match financial and personal needs
Leave Systems: The federal Family Medical Leave Act mandates a complex set of rules for managing employee attendance. Making sure workers receive their full benefits is very difficult without an automated system. Yet, few people understand how to translate the laws into system usage. While abuse is rampant, costing employers millions of dollars, poor management can also create hardships for employees who do not get to enjoy the full advantages of this program.
Analytics Products: Applications which link business systems with labor activity and cost. Integration is often found in retail Point of Sale systems, Healthcare Patient Information Systems, Manufacturing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, Human Resource systems, Payroll Systems, Business Intelligence systems (BI, Data warehouse). These intelligent systems can manage everything from employee fatigue to machine utilization and customer traffic.