The Era of Machines: What Automation Means for HR

What is Workforce Management?

Workforce management (WFM), sometimes known as Human Resources Management is simply the process of ensuring that you have the right number of right workers operating at the right time and place, and performing the right tasks. And the objective of this process is to meet your company's goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Workforce management software handles a broad range of HR tasks including employee time tracking, employee scheduling, demand prediction, payroll administration, talent management, benefits administration, training programs, vacation and leave planning, performance monitoring, and crisis preparedness.

 
Michael Hawkins
Franchise Owner of Interim HealthCare SLC

“Interim Healthcare SLC needed HR technology, and we’re pleased with the results we’ve gained from HR Cloud’s solutions for recruiting, onboarding, and employee engagement. Yet it’s an opportunity for all Interim franchises. It would be so great if each franchise owner could implement similar solutions to replace legacy systems that might not work as well as they should.”

HR Before Automation

What was Human Resources like before the invention of Workforce Management software? Before automation, any HR manager will tell you that the struggle was real. The Human Resources Department was, and continues to be, responsible for the recruitment of talents, the development of talents, and the retention of talents. And all of that was done manually. They had to make sure that they find the right number of people who have the right skills to perform the right tasks at the right time on a day-to-day or hour-to-hour basis. Can you imagine tracking all of that data manually? This means that some of the information gathered will probably be generalized. Most likely, some of the data will be assumed. This results in a lot of imprecise workforce data which will be used to plan for present and future needs. 

Without automation, workforce planning is more like looking into a crystal ball and trying to see whether you'll have a talent surplus or shortage in the future. No company wants to be understaffed, nor do they want to have too many people on their staff which means increased costs and unnecessary manpower. Either of these situations will decrease profitability, reduce productivity, demoralize employees, and frustrate your customers. But if a lot of your data is based on guesswork, inefficiencies in both time and cost abound. To prevent guesswork, a company will need to employ a much larger team that will be responsible for managing and maintaining the data. This is an added cost that also cuts into a company’s profitability. 

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HR After Automation

We have already intimated that the role of HR in workforce management is to maximize the value of an organization's human capital. Well, the only way to do that effectively is through automation. Workforce management software enables the Human Resources Department to gather and analyze big data on their workforce. This, in turn, allows them to make better decisions that will help them win the war for talent. Workforce analytics can help HR understand and react to the dynamic, competitive environment of today's world. We all know how today’s workforce is much different from yesterday’s workforce. When it comes to scheduling shifts, HR should not only be concerned with meeting business demand but also with employee preference. Companies today have to provide more flexible work schedules. Some employees will prefer to work early in the day in order to leave early in the afternoon. Some prefer that opposite. Others would like to work from home or set their own hours to suit their current lifestyle. Scheduling would be a nightmare if WFM software wasn’t available. And what about employee time tracking? With automation, HR can not only ensure that employees are paid fairly but they can prevent payroll leakage from going unchecked.

 

 

Changes to the workforce has also made automation a real lifesaver for HR. No longer do we have long-term, full-time employees. Today’s workers are made up of full-time, part-time, freelance, and contingent workers. There’s also the increased importance of providing a work-life balance. Without automation, how would HR ever schedule these workers’ shifts in such a way that would mean less cost for the company but favorable outcomes for both the employee and the company? Naturally, with the rise of new types of workers comes rules and regulations that govern the pay and benefits that each type receives.

Automating workforce management does not only deal with recruitment, scheduling, and time tracking. With the right tools, HR can foster ongoing employee engagement and increases talent retention. Some companies use time tracking applications with pop-up survey questions which allows upper management to keep their finger on the pulse and provide appropriate reactions/programs.

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In short, workforce management is not just about scheduling, time tracking, planning, and forecasting. Today, HR is required to strategically manage the workforce to ensure that the people are productive in their work. And what that means is that they are happy or content with their pay, their schedule, their benefits, and everything else that they’ve deemed important enough to influence their “employee experience.” Without automation, a company will have to employ another company just to perform HR functions and manage big data analytics correctly to ensure its profitability and success. 

About Author: Meggie is a freelance writer and communication manager atAMGtime. Meggie is deeply convinced that marketing is a  key to get success in all spheres and it’s a crucial part of our lives. Regularly, she delivers various concepts on how to market products, services, and events effectively. Meggie believes in a win-win formula and utilizes it on a daily basis in staff management.