By Lisa Disselkamp
Jul. 24, 2020
Over the past several months workplaces across the globe were forced to embrace the future of work in ways they never considered. COVID-19 may fundamentally change the workplace and in this context, here are three key considerations as employers work through this recovery phase in reaction to the pandemic.
It has become even more critical to look at the COVID-19 pandemic and how it exposed two key problems in managing the workforce. When cost management is not designed into daily workforce management activities and decisions and when there is no dedicated business unit focused on owning timekeeping and scheduling outcomes, it can be difficult to manage your bottom line or your workforce effectively.
The pandemic created an extreme disruption for workforce management. Many employers are concerned about costs and how to reconstitute their workforce to be optimally productive under different conditions.
If they are operating today, things like store hours and cleaning have changed. If they are planning to reopen, the restart may change when and how much labor is needed and can be afforded. Labor cost and revenue models are under pressure to adapt to such changes.
Unfortunately, workforce management has been mainly focused on efficient, automated, transactional processes such as reporting time and automating staffing interactions such as requesting time off. These activities and decisions aren’t likely designed to act as levers to drive critical outcomes or adapt to disruption in the workplace.
Such processes typically work well for what these standards are designed to do, but not for what functions employers should be doing. Transactional, routine scheduling and timekeeping processes aren’t capable of solving for pandemic-level issues impacting the workforce.
The pandemic created an extreme scenario that laid this fact bare. Employers should be operating differently and doing more. It exposes two everyday problems that have long been overlooked.
Labor cost and productivity can determine if an organization is competitive, profitable and serving its customers well. However, in too many organizations, it almost feels like workforce management is on auto-pilot … until something goes wrong.
If the employer is already operating with workforce management 2.0 — which we will call WFM 2.0 for brevity’s sake — it likely has the following characteristics allowing them to (a) design and control their labor spending for different workplace conditions and (b) know how to assign the work to the modified workforce for the ideal productivity and outcomes.
Characteristics of WFM 2.0 — managing cost and productivity outcomes.
Signs that WFM 2.0 is operating effectively.
The WFM CoE understands the workload and work priorities:
The WFM CoE understands the optimal workforce:
The WFM CoE understands how to put the proper combination of shifts, people and pay practices together to meet the business needs to drive cost and productivity:
The WMO (workforce management office[DM1] ) or WFM CoE understands what tools the business needs and how to use them, such as:
WFM 2.0 was bound to happen. The pandemic is a catalyst for immediate business transformation.
Labor cost and productivity are critical to the financial and competitive viability of employers. Leaving things on auto-pilot isn’t a cure for COVID-19’s impact on any organization’s health.
Businesses that will recover and thrive can start by establishing a permanent workforce management center of excellence acting as the command center for managing labor cost and utilization.
Lisa Disselkamp is the managing director at Deloitte Consulting LLP.
We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.
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