​INSIGHT: Top 4 workforce management trends for 2016

“Workforce management technology has evolved alongside enterprise technology more broadly..."

Cloud infrastructure and automation are driving numerous business technologies and are likely to feature prominently in workforce management in the coming year, according to a trends assessment by WFS: A WorkForce Software Company.

“Unsurprisingly, many of the trends we can expect in 2016 are merely a continuation of the technology advances we’ve seen in over the past few years, such as cloud technology and automation,” says James Kissell, strategy director, A/NZ, WFS Australia.

“Workforce management technology has evolved alongside enterprise technology more broadly, so we can expect to see a greater reliance on the same technology that is already making workforce management solutions more powerful and beneficial for businesses.”

Kissell has identified four key technology trends that will drive workforce management advancement in 2016:

1. Automation

Automation technology lets companies minimise the costs of processes such as absence management.

Automated absence tracking, for example, can reduce the time HR managers spend on manual absence-related tasks.

“Top-performing organisations are increasingly integrating automated absence management tools to relieve line managers and HR departments of the burdens of handling short- and long-term employee absences,” Kissell adds.

2. Cloud-based services

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model has revolutionised how companies access and pay for applications, and workforce management software is no exception.

“Many SaaS offerings these days are hosted in the cloud for the flexibility required to scale rapidly as new customers or features come online,” Kissell adds.

“Leading workforce management software offerings are increasingly heading to the cloud for this flexibility.”

3. Real-time processes

Those workforce management technologies that support real-time processes offer businesses an entirely new toolkit to better-manage their workforce and see where things are working well, or whether there are productivity bottlenecks.

“The ability to get information in real-time also means organisations can track hours worked as they happen, making sure that an employee doesn’t work longer than she is meant to according to laws and internal policies,” Kissell adds.

“This also helps to reduce the occurrence of fatigue among workers, improving overall productivity.”

4. Data sharing

In many ways, Kissell believes sharing data goes hand-in-hand with real-time processes: one feeds the other to maximise productivity.

For example, the data produced by a workforce management platform that can gain real-time insight into a worker’s activity can feed that data back into automated systems, which can ensure workers are optimally scheduled.

“Information on employees’ activities and performance is key to how well a business can harness its true value,” he adds.

“The data provided by workforce management systems can provide a greater amount of insight than traditional methods of worker observation could possibly provide.

“So, in 2016, companies can expect to start making more of their workforce by sharing detailed data with their internal management systems.”

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