In February I wrote an article about Examining the Complexities of Public-Sector Software Implementations. The article focuses on some of the challenges that we face in the public sector space as well as some steps you can take to be more prepared for your next software implementation. You know how to prepare but may be wondering if you need time and attendance or workforce management? Which one best fits the unique business requirements within a State, City or County?
Recently I had a similar conversation with a large state’s payroll department. We were discussing why it is so important to have a workforce management solution on the front-end of an HCM or ERP solution and why their ERP alone may not meet the complexities every day.
As we discussed this, a few thoughts immediately came to mind:
- ERP and HCM solutions are back-office solutions that serve as foundational technology for any organization
- Workforce Management Solutions are operational solutions that need to be in the hands of both the employees and the managers daily.
- ERP and HCM solutions do not operate in real time, slowing the business decisions made by employees and managers.
Workforce management (WFM) is an integrated set of processes that an organization uses to optimize the productivity of its forecasting labor requirements and create and manage staff schedules to accomplish tasks on a day-to-day and even hour-to-hour basis.
The following are some of the reasons that you should consider the importance of workforce management:
1. Workforce Management is not time and attendance. Workforce Management is more than just the collection of punches. If it was that simple, you could download an app today to simply collect punches. It is the power of the calculations behind those punches that make your workforce management solution so powerful. Having the data validated at the point of entry instead of waiting for data to be keyed into and processed by your ERP or HCM time and labor module allows both the employee and the manager to know immediately if the employee is going to enter into overtime, is eligible for a shift differential, etc. This allows the manager to make labor decisions in real time such as letting an employee leave early to avoid overtime. You should not underestimate the importance of capturing punches. In the public sector, we must abide by public accountability and scrutiny to ensure fiscal responsibility to our constituents. A key component of that is being accountable to the time that we are working.
2. Workforce management enables your agencies and departments to meet their own unique and complex business requirements. Each agency or department within government has varying business requirements, such as:
- Staffing the right person in the right role when you need them
- Scheduling to accommodate for things such as shift swaps, differentials, special skills, varying business requirements, etc.
- Overtime versus compensatory time is often underestimated as to the complexities around both compliance and tracking
- Leave management which impacts staffing, scheduling and overtime
- Leave accruals because employees want to have access to their time immediately and often government has more than one accrual policy which can create unnecessary complexities within your ERP or HCM solution
- Complex calculations that are driven by collective bargaining agreements, municipal codes, state rules, etc.
- Accountability for employees and for their managers
3. Strategic workforce planning enables leaders to approach human resources management responsibilities proactively with forward-thinking and multi-disciplined strategies designed to align the organization's workforce with strategic priorities, mission, and budget constraints
4. One of the biggest challenges that government faces today is attracting and retaining a new generation of workers. The buzzword today is employee engagement. Millennials and GenZ employees have not experienced a time when they didn’t have access to technology. Their expectation is real-time data at their fingertips using their phone, tablet or PC. Having a workforce management solution allows you to offer that to your workforce, across all generations.
When I was the director of payroll for the City and County of Denver one of the big benefits that our departments found with a workforce management solution is the ability to access their employees' time, schedules and leave without having to contact someone in payroll or human resources. The departments also appreciated that we were able to meet their unique business requirements. Don’t just take my word for it, read Gartner’s report on how to Prepare Yourself for the Future of Workforce Management.
Employees are the public sector's most valuable assets, but paper processes and siloed legacy systems often prevent government agencies from gaining efficiencies and realizing cost savings to reinvest back into their employees. As discussed in my blog, change management is critical to the success of any technology project. One way to help with change management is to ensure that the technology selected meets most of the requirements of all the agencies.
Ultimately, modernized workforce management can empower city and county leaders to build a more sustainable public workforce for the future.