Published: Aug 21, 2018

When you hear the words “workforce management,” what do you think of? I’m betting that tracking time, scheduling, and managing time off requests are some things that come to mind – which is totally accurate. Most of the data collected from those processes and activities is used to track and pay employees accurately, but that’s just scratching the surface of what workforce management information can tell your organization. This type of data can give companies insight into things like productivity, staffing levels, and budget requirements. But, what if there was even more valuable information that could be pulled from this data set? Well, there is! All you need to do is take a step back and look at the activities surrounding your workforce management ecosystem to make the data come to life.

What most don’t realize is that workforce management information can tell a story about our employees through the transactions taking place around their day to day activities. For example, understanding the number of times an employee has shift swap, coverage, time off, or overtime requests approved versus rejected can be an indicator for why the employee may be less productive, has started to come in late, or is consistently leaving early – in other words, clearly showing signs of being disengaged. Turns out these approval rates are powerful as potential predictors of turnover risk.  On the flip side, if you have employees that are always on time, take on extra shifts, don’t miss punching in, and are productive, you’ve found some good indicators that those employees are engaged and at lower risk for turnover or dissatisfaction. See? This is important data that can have deeper meaning than just how many hours someone is working. Who knew all of this important information could be derived from workforce management activities and help shape your HCM strategy?!

 

workforce management

So now that you have an idea of how workforce management data can be used as an indicator of employee engagement, employee retention and turnover, how do you capture this information? Well, if you don’t already have an automated system that allows you to report on and analyze data, that is where you need to start. You might want to look for the following in an HR technology solution:

Flexibility – Having a way to configure rules that will collect the specific data points that you want to focus on is key. The more data points you can pull into rules, the more complete a picture you’ll get from the output.

Visualization – Displaying the information you want to track in graphs or charts is ideal. Analytics is a loaded term that can make heads spin, but displaying the data you’re collecting makes it far easier to interpret. Visualizations will help you tell a story around what is happening with your employees, and in cases where there is some room for improvement, you can identify and get in front of issues quickly to move things in a more positive direction.  

Accessibility – If you are going to go through the work of getting all these data points together to heighten awareness of employee engagement, potential turnover risk, etc. and create strategies around that data, shouldn’t your results be accessible anywhere? Of course they should! So, make sure the system you select is available to you no matter where you are or how you choose to access it.

    Once you have an automated system in place, you can start to really think about what insight you want to gain about your workforce. After you define what you want to measure, think about the day-to-day activities you’re already capturing data on that could be indicators of what you are looking to measure. Use the tools available to you to then track data and display it in an easily digestible way. Remember, sometimes the information we need to get insights into our workforce is right in front of us; we just need to take a closer look at the story the data is telling.