Workforce management (WFM) systems enable fact-based human resources planning. Businesses accumulate a huge volume of information on customer behaviour, the use of machinery and resources, and marketing campaigns, which is stored across various information systems and archives. In addition to customers’ order history, businesses have access to information about sales forecasts and strategies.
The same information that is used for production and business planning can also be used to optimise the use of an organisation’s human resources. Intelligent human resources planning benefits both employers and employees.
Automated shift planning is not about cutting costs at the expense of employees. On the contrary: The benefits of fair and transparent shift planning are undeniable – and the fact that the percentage of unproductive work decreases at the same time is a bonus.
From the perspective of efficiency, human resources planning needs to be demand-driven. It is important to identify where the organisation’s workload comes from, so as to be able to forecast variations in workload at different times. This enables shifts to be planned according to demand. Employees’ working hours can be spread flexibly across each planning period, so that more workforce can be scheduled for high-workload days and fewer human resources booked for quieter times. The ability to change the start and end times of shifts within a single day also helps to ensure that enough staff are available during the busiest hours. Most of the benefits come from using a sufficiently long planning period and making use of the flexibility it provides.
Centralised shift planning makes shift schedules more balanced. The efficiency of decentralised shift planning depends on the resources of each manager (the time available, the manager’s skills, and their level of commitment to shift planning), and differences between units can be considerable. Employees notify their manager of their availability, and the manager takes their wishes into account where possible. Applying the same rules to everyone across the organisation increases transparency.
The process of adopting a modern workforce management system always begins with careful planning and agreeing on the organisation’s principles for good shift planning:
Is it cost? Customer service? Staff welfare? The system is built to serve each organisation’s unique objectives. Success is practically impossible, if the desired outcome has not been defined or if the organisation cannot agree on its priorities.
For example, the biggest savings come from planning shifts so that there is always the right number of staff present – never too many and never too few. Workload at different times can be forecast on the basis of historical data on busy and quiet periods.
In many organisations, employees currently communicate their preferred working hours verbally, on post-it notes, or by email. Each manager decides whether to take their employees’ wishes into consideration locally and on a case-by-case basis. The process is time-consuming, and, as there is no transparency, potentially unfair. Modern systems enable fair, autonomous and ergonomic shift planning. These properties can improve staff welfare considerably.
Once the organisation’s principles and priorities have been agreed, they need to be documented and communicated across the organisation. This is the time to explain in detail how the new approach will benefit the organisation, its employees, and customers. Disappointments are less likely if everyone understands and agrees with the principles.
We at Digia have more than 15 years of experience of shift planning. We have invested in systematic product development in this field and ensured the user-friendliness of our product by means of modern technology.
Tempus Workforce Management (WFM) is a family of workforce management products. The product family consists of six sophisticated modules that can be used together or separately. Exactly as you wish. Tempus WFM gives you access to the latest workforce management technology and increases employee satisfaction.