Top 5 Features of a Workforce Management System in 2017
Robust workforce management systems are worth their weight in gold, especially if you manage an hourly workforce. But not all workforce management solutions offer the same depth of features or yield the same results.
Well-designed workforce management software will give employers real-time visibility into their workforce, allowing them to make proactive, day-to-day decisions. It will help them operate within budget, maintain labor compliance and curb pervasive problems like time fraud and compounding overtime costs.
So if you’re considering a new integrated human capital management system this year, be sure to closely examine its workforce management capabilities. What are the top features to look for in a state-of-the-art workforce management system right now? Take a look at our top five list.
Workforce Management Feature #1: A Comprehensive Time Tracking Module
Complete, meticulous time tracking is the cornerstone of any effective workforce management system. An employer can’t begin to improve wage and hour compliance, budgeting or workforce productivity without first having a handle on time and attendance.
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What do you look for in a robust time tracking solution? Look for one that operates in real time, so your managers will always know what is happening in the field. Look for flexibility in setup, so it can be configured to mirror your precise labor environment.
Regardless of how intricate your labor environment is, your time-tracking module must be able to capture time and attendance for 100% of your workforce to be effective. And that brings us to our second feature.
Workforce Management Feature #2: A Complete Range of Data Collection Devices and Methods
A fully-developed workforce management solution will offer a range of time collection devices and methods that you can mix and match according to the needs of your workforce. These devices and methods should include:
- Time clocks: for centralized hourly employees.
- An online time tracking system: for administrative or professional employees.
- A simple telephone time tracking system: perhaps for small numbers of employees scattered over many worksites.
- A mobile time tracking app: for employees who travel from site to site.
Furthermore, while considering a workforce management system’s time collection methods, be on the lookout for two innovations:
- Biometric Time Clocks – If you’re going to use time clocks, use biometric time clocks. These leverage technologies like fingerprint recognition to verify an employee’s identity. Biometric time clocks are rapidly outpacing conventional card and PIN-based equipment because they do a better job at deterring buddy punching, a pervasive form of time theft.
- Mobile Time Tracking with GPS Verification – Not all mobile time tracking apps are equally robust. GPS verification is a must, because it records when and where employees punch in, ensuring work crews and drivers are really on the job. The most advanced apps also offer advanced capabilities like geo-fencing (which automatically clocks out employees when they leave designated work areas) and task management (which allows employees to sign off on completed tasks as they move through their workday).
Clearly, these features aren’t essential for all employers. But depending on your workforce, they can be a huge asset.
Workforce Management Feature #3: A Flexible, Unified Scheduling Module
Efficient employee scheduling is essential to managing the deployment of your most important asset—your people. When your scheduling module is an integrated component of your workforce management system, you can provide optimal labor resources exactly where you need them.
A powerful employee scheduling system makes it easy to manage multiple worksites, shifts, job assignments and more. It allows you to match employee qualifications to job requirements, so your worksites are always properly covered. It will alert you when a proposed schedule will trigger overtime hours, allowing you to limit OT costs. Moreover, a smart workforce management system will allow you to overlay time sheets with schedules, so you can identify—and address—inconsistencies and problems.
Workforce Management Feature #4: Powerful Analytic Reporting Capabilities
You’d be hard pressed to find an integrated human capital management system that doesn’t offer you some analytic capabilities. But those capabilities vary greatly between workforce management technology as does the ease of which you can access reports in the formats that you need.
Robust workforce management software will offer you a large menu of standard reports, along with self-service custom report capabilities that allow you to filter various criteria as needed.
For example, do your current reporting functions allow you to compare actual payroll against your labor budget to see how you’re doing? Run time and attendance reports in a format that simplifies client invoicing? Produce on-demand audit reports?
An advanced workforce management system will let employers accomplish all these analytical tasks, while helping to maintain and demonstrate labor compliance, as outlined below.
Workforce Management Feature #5: Sweeping (But Agile!) Labor Compliance Safeguards
When it comes to labor compliance, employers have an awful lot to worry about these days. Overtime pay, paid sick leave, meal break compliance… there are no end of potential pitfalls, lawsuits and violations.
If you’re focusing on honing your workforce management in 2017, it makes sense to ensure that your human capital management system includes a full suite of built-in compliance protections.
What do those safeguards entail? For one thing, audit reports that flag wage and hour violations, so you can nip them in the bud. Plus real time alerts, texted to managers, when employees are at risk of breaking the 30-hour threshold. And the ability to factor in all 41 state and municipal paid sick leave laws and tabulate earned (and taken) PSL correctly for each affected employee nationwide.
And of course, the ability to meet Affordable Care Act tracking and reporting requirements…whatever that may mean going forward.
Because compliance-wise, 2017 promises to be a year of many changes, as a new administration and Congress sweep in, promising radical changes from what came before. Whatever integrated human capital management system you choose, be sure your HCM vendor has a demonstrated commitment to—and process for—keeping abreast with these compliance changes.
In fact, when it comes to identifying the most needed features of workforce management software in 2017, the ability to adapt to the rapidly-changing needs of employers may be the most important must-have of them all.
EPAY’s human capital management system includes some of the most robust workforce management technology available to employers, including unique features geared to better managing a complex, hourly workforce and critical compliance safeguards.