Workforce management software does much more than automate paper time sheets and manual schedules. The world of work has evolved with complex labor laws, union rules and employee expectations that make the process of managing hourly workers surprisingly challenging. The pandemic has created additional requirements, including new safety regulations to address health concerns and increased absences. More than ever, companies need systems that can help them manage increasingly complex workforce requirements, support a positive employee experience, and stay compliant with employment laws and regulations.
Workforce management systems ensure hourly employees get paid correctly. However, it’s not always as simple as capturing when they “clock-in” and “clock-out.” For example, at some companies, if an hourly employee works 15 minutes over their planned shift, they may need to be paid for a full hour. But this rule may only apply to workers under a specific union contract. First responders often get paid a higher rate if they work on a full moon. And utilities workers may have different pay rates if they work more than 80 feet off the ground during their shift. Companies need to make sure they have a workforce management system that is robust enough to capture all their unique pay rules and ensure that they are accurately applied. If these rules are not followed, the company runs the risk of lawsuits, fines, low employee morale or damage to its brand.
This year, many people have re-evaluated their priorities in the wake of the pandemic. Hourly employees in particular are more likely to leave a job where they do not feel safe or have the flexibility they need to manage their home and work lives, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Employees interact with their workforce management systems multiple times a day, which makes them a key touchpoint for supporting a positive employee experience. Automated pulse surveys, for example, can be used to check in with employees who have worked an extra-long shift or a lot of overtime hours. Pre-shift health screens are also beneficial to ensure employees don’t come into work if they are sick. Self-service tools like shift swaps help employees manage their own work-life balance while ensuring that employers are compliant with rules about who can fill shifts based on employment laws, union requirements and overtime guidelines.
Employee scheduling is another area where a workforce management system can help streamline compliance and support a positive employee experience. A highly unionized environment can fall under 40 or more collective bargaining agreements, with some employees covered by multiple agreements. A system that can automatically build a schedule that is compliant with all labor rules and provide pre-emptive alerts if non-compliant changes are made will save employers time and help them avoid the costs of litigation and fines. Automated scheduling systems can create schedules faster than manual processes, which means employees are notified sooner when they need to work, and they can plan their lives better. In the current pandemic environment, a scheduling system can also ensure that employers are in line with COVID capacity restrictions and allow managers to plan for extra time between shifts to avoid congestion and keep safety a priority.
There are many things to consider when selecting a workforce management platform. Employers need to make sure the system is robust enough to consider all of the unique workforce rules their organization needs to comply with, and flexible enough to be quickly updated when those rules change. It’s also important to make sure the platform is user friendly and has features that will make life easier for the workforce. Employees are the most valuable resource a company has. That’s why finding the right workforce management system that pays employees correctly, helps keep them safe and engaged, creates fair schedules and ensures company compliance is so critical in today’s ever-changing world of work.
Mike Morini is CEO of WorkForce Software, the leading global provider of cloud-based workforce management solutions, and a software veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in scaling enterprise software companies