Managers face a constant battle – to upgrade or not upgrade. Beware of false profits, or at least workforce management software providers that fail to convey that with great investment comes great responsibility.
The problem often comes down to preparation and training, or a lack of both. It would be folly to try and argue the merits of ignoring technological progress. Piecemeal, Frankenstein’s monster-type systems are no longer going to cut it. Businesses need to bring themselves up to date on workforce management in order to safeguard efficiency and effectiveness. But this doesn’t stop at buying in state-of-the-art automated programs.
Here are five tips for choosing workforce management software, from the experts.
- Conduct a thorough audit
It’s easy to get blinded by what you’re told you need, and wind up spending more money than is necessary on workforce management software. The first step to success is to conduct comprehensive software reviews to ascertain what your requirements actually are. Where is the business falling short, and where are things working? From here you should have a good basis to start shopping around for software providers suited to your requirements.
“Generally, larger businesses where you have over 2,000 employees require far more sophisticated systems with performance management and talent management built in— an ERP for example.,” says Andrew Northcott, of Roubler, a company specialising in workforce management software.
“For small to medium businesses, simplicity is best – look for a workforce management platform that does exactly what you need and no more. It’s easy to get caught up in bells and whistles that you won’t use.”
- Get staff involved early on
Until the day machines fully take over and turn us into subservient slaves, technology is only as good as the people using it. Hence the priority is training staff correctly when rolling out workforce management software. Simply teaching isn’t enough, though. People are often less keen to engage in new systems when they don’t feel fully involved. The answer is bringing employees in on changes from the get-go, creating a sense of ownership that will encourage them to embrace newly adopted HR technology.
- Think about the future
A business is an ecosystem, and all ecosystems must be sustainable or risk collapsing. It’s no use focusing entirely on what is required today. Consider tomorrow, and the next year analysing the results of any software reviews or looking at potential workforce management software providers.
Take into consideration both what could happen with growth and expansion, and worst case scenarios where there may be a need to scale back. Only with this type of foresight can you hope to introduce systems that will genuinely meet needs over a long enough period of time to deliver real value for money.
- Be clear on what you’re looking for (and remember it)
Even if we think we know what we don’t need it can be helpful to develop a concrete shopping list in order to protect us from getting distracted by unnecessary bells and whistles.
“Shopping without planning is a cardinal sin,” Northcott says. “It’s important to do a full audit of what systems you already have, what challenges you need to address and what you might need in the future.
“You can then create a critical features list that will help you stay focused and avoid being swayed into buying something that doesn’t really work for your business.”
- Ask the right questions
It’s worthwhile looking into reviews and recommendations for software providers and specific workforce management software options. However, this can only get you so far. Once you understand what it is you need and have developed a checklist, contact companies that have already taken steps to roll out systems you are considering and don’t be afraid to ask for honest opinions. Be sure to quiz them on:
- Whether they considered other platforms before investing in whatever they chose.
- What factors made them choose the platform they invested in.
- How smooth the implementation process was, and what level of ongoing support they receive.
- Fundamentally, if they would recommend the software after having used it.
Words by Richard Trenchard