Developing workforce management best practices is an ongoing work in progress for most employers, especially those with an hourly workforce. And that’s exactly how it should be.
After all, business never stands still. An organization’s performance goals and workforce challenges inevitably change over time. And as workforce management technology continues to evolve, the realm of what’s possible does, too.
However, when it comes to optimizing an hourly workforce, most HR professionals agree on some universal workforce management best practices. Let’s take a look.
Workforce Management Best Practice #1: Rigorously Monitor Workforce Activity
If you can’t monitor it, you can’t manage it. But tracking daily employee activity is easier for some employers than others, particularly those with a mobile or decentralized workforce.
Manual time sheets simply can’t track time and attendance as accurately as automated time and labor management systems. Think automated time and attendance software can’t handle your nontraditional workforce? Think again.
Thanks to recent advances in data collection technology, cutting-edge time and attendance systems offer solutions for tracking employees in every conceivable work situation—from mobile time tracking apps for employees on the move to wireless plug-and-play time clocks that can be mounted everywhere—whether on construction sites or oil rigs.
Furthermore, the most useful time and labor management systems operate in real time, allowing employers to take action quickly when needed. Features like automated real-time alerts (say, auto-generated texts to managers when employees fail to clock in) are ideal for monitoring remote employees. Why monitor less than 100% of your workforce?
Workforce Management Best Practice #2: Develop Firm Time and Attendance Policies and Enforce Them Consistently
Do all of your employees know how many late arrivals are too many? Do their managers know what action to take about it—and, more to the point, do they take it?
Problems like chronic tardiness and absenteeism cost your business in terms of dollars, productivity and customer service levels, all while lowering morale.
Therefore, one core workforce management best practice is to develop a clear, specific policy for dealing with time and attendance breaches and to broadcast it to all employees from the time they are first onboarded.
Furthermore, managers should have a detailed playbook on how to respond to such infractions, including a progressive disciplinary response that is enforced across the organization. Remember, besides obvious financial losses, the sporadic enforcement of company policy can leave you.
Punctuality and good attendance should be part of your corporate culture. Beyond focusing on poor behavior and its consequences, consider implementing a performance points system that tracks and rewards employees’ positive behaviors. Be mindful of both sides of the coin.
Workforce Management Best Practice #3: Never Stop Improving Labor Compliance
Wage and hour lawsuits continue to skyrocket, and experts predict things will get worse before they get better. Many of these lawsuits result when employers are lax in their oversight, allowing employees to engage in noncompliant activities such as skipping meal breaks or performing off the clock work.
Unfortunately, employers may not even know there is a problem until they’re slapped with a class action lawsuit.
Obviously, employers need to make sure they know all applicable federal, state and local labor laws and ensure they’re followed at every level. That includes educating managers (see Workforce Management Best Practice #4 below), training and reminding employees, and putting safeguards in place to ensure compliant behavior.
Powerful workforce management technology can verify that employees are clocking in when performing compensable work, that meal breaks are taken in full, and that overtime is properly tracked and paid. Advanced workforce management systems can also provide managers with compliance-related reports, so they can identify their weak areas and work with their staff to improve them.
Workforce Management Best Practice #4: Conduct Ongoing WFM Training
In many ways, your workforce management program is only as strong as your weakest manager.
It’s unwise to assume that your managers automatically know all companies policies and how to enforce them. Make sure they have the knowledge and the tools they need to manage their teams and what procedures to follow when action is required.
Be proactive in addressing areas where inexperienced managers often run into trouble, such as:
- Failing to follow progressive disciplinary procedures with chronically late or absent employees.
- Changing employee time cards improperly.
- Closing open punches on time cards without employee verification.
- Not signing into your workforce management dashboard regularly to ensure time and attendance records are current.
In addition, make sure you have a process in place for communicating with managers when compliance rules or company policies changes.
In summary, maintaining workforce management best practices is a never-ending job. The good news is, the more you work at it, the better you’ll get at it—and by leveraging cutting-edge workforce management technology, you can give your organization a solid edge.
EPAY’s cloud-based human capital management solution features one of the most powerful workforce management systems available, helping employers optimize their hourly workforce. Ask how we can take your workforce management program to a new level!