How WFM Apps Transform People Ops and Company Culture

SwipeClock wfm for healthy workplaces
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

When a business adopts workforce management (WFM), it’s generally to increase productivity and forecast labor needs. Its impact on employee engagement is often overlooked. However, WFM apps can have a profound effect on culture. Let’s discuss some of the ways it can improve culture.

8 Ways Workforce Management Helps Employees Love Their Jobs

1. Real-time Feedback

Workforce management software with performance dashboards are popping up in many industries.

Real-time feedback is powerful. As a result, it can make tedious jobs more interesting and make interesting jobs downright exciting. Above all, it can motivate employees to perform better.

See the Big Picture

Performance dashboards provide a high level view. This is important because we all get distracted by processes and can forget the big picture. In other words, what we’re trying to achieve. Real-time analytics provide a constant reminder of the ultimate goal.

Furthermore, workforce management dashboards are objective. They remove the subjectivity inherent in manager evaluations.

Tracking performance is the first step to improving productivity. Just as a fitness app makes a routine workout more enjoyable, performance feedback is a key motivator.

Employers can also use workforce management analytics to design better training programs. When employees are better trained, they are more effective. Competency increases engagement in any job.

2. Put Employees in the Driver’s Seat

Workforce management software enables employee self-service. This transfers HR tasks to the employee. They can easily handle the routine workforce management tasks. After all, who doesn’t want to manage tasks that are necessary to receive a paycheck?

Employees are able to check their schedule, timecards, and accruals without having to call Human Resources. Updating tax forms is quick and painless. No more relying on managers to circulate shift-change requests. Employees simply post requested changes on the online shift exchange. Empowerment gives employees a psychological boost that translates to better job performance.

3. Prevent Understaffing

Understaffing causes a lot of problems. It’s tiring for employees–to say nothing of frustrated customers that crank up the stress level. Moreover, employees can’t excel with unrealistic workloads.

Workforce management scheduling software (like WorkforceHub) helps managers prevent understaffing. With the software, for example, managers can customize shift rules with necessary certifications, job codes, and employee availability. Furthermore, managers can set alerts for missed punches. If a manager needs to fill a shift quickly, they can access a dynamic list of qualified, available employees to cover. As mentioned, employees who want extra hours can see the open shift on the virtual trade board.

4. Remove the Overtime Burden

Overtime, like understaffing, takes a toll on employees as well. In the first place, it’s unhealthy both physically and mentally. Certainly, when employees are tired, they don’t perform well and they make more mistakes. Workforce management software can optimize shift planning to keep everyone on straight time and when necessary, managers can plan for overtime in advance.

5. Mobility is a Must

Mobile WFM apps give workers 24/7 anywhere access. Employees can clock in, view their schedule, and access HR information. Tech-dependent employees (isn’t that most of us?) get frustrated with dinosaur tech at work.

6. Shift Flexibility is the New Pay Raise

Workforce management affects employees’ lives outside of work, as well. Because managers can plan shifts better, it can improve work/life balance. For example, managers can accommodate schedule preferences. As mentioned previously, it also takes the hassle out of shift trading. When a shift opens up, employees who want extra hours can request it. Managers don’t have to beg unwilling employees.

Part-time employees can better juggle two jobs when their employers use WFM apps to avoid conflicts. Certainly, the events of the past two years have underscored that employees are loyal to employers that support their work/life balance.

Consider, also, that loyal employees progress in their jobs. Expertise increases confidence. There are no downsides!

7. WFM Measures Good Behavior

Conscientious employees are punctual. They don’t wander in ten minutes late every day. Plus, they make sure they clock out for unpaid breaks. They never stretch a 30-minute lunch to 45 minutes. Most importantly, they don’t dishonestly pad their timecard.

In large departments, managers don’t always notice the star performers. Workforce management software validates which employees are reliable. Then managers can reward accordingly. Workforce management allows employers to give credit where credit is due.

8. Create Payroll Accountability

Workforce management software tracks employee time to the minute. This has important implications. Employers value the way it makes employees accountable for their time and attendance. But we can flip the script. Employees value the payroll accountability it imposes on their employers.

They know they will be paid extra when they come in early or stay late and that overtime pay will be correctly calculated. In addition, they have confidence that their accruals are tracked accurately. If benefits depend on full-time status, workforce management software can validate that. Payroll accountability brings peace of mind to employees.

How WFM Apps Support Employee Mental Health

Let’s turn our attention to how WFM solutions improve employee mental health and well-being.

Due to a perfect storm of stressors, there is an epidemic of burnout and mental health challenges.

We can’t afford a workforce hampered by anxiety.

The stakes are high for U.S. employers if the collective stress level continues to rise. The American Psychological Association projects $500 billion in additional annual expenses. But the impact on individuals and families is even more worrisome.

Are you a small business owner?

Did you know that technology can be part of the solution to ease stress and prevent burnout? Time and Labor software can help.

The same software that tracks time and attendance can promote mental health?

Let me explain.

To create a healthy workplace, you need to recognize that the line between work and play is blurred, or arguably, erased. Work is life and life is work. People have developed a fluid relationship between business and personal tasks. Interacting with technology is great when it takes over tedious tasks. But, for many, it increases stress.

So if the misuse of technology is causing problems, how can a Time and Labor app ease these problems?

We will look at 3 areas where WFM solutions can de-stress your workplace: schedule control, communication, and wellness programs.

WFM Apps for Schedule Control

It’s no secret that people who have little or no control over their work schedules are more likely to experience anxiety. Offering flexible or at least stable schedules is important for promoting employee mental health.

Some companies are able to offer flexible schedules where employees choose their hours. WFM apps simplify this type of scheduling—without increasing the stress on scheduling managers.

Employees enter shift requests in the app. Managers create complex schedules in minutes with templates and drag-and-drop. The app guides the scheduling using the employee shift requests. The manager doesn’t have to remember everyone’s availability. The app ensures adequate shift coverage and it limits stress-inducing overtime.

Flexible schedules help people advance in their career through all stages of life. Companies benefit by having access to talented people who can’t (or don’t want to) work a traditional schedule. They are able to retain experienced employees who need to adapt their work schedule to a change in personal circumstances.

Time and Labor Apps for Ease of Communication

Ironically, “always-connected” generations can feel more detached and distracted than those who grew up before the digital age. At the same time, they are used to 24/7 information access.

Savvy employers use WFM apps to play to these strengths. Employees can access all pertinent Human Resources information on their phone. This includes timecards, accruals, employee schedules, tax forms, and benefit information. That’s the type of data that requires no human intermediary. It helps employees manage work processes when it’s most convenient.

On the flip side, apps facilitate collaboration where it’s needed. Online forums in WFM software let teams communicate even when they are working at different locations. Telecommuters, mobile workers, and in-house employees can all work on the same projects. This communication can take place any time during the day or night.

One caveat, however: don’t eliminate face-to-face conversations just because it’s possible to interact through technology. Frequent group and one-on-one interactions are important de-stressors.

Time and Labor apps make it easier for employees to work remotely. Working at home can ease anxiety—especially if it eliminates a taxing commute.

WFM Apps for a Healthy Workplace

Optimizing human capital includes promoting psychological health. This starts with choosing a health insurance plan that emphasizes the mental health aspects of employee wellness.

Time and Labor apps can help administer any type of company wellness program. Employees interact with the wellness program in the same HR portal that handles payroll and scheduling. This underscores its importance. It’s not an afterthought that’s rolled out once and forgotten.

Some companies offer incentives for stress management training. The training is most effective when it is presented in small bits at a time. Your employees may have a hard time dropping everything to concentrate on a 2-hour stress management class every month. Short stress management tips can be inserted naturally into company communications. This holistic approach keeps the subject top-of-mind.

Incorporate stress management training wherever possible. This can include healthy stress coping strategies. Talking the talk is only the first step. Walk the walk by encouraging reasonable work hours and frequent vacations.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Outline realistic expectations for response times. Just because you can respond immediately to client or co-worker queries doesn’t mean you have to. Make sure the executive team and managers set good examples.

Swipeclock solutions, including WorkforceHub Time and Labor, help companies create a healthy work environment that prevents employee burnout and improves job satisfaction.

How Employee Self-Service Can Save Your Sanity

Now that we’ve talked about WFM apps self-service from an employee perspective, let’s discuss how it benefits managers.

As a workforce manager, you know the constant battle of scheduling.

Employees call in sick, and we must find a replacement.

Some employees want less time. Others want more.

Last minute emergencies create gaps in service; that’s not going to be good for our reputation.

Fortunately, there’s a solution…

Enter Employee Self Service (ESS)

“Self-service” is a system that allows employees to perform their own management tasks.

Employees log in to a secure portal to request time off or volunteer for shifts. Managers have ultimate oversight and reject or approve actions in real time.

Self-service empowers employees to be part of the solution. They have a responsive place to log requests. They can also respond to requests made by other employees. Managers see fewer complications and approve appropriate actions with minimal involvement.

Employee self-service is a miracle of modern workforce management. And it’s here to help.

Delegation Is Another Name For Sanity

A big part of saving your sanity is making time to work on more pressing matters. One of the big ways employee self-service can help is delegation.

ESS provides a safe and secure method to delegate basic tasks to employees. For the most part, these tasks don’t need your help.

And, it gives the employee more power over their own information and documents.

In some cases, you will need to approve an action, but that will only take a few seconds. And you can do it from any remote device with a product like WorkforceHub Time & Attendance.

Employees are more empowered, you have more time and everyone is happier.

Happy goes a long way to keeping us sane.

What Can Employees Do With Self-Service?

Change Personal Information Online

Reduce paperwork with the ability to make online personal information updates.

Employees no longer need to fill out forms for simple information changes. This used to be a three-step process and is now reduced to a single, personalized step.

Save even more time and effort avoiding transcription and mistakes. Employees update their own information whenever they need to, right into the system. No more data entry for HR.

Talk about a sanity saver!

Update Withholding Status While Maintaining Privacy

Employees can update their own tax information, too. This includes changing withholding status. For some employees, this means the ability to keep personal circumstances, well, personal.

HR can see if any reports are missing and can make adjustments without having to poll the whole company.

No more rummaging through filing cabinets to research employee filing status. Limit mistakes and improve accuracy with full integration to payroll, too!

Submit PTO Requests and View PTO Accruals

Employee self-service lets employees file Paid Time Off requests online. No more paperwork or forgotten hallway discussions.

Employees can view their own PTO accruals, so they can see how much time is available to request.

Managers need only to review and approve requests. Automated scheduling blocks out vacation time so overlap mistakes don’t happen. Vacationing employees aren’t available for scheduling during Paid Time Off. You don’t have to remember a thing.

Employees can access their portal from a mobile phone. Managers can make approvals from anywhere. Convenience will help your employees feel empowered.

Less paperwork, fewer things to remember, and a ton of extra time will help you feel in control.

Request Shift Swaps Electronically

One of the things that can drive a workforce manager bananas is shift swapping. Even when it happens a little, it’s too much.

Employees get to talking and before you know it they are in your office proposing a complex set of changes. You worked hard on that schedule, and now they want to change it. Terrific.

Employee self-service will save the day. Employees can submit unwanted shifts to the virtual swap board. Other employees are able to pick them up. Employees can do the heavy lifting on their own without manager involvement.

As a manager, all you have to do is approve the deal, and it only takes a few seconds. Overtime alerts take the worry out of the equation and let you decide without having to double check. Automated job roles assure you are accepting a qualified employee to fill the shift.

Employee self-help takes the work out of work and restores peace, calm and control. If that doesn’t sound like your office, it’s time to get workforce management with ESS.

…before you lose your marbles.

Fill Emergency Gaps By Communicating Via Alerts

Every workforce manager is familiar with the call drill. It’s an event that will sap the will out of the best of us.

An employee creates an emergency with an unexpected announcement: “I’m sick.” Those two words can take years off the life of a workforce manager.

This is a problem to solve, and the clock is ticking. In most cases, you’re lucky to have an hour of warning. Time to make some calls…

Finding an available employee to take an empty shift is quite a challenge. With employee self-service, it can be as easy as sending out an alert.

Employees receive alerts on their mobile device and volunteer with a simple reply.

No calling tree marathon to steal your time, and no unanswered calls to dial again later. Sanity restored in time for dinner.

Allow Employees To Track Their Hours Worked

With employee self-service, employees can track their own statistics. Hours worked this week, hours worked this period, hours worked forever. It’s all in there, and employees have access.

This saves you that occasional research request. Employees need historical data to apply for loans, calculate taxes, or prove employment. It’s important to attend to this kind of request from employees, but it takes time away from routine tasks.

Why not let employees take care of this one on their own?

Employee self-service lets employees access their archive records. Anytime, and from anywhere, in a secure login environment that preserves privacy.

Adjust Benefits and Ease Enrollment Pain

Benefits enrollment is difficult enough. Paperwork, data entry, confirmation; it’s all part of the expectation. Companies like yours usually set aside an entire week to take care of things.

But it gets worse…

Work comes to a screeching halt when an employee needs to make changes to a benefit. New dependents, changes in address, adding a beneficiary; all important.

Paperwork, interruption, and urgency. You may also need to walk your employee through some instructions. Now you have two people, an employee and a manager, working on not working.

Again, employee self-service to the rescue! With the employee self-service hub, employees have full access.

Changes to benefits can be automatic. You can even install change alerts and manager approval to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Stay Compliant With Employee E-Notices

Many states and cities have paid sick leave laws, secure scheduling laws, and mandatory paid leave laws. These additional employment laws require employee notifications.

Paid sick leave laws require employers to show sick leave accrual each pay period.

Secure Scheduling laws require advanced notice of employee schedules and any changes that occur.

FMLA and other leave laws require notification to be sent to employees.

Many other Federal laws require additional notification to employees, in addition to the notice posting.

An employee self service portal allows Human Resources, managers, and payroll departments to quickly push these notices to employees.

That makes it easier than ever to stay compliant with labor laws!

Sanity Restored By ESS

This wasn’t an exhaustive list of all the things you can do with employee self-service. But it does give you a good idea of what you can do to preserve a little sanity for your workforce managers.

Mobile workforce management software has become a critical success factor for small business. If your company has employees on the go, you must have mobile WFM to be competitive.

Mobile Workforce Management Is a Necessity For Your Modern Workforce

Now let’s take a deep dive into an important characteristic of good WFM solutions–mobile access.

It’s no secret that our modern business ecosystem is mobile. Smartphones, tablets, and watches make it easy to connect and stay in touch. Low prices and social ubiquity mean our workforce has come to depend on mobile access.

Your work environment is no exception. Employees are more mobile than they used to be. Companies rely on mobile tech to keep everyone connected. Successful companies realize the advantages of keeping mobile employees engaged and communicating.

At this point, it is a virtual certainty that every company relies on a mobile solution. While every company is using mobile for something, not all are using it for mobile WFM.

Some companies are late to the game. Mobile devices are a resource that makes workforce management easier and more productive. With the right mobile workforce management software, you can leverage mobile to help your employees, managers and administrators.

What Is a Mobile Employee and What Do They Need?

Recognizing you have a mobile workforce is a first step in defining mobile WFM solutions.

Here are a few examples of mobile employees:

The Road Warrior

Sales positions are the obvious example. If you have sales representatives on the road; you are mobile. There are many types of a mobile sales rep. The primary attribute they share is visiting customers in person.

Service Technicians

Service techs are also in your road warrior group. These are employees who travel to customer locations to install or service on-site. These include cable repair, yard care, appliance or A/C maintenance workers.

The more features you can provide in a mobile WFM solution, the more time they can spend on the job.

Off-Site Workers

Sometimes mobile doesn’t mean “on the go.” It can mean that the employee works at a consistent remote location. A good example of this would be a construction worker.

Construction workers clock in at the same location every day for months or years. Mobile workforce management software can keep off-site employees connected.

Floating Shift Work

Some employees float from location to location to fill shifts.

For example, you may have a network of elderly care centers. Nurses and other caretakers may float from one location to another fill shifts. Compliance requirements may force you to share a nurse between several locations.

To complicate this mobile workforce, you may have around-the-clock shift schedules. Scheduling employees at various places, and differing times is complex.

Mobile workforce management software can help reduce complexity and improve efficiency.

Mobile Isn’t Always Moving

Finally, you may have employees that telecommute or who work at random locations. A few examples would include home office workers and trade show staff.

Restaurants can have employees work remote locations in a food truck. Event staffing might have a temporary crew working a three-day festival.

The point is; there are many types of mobile workforce. You may not consider your entire workforce to be mobile, but you may have mobile employees.

What Should I Look For?

There are many features you need in a mobile workforce management software solution. The more robust your solution, the more you can get done without connecting to a desktop.

Mobile WFM can also be too complex. Complexity adds confusion and cumbersome requirements. Keep it simple, and start with the basic necessities to make sure you have a viable solution.

5 Must-Have Features Of Mobile Workforce Management Software

These are the essentials you can’t do without:

1. Mobile Time Tracking

You shouldn’t take it for granted that your mobile WFM includes mobile time tracking. As intuitive as this sounds, some mobile workforce management software forgets this feature.

Clock-in and clock-out are at the heart of mobile WFM. Without it, you are missing the primary interaction with your employees. There would be little reason for mobile workforce management software without it.

Time tracking is also the foundation of several other important features.

Intelligent clock features help reduce clocking errors. Make sure your time tracker has an intelligent clock. Intelligent clocks reinforce correct clocking, so employees don’t check the wrong box. These time-savers are worth their weight in payroll.

GPS location management helps confirm that the employee is where they say they are when the clock in. GPS location management can help you avoid expensive buddy-punching problems and assure you have the right resources at the right location.

Job order tracking is part of time tracking, too. Job order tracking helps establish from which budget to withdraw the allocated labor.

Make sure your workforce management software includes time tracking. It is the number one reason to use it.

2. Scheduling

Mobile scheduling is a big deal for companies with a lot of mobile employees. The fewer times each employee has to visit a terminal, the more time you will save. This goes double for complicated scheduling processes.

Mobile scheduling allows your employees to check on their schedule from their smartphone. They don’t need to visit a specific terminal or call in. This will help free up management time and gives employees freedom and empowerment.

Scheduling should allow managers to create schedules from templates to save time. Your mobile WFM software should alert employees to schedule changes. It should also let employees submit scheduling modifications such as time-off requests.

Scheduling goes hand-in-hand with time tracking and is an essential feature of mobile WFM.

3. Virtual Swap Board

Speaking of employee empowerment, your mobile WFM software should include a virtual swap board.

A virtual swap board takes a lot of work away from managers. it also allows employees extra freedom in managing their own schedules.

Virtual trade boards allow employees to post shifts they don’t want. They can also volunteer for extra shifts that become available. Managers keep the ability to oversee and approve all shift trades.

This is all done in a mobile employee self-service portal.

4. Alerts and Threshold Warnings

In the event of unplanned overtime, your manager should receive an alert. Alerts help your managers keep the workforce running. They also help you avoid costly overtime expenses.

Alerts keep your budget safe and your workforce running in compliance.

5. Mobile Management Tools

Mobile workforce management software can help mobile managers keep an eye on the business while they are remote.

Communication is key when managers and employees are working mobile. Mobile WFM should help keep managers working efficiently with comprehensive oversight.

In Conclusion

Swipeclock is passionate about helping SMBs adopt workforce management. Our easy to use Time and Labor solution, WorkforceHub, is tailored to the complex challenges of managing a small business team. See it in action by scheduling a demo today.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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