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The majority of HR professionals do not have access to workforce analytics, a recent study carried out by Source for Consulting in partnership with business applications and service provider, Advanced Business Solutions, has revealed.

The survey of executives 297 UK SMEs suggests that just 17 percent of HR professionals use analytics software.

Respondents overwhelming agreed that insights into their workforce could help them make better informed decisions but 83% of people admitted that they simply didn’t have access to the relevant software.

Despite many organisations investing in other areas such as Marketing (48%), Strategic decision making (44%), Finance (38%) and Operations (37%) it seems that workforce analytics technology is not on the radar.

Respondents put forward a number of reasons why they felt their organisation should invest in analytics. 86 percent felt the main benefit would be to make better informed decisions, followed by the need to improve the understanding of why things have happened and operational efficiency (both 69%).

Earlier this year, Professor Rob Briner from the University of Bath’s Management department speaking at HR magazine’s ‘HR in the boardroom event’ urged HR directors to spend more time on evidence based decision making.

There’s more to your workforce than £ signs

So, why do so many organisations overlook workforce analytics technology?

The problem is that it is too easy to consider your workforce simply as a cost of doing business rather than a strategic asset.

Yes, your workforce probably accounts for your largest expense. But when you think how every action and decision your workforce carries out every day directly impacts your overall productivity or performance- whether for better or worse – their value is far greater than simply £ signs on the payroll. All the more reason to optimise your workforce, don’t you think?

Workforce management software can help you ‘think’ beyond the payslip and leverage your workforce to drive your business and improve operational efficiency.

By integrating key functions such as time and attendance, rostering, absence management, job costing and payroll into a single centralised system you can automate routine processes to pro-actively control labour costs and improve workforce productivity.

Real-time workforce analytics provide the insight you need to discover exactly what’s really happening across your business and respond with evidence-based decisions.

To put this into context, let’s look at how a contract cleaning company faced with intense competition from other contractors and tight profit margins used strategic workforce management to improve business outcome.

Case study –  How a cleaning contractor increased profitability using workforce analytics

As an employer of a large disparate hourly-paid workforce spread over multiple sites, the contractor required verification that workers had completed the hours required as part of the Service Level Agreement so they could demonstrate this to their clients.

Manual timesheets were proving inadequate because they were prone to errors caused by data duplication and there was a significant time lag between the shift and the HR team receiving the timesheet. Subsequently, the contractor had no means of accounting for staff movements as they carried out their work.

Investing in a workforce management solution has enabled the company to centralise the management of its remote workforce into one system and balance the cost of labour with service delivery. Via an analytics dashboard, managers can instantly see at a glance in real-time that workers have arrived on site and determine the ‘actual’ hours worked during their shift.

Visibility of what’s happening at site level enables managers to account for staff movements at all times so they can demonstrate their compliance to Health & Safety regulations and identify exceptions such as lateness and absences immediately so they can respond promptly to maintain service delivery.

Workforce analytics have also consolidated the billing process with all invoices calculated using audited data, thereby minimising any discrepancies.

The contractor has also made efficient use of rostering software to optimise staff schedules to meet contract demands and budgets.Filling each contract with the exact number of staff means the contractor is able to evaluate the precise cost of service delivery.This transparency allows them to manage labour costs to budget so they can monitor the profitability of each contract and build profit margins based on past experience into future quotes.

Cost savings have also been achieved through a reduction administration time as well as payroll errors and overpayments.

Time to invest?

When you consider the key factors that impact your productivity and bottom line, it’s amazing how many of these can be traced back to your workforce. However, it is impossible to make strategic improvements without the right tools for the job.


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