How protecting workers and reducing health and safety compliance risks can improve a company’s ability to grow after a turbulent year.
By: Jenna Dobrovolny, group product manager, Ascentis
Workforce management is a timely task for business leaders and HR professionals during normal circumstances – but this year they face the challenge of creating best practices for managing scheduling shifts with evolving health and safety regulations pertaining to the pandemic. As organizations utilize contingency plans that address these changing regulations, many find gaps in crucial processes, leaving them exposed to various compliance risks. Looking ahead after a turbulent year, organizations must continue to take the necessary precautions to protect workers and reduce disruptions to facilitate growth.
For organizations to find success and address the challenges within the next phase of normalcy, they need to optimize their workforce management processes. The use of workforce management systems helps manage new and historical risks and costs, as manufacturers continue to grapple with budget constraints due to the pandemic – without increasing HR professionals’ workload. Including systems which:
- Enhance efficiency
HR and payroll professionals are already dealing with unprecedently complicated workloads. Automated workforce management features reduce administrative burdens by reducing payroll processing time, streamlining benefits and enrollment, and simplifying labor management processes. A reduction in these time-consuming tasks frees HR staff to concentrate on the bigger picture.
- Decrease mistakes
Spreadsheets, manual time clocks, and paper timesheets are ripe for human error. Automation of workforce management functions makes mistakes much less likely and improves employee productivity and organizational profitability.
- Improve health and safety measures
This can include various tactics like touch-free workforce management solutions to reduce the risk of transmission of viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu. Employers can also implement temperature screening devices directly with their timeclocks, which do not store or display temperature information. When paired with additional safety and wellness technology measuring employee distancing and interactions, organizations can also optimize workspace layouts efficiently to ensure enacted safety measures keep workers safe and do not hinder production.
- Maintain compliance
Compliance with tax obligations and local, state, and federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is essential for any business to maintain functional payroll processes. By investing in a workforce management solution, employers are outsourcing their compliance risk and can rely on expert-led technology to apply the appropriate calculations at the correct times.
In addition to the tasks above, automation of scheduling shifts can further allow business leaders and HR professionals to focus on other timely growth strategies. Over the past nine months, the increased use of flex shifts and extended hours of operations to improve adherence to social-distancing protocols has been a central component in reducing potential disruptions for manufacturers – and other business sectors across the supply chain. But completing this task is easier said than done. Without an effective shift-scheduling strategy to ensure the right people are in the right roles, organizations may run into issues. For example, an employee scheduled to work at a specific job that they are not qualified for can put themselves and others at risk.
Using a rules-based scheduling tool through an automated workforce management solution, which features a customizable dashboard, organizations can consider required certifications and skills and then schedule employees that meet those requirements. Ultimately this will improve an organization’s ability to adhere to the ongoing health and safety regulations, as scheduling automation enhances the ability to follow state, local, federal, and union rules. Additionally, a rules-based scheduling tool limits overtime and fills gaps due to illness or absence to help manufacturers reduce costs associated with over or under-scheduling.
When paired with employee notifications, workforce management solutions ease the impact of last-minute schedule changes while assisting with retaining workers by decreasing the interruption of both their professional and personal lives.
While scheduling can be a timely balancing act, organizations using an automated, customizable scheduling software can ensure shifts are well-staffed with qualified, satisfied people. Using a robust workforce management solution, organizations can enhance policies to improve their ability to be more resilient during the next phase of normalcy.
Jenna Dobrovolny is a Group Product Manager with Ascentis based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has worked in technology for over 10 years in Marketing, Sales Engineering, and Product capacities and specializes in hardware and software compliance technologies for American workers.