Three workforce planning hacks your HRMS can help with

Good tools help you do a better job, but… even the best tool will only help you if you use it correctly. When it comes to workforce planning – including functions such as time and attendance, absence and leave management, and labor scheduling – here are three ‘hacks’ that will help you get the most from your current or future HRMS system.

1. Incorporate more data and variables

In the era of Big Data, everything is connected. Or, more accurately, everything can be connected, if your system is up to the job. Put simply, your HRMS may be capable of producing a rota or schedule, but the fitness of that schedule for your business depends on the data you feed it.

Recommended reading: learn how to use HRMS data to facilitate workforce planning using our five-step guide to making the most out of your HR data

Workforce planning has gone beyond a simple equation balancing ‘who is here’ and ‘what needs to be done’. For more accurate and sophisticated results, factor in workload patterns, employee availability, seasonal demands, individual skill sets, predictable short-term peak activities, planned absences, long-term absence due to illness, multiple locations and/or time zones, budgetary restraints, labor law diktats, and your agreed contractual terms and conditions.

The more data you use, the better the granularity of your scheduling and the greater the likelihood that it reflects the nuanced needs of your day to day business.

2. Automate, automate, automate…

The average modern workforce is ‘flexible’, including full-time and part-time workers, flexi-time, 9-day fortnights and other variations, contract and casual workers, non-office-based field workers, workers from home, and so on. And to manage a flexible workforce you need a flexible system which can juggle all of these factors and more. The key is automation. Unless there’s a business-critical reason for not doing so, always automate your planning processes.

Set up your HRMS to handle issues such as punching in, monitoring ‘indirect’ time (i.e. breaks, and other time spent not working), and overtime management (such as automatic notifications to managers when an employee reaches a preset threshold of hours worked, etc.) Furthermore, integrating workforce planning and management with payroll can go a long way to avoiding simple paycheck errors.

3. Enable self-service

With a good HRMS, not only are you ‘outsourcing’ elements of workforce planning to the software, use of various self-service options can hand on some routine responsibilities to individual employees and managers.

Employees can register their availability, manage their own paid time off, and bid for specific shifts which can then be allocated automatically. Managers can set up personalized dashboards that give them access to all the essential workforce information ‘at a glance’, allowing them to monitor individual and team performance in real-time.

A fully-utilized HRMS can improve workforce planning in terms of improved productivity, reduced costs, better compliance with labor regulations, and easier administration. The real benefit of your HRMS lies in the details – how you use those functions that engage everybody in the successful running of the business.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall