(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Managing your workforce just got a lot smarter with Workforce Dimensions, a solution designed to provide both a world-class employee experience and unprecedented levels of operational insight. Enjoy the article!)
When I go to conferences, I hear a lot of speakers say that organizations need to work smarter. But what does that really mean? Well, during our annual Workforce Institute at Kronos board meeting, we spent some time working on the answer to that question. Here’s what we came up with:
“Working Smarter represents freeing up employees from the challenges of everyday business, such as shifting consumer demands, evolving labor laws, and an increasingly competitive landscape, so they can contribute to the strategic outcomes of the organization. The solutions include automation, streamlined processes, and actionable data and insights. By working smarter, employees are able to amplify their capabilities to deliver better outcomes.”
Obviously, organizations want employees to work smarter. It has a direct bottom-line impact to the business. But frankly, employees want to work smarter too. Because working smarter means better results with (hopefully) less work. Or at least that the work happens a faster, more efficient way.
Working Smarter Means Working Differently
There’s an old quote attributed to Albert Einstein about how insanity means doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Organizations that want “smarter” work and better results are going to have to look for new ways for the work to be completed. This is where modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, can bring value (and dare I say “smartness”) to work. Here are just a couple of examples:
EXAMPLE #1: Building resiliency and agility creates individual and organizational success
Two of the traits that I’m constantly hearing associated with business smarts and organizational success are resilience and agility. Our friends at Kronos have partnered with the science-based training company meQuilibrium to help organizations bring these skills to employees through its next gen solution, Workforce Dimensions.
As you know, resilience is the ability to maintain a state of calm, focus, and confidence in the face of adversity and change. According to meQulibrium, emotional well-being enables resilience and their tools allow employees to focus on that through the use of a set of employee engagement tools. In addition, meQ Empower takes that same concept to the team environment and helps employees focuses their skills on those attributes needed to effectively work in a constantly changing team environment like empathy, emotion control, and positivity.
I know some of you might be thinking, “This sounds great, but how do I justify the expense of soft skills development that can be hard to measure. Well, this is where Kronos and their time and attendance data comes in. Workforce Dimensions marries the Kronos data with the meQ science – in real-time. The results are evidence-based insights on a daily basis into those activities that challenge organizations every day, like absenteeism and turnover. This positions HR to make recommendations for improvements that will only further drive business success.
Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Report 2019 finds 99% (yes, that’s not a typo) are taking action to prepare the future workforce. That includes upskilling employees, so they are prepared for the next big thing.
EXAMPLE #2: Being ready allows employees and companies to leverage opportunities
Speaking of agility, one of the biggest challenges that managers have to deal with is finding people to do the work after an employee calls in late or sick. While this is a specific example, it’s also one that shows potential for many industries. Passport is an artificial intelligence tool used in the trucking and delivery industries. The tool automatically reroutes drivers – with the skills and the time – when someone calls in sick.
With the Passport tool, Workforce Dimensions can create a “public” listing of unscheduled routes that employees can accept – again, if they have the skills and time. During a time when recruitment and retention is on everyone’s mind, having tools like “Passport” can help employers quickly fill scheduling gaps, allowing customer satisfaction to remain a priority.
In addition, employees might appreciate having the opportunity to pick up an extra shift here or there. Especially around a holiday or when they’re trying to save up for something special. It’s a bonus that employees can complete all of these actions in a single application instead of fumbling around between solutions while literally “on the road”.
This same Passport intelligence is being applied beyond trucking and delivery, in industries where timing can have a big impact on wellness or safety, such as home healthcare and social services. In those roles, intelligent routing and visit assignments and assuring that open assignments are filled quickly with qualified personnel not only saves money, it can save lives.
Smarter Work Means Building a Personalized Technology Solution for Employees
The good news about solutions like meQ and Passport is that these tools can be used in concert with Workforce Dimensions. So, we’re not talking about adding another new system. Workforce Dimensions provides a foundation that allows organizations to personalize the work experience for employees using these AI and machine learning components.
For employees, this means they can get all of their work information in one place. They can view their vacation balance, sick balance, and paid time off (PTO). Plus, using Passport, employees can possibly pick up an extra shift or route. And then, they can also spend time developing “softer” skills like resiliency and agility using meQ. These are skills that will benefit the employee throughout their entire career.
Organizations that use AI and analytics to crunch their workforce management data will have the clear advantage to measure if their plans for the future are working long before the future actually arrives. These activities benefit the organization through reduced administration, more effective scheduling and staffing, and better employee knowledge and skills. I continue to be impressed with the Workforce Dimensions solution and how it can help organizations and employees work smarter, if you want to learn more (and I know you do), visit the Kronos website and request a demo.12