According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total job openings hit 11 million in October 2021. Shortly before, quit rates reached an all-time high of 2.9% in August, and many who left the workforce never intend to return at all.
These quit rates and resignations are leading to significant disruption and change in the modern workplace. As labor shortages occur, HR professionals and business leaders are tasked with addressing the challenges caused by this Great Resignation, particularly in service and skills-based industries.
Addressing workforce management for the future
Many HR pros are searching for workforce technology that supports them in addressing workforce management issues today and in the future. Amidst the difficulties of COVID-19 and relevant labor shortages, TCP Software conducted a survey to better understand the challenges HR pros are facing and how they’re using technology as part of the solution.
We asked HR pros what emerging technology they are looking at to help them address workforce management for the future.
Their top three responses were:
- cloud applications (56%)
- workplace analytics (52%)
- mobile applications (46%)
The common thread among these top trends is the ability to implement “anywhere operations” in which employees are enabled to do their job anywhere and use digital technologies to do so.
Enabling “anywhere operations”
As Gartner explains, the idea of anywhere operations “challenges the conventional wisdom and understanding that it’s necessary to be in a specific location — such as interacting face to face — to maximize value and efficiency.” With an approach that enables anywhere operations, employees and contractors are supported in a hybrid model across various locations, including remote as well as on-site facilities such as an office, factory or retail setting.
Knowing that business needs to continue, regardless of location, HR pros are examining how top tech trends can help them implement or update their company to this dispersed operational model.
In March 2020, companies had to immediately transition operations to a way of work that supported remote employees. The switch was practically overnight. Organizations that were already using cloud applications were able to adapt quickly. For those who were still operating with onsite technology or processes, the transition was much more difficult. For some, it created serious delays and maybe even led to complete closure.
The need for remote workforce management is not going away. As respondents to our survey indicated, many of their employees are either working hybrid (45%) or entirely remotely (12%). In this “new normal” where your workforce is dispersed, having cloud applications is essential for successful business.
Based responses to our survey, it’s clear that HR pros are also looking for processes to optimize employee productivity. To do that, they need access to workplace data analytics.
“When we do the hard work of making insights from data available to people, we do more than just optimize numbers or use AI to do fancy tricks,” says Amir Orad in Forbes. “The decisions we make every day can affect real people. Analytics is what gives us the power to make smarter, faster decisions.”
Automated workforce management technology is one way businesses can gather the people data that drives business. Information such as time and attendance, labor tracking and job costing data can deliver insights can enable organizations to dig into labor costs. Systems that incorporate historical workforce data can enable organizations with efficient schedule-building recommendations.
Whether it’s labor costs or turnover rates, workforce management technology allows leaders to monitor key data points. This data can be used to uncover important insights that help improve not only operations but also the employee experience.
Today’s employee experience extends far beyond the four walls of a work location. They’re working everywhere they have access to the tools they need – recent research points to an increase in mobile work going forward. Predictions from the International Data Corporation (IDC) indicate that mobile workers will be nearly 60 percent of the total workforce by 2024.
That transition to mobile was only reinforced during the pandemic. Organizations that were tracking time and attendance via a physical time clock or posting schedules on a break-room wall had to quickly find a solution to accommodate the new work-from-home reality. No longer was a mobile solution “nice to have” – it became a necessity.
Mobile access helps streamline operations, but mobile apps are also what today’s digital natives expect and want from their employer. From ordering a pizza to checking their bank balance, today’s digital natives are accustomed to having access to everything they need via a mobile device. By delivering access to schedules, time off requests and time clocks via a mobile application, employers can engage with employees and improve their overall work experience.
Investing in workforce management technology
There’s a global transition to a new era of work that requires that leaders and employees alike can use technology to manage everyday workforce activity in a way that drives the business forward.
Given the ways that workforce technology can support business and HR operations, it’s no surprise that 72% of our survey respondents said they factored HR or workforce management technology into their budgets.
When today’s leaders have tools that are enable anywhere operations, provide data that enables analysis and offers insights, they’re better prepared to maintain operations – regardless of what issues arise. Furthermore, if organizations can provide mobile access to these solutions, they empower employees from the frontline to the executive suite with the tools and information they need.
Whether you embrace today’s top workforce technology trends or not, they will impact your organization. Want to see more results from TCP’s survey accessing the state of today’s workforce? Download our State of the U.S. Workforce report.