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Workforce Management Industry Trends and the Path to Automated Planning Solutions

Workforce management is changing rapidly, driven by technological innovation and the increasing complexity of managing a diverse and distributed workforce. Traditional methods of workforce planning are giving way to automated solutions that deliver the benefits of increasing the level of efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction.


This week’s blog explores the most recent trends in workforce management that leverage automated workforce planning solutions and their impact on the business.


Evolution of Automated Planning


The last few years have been the time of a radical swing towards automated workforce management solutions based upon complex algorithms and developments in artificial intelligence. According to Market Research Future, the workforce management market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% between 2021 and 2027, driven by demand at an increased level coupled with automation and cloud-based functionality.


There are a number of benefits that quickly come with automated planning solutions over the traditional methods. They analyze a large volume of data in a short time with speed and accuracy, allowing the manager to study this data to make decisions on staffing and resource reallocation. They will also reduce the time and labor spent on scheduling employees, and their overall effect is to free up the manager’s time for strategic matters. The automated solution also allows businesses to adapt to the changing nature of labor laws and regulations, ensuring compliance and avoiding costly fines and errors. 


Business Case: Kesko Senukai Call Center


Here is a very practical example of such automated planning, involving Kesko Senukai which implemented this workforce management solution in their call center. They had a really planned call center with a very rigid scheduling system: fixed shifts, very little flexibility. Then they tried a new type of much more flexible workforce management system driven by automated planning, which resulted in significant saving of employee hours.

The change was, however, not without its challenges. Having a new system meant that the old ways of workforce management are coming to the an which caused certain concerns among employees. However, with time the hurdles were overcome, employees appreciated the flexibility of the schedules and the fact that their preferences could be accommodated; resulting in increase in satisfaction and productivity and less turnover.

The case study reveals that this step by step approach is superior because it allows time for employees to adapt to the changes.


Industry Trends and Statistics

The face of workforce management is changing because of technological innovation, integrations, and organizational needs. Some other key trends changing the way business manages its workforce: its rapid adoption of cloud-based solutions, mainstreaming of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These innovations are the driving force behind the new age of workforce management. Moreover, employee self-service apps are on the increase allowing more personal freedom and helping increase satisfaction. Let's dive into the industry trends and stats defining the future of workforce management.

1. Cloud Workforce Management: A trend heating up today is the increase in the use of services via the cloud. This is happening on an unstoppable rate, changing many of the characteristics of HR predictions that were made in the past. Expect scalability, access to live data, and seamless integration with other business systems that follow such platforms. According to a Deloitte report, 74% of organizations are using cloud-based HR and workforce management solutions to improve organizational effectiveness and employee experience.

AI and machine learning

2. AI and Machine Learning are changing the face of workforce management through predictive analytics and automation. They can predict demand, compute employee turnover, and deploy the best people to meet business needs. AI-powered workforce management systems  can increase productivity by up to 20%, according to McKinsey & Company.


3. Employee Self-Service Tools is a truly exciting idea: empowering the employee with self-service. A firm provides an employee with the ability to view their schedules, request for personal time off, and even swap shifts with minimal managerial intervention. According to Gartner, testing the use of employee self-service tools can reduce an organization's administrative load by up to 30% and increase employee satisfaction by 25%.

Benefits of Automated Planning Solutions 

In this regard, computerized scheduling systems offer numerous business and employee benefits: 


• Efficiency and Accuracy: Computerized planning can efficiently and accurately process complex procedural and other data sets  in a much shorter time than the manual methods still in use. This results in increased labor efficiency and lower labor costs. 


• Employee Satisfaction: Flexible scheduling options that accommodate employee preferences help increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover. Employees feel they have control over their work-life balance; which improves morale and leads to increased productivity.


• Compliance and Risk Management: Companies stay legally compliant by tracking and ensuring compliance rules with the help of automated systems. This helps to reduce errors, potential litigation and associated costs.


• Strategic Decision Making: Real-time data and analytics provide managers with relevant information, enabling them to make the right strategic decisions in every area of workforce planning and management. This enhances the overall strategic direction of the organization and its ability to support long-term business goals.


So, What Does It All Boil Down To?


The automated scheduling landscape is changing fast, with solutions offering gigantic benefits, some of which are primarily efficiency and accuracy but also employee satisfaction and compliance. Their solutions come replete with a host of benefits not only in efficiency and accuracy but also in employee satisfaction and compliance. The business world moves in unison with fluctuating labor markets and technological innovation. Automated workforce management solutions will be a matter of survival for tomorrow's competitive advantage.


Finally, it is recommended for  companies that need to use such solutions to adopt a strategy of gradual implementation: first, introduce the new technology and allow time for managers and employees to get used to it, and only then make major changes in the planning logic and business processes. This way, possible resistance to change can be greatly reduced and the process of change can be facilitated.


One such trend in business, automated planning solutions, is being adopted and utilized to lead to more effective workforce management and ultimately to the overall success of the business.

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