Building your WFM business case

November 18, 2019 Ami Price-Gagnon No Comments

What’s your WFM maturity?

A guide on building your WFM business case

Intuitively, it makes sense to use technology when you can eliminate manual work, address pain points, and improve data quality and visibility. However, businesses don’t (usually) run on intuition, so this post is a summary on how to calculate and present the benefits of WFM software. I also hope this helps you think about how you’d design an RFP process for your next WFM upgrade, or how you can improve existing processes to get the most value out of WFM software!

We’ll cover two steps: assessing your current maturity and defining the benefits of change.

Step 1 – Assessing your current maturity

Instead of relying on benchmarks, it’s helpful to do some self-reflection on your current state before you try to size up the opportunity. The benefits from WFM software are significantly different for businesses updating to a more sophisticated version than those who are ticking off attendance with a pencil today. For each of the six sections below, think about which maturity level (from 1 to 4) sounds most like your current state.

*Maturity levels inspired from https://ss-usa.s3.amazonaws.com/c/308463326/media/5c9494325e16e/JB_Tech_Disruptions_Final.pdf
**Maturity levels inspired from https://www.talend.com/blog/2016/07/13/are-you-ready-for-the-data-age-five-maturity-levels-in-data-driven-organizations/

Discussing the categories of maturity above will naturally lead you to start thinking about the benefits of modern WFM software: Reduced manual work, improved employee engagement, optimised service, easier management tasks, etc. So the next step is to think about how we turn these into $.

Step 2 – Defining the benefits of change

In the end, everything is going to have to boil down to increased revenue and/or decreased costs. However, it can be tricky to logically jump directly to financials, so I’m going to introduce you to the typical benefit levers we typically see to get there.

Depending on your current state, your business case for WFM software might include some or all of the above. It can feel like a lot, so my tip is to obtain logical agreement one step at a time. For example, with ‘Reduced time theft’, you may want to take the following approach:

  • Can we agree that employees have an opportunity to misrecord timesheet clock in & out with our current systems and processes?
  • Does it sound reasonable to assume that employees would only be recording ~15 minutes extra per shift if time theft is occuring, and perhaps this only happens for 50% of shifts?
  • Can we agree that the new system would fully mitigate misrecorded timesheets due to GPS and facial recognition?
  • If we can agree to all of the above, we would take:
    (Total # of shifts per year x 50% x hourly rate) x (15 min / 60 min)
    = annual $ saved from lower front-line labour hours

I also want to specifically call out benefits stemming from ‘employee engagement’. I personally believe there are scenarios where this belongs in a business case, but your board members may have their own opinion. If you are in a position to include ‘employee engagement’ as a driver for financial benefits, I recommend backing your analysis with the following data:

  • Exit interviews: aim to quantify the % of people leaving who indicate pain points that could be solved by software, such as manual processes, difficulty in communicating, lack of flexibility, etc.
  • Employee turnover: it will be helpful to have a baseline of knowing how many people are leaving each year, and how you compare to the industry average
  • New hire sources: how are successful applicants hearing about your company? Are existing employees acting as advocates and recommending your business as a great place to work?
  • Customer feedback: if you have any feedback mechanisms where customers have an opportunity to indicate that an employee specifically made their experience better or worse, you can try to start quantifying the impact that engaged employees have on customers

Similar to ‘employee engagement’, it can be difficult to put a dollar figure on reduced risk unless you’ve already come across legal fees for under-paying employees or missing a mandatory qualification of staff. News channels are constantly highlighting the latest offenders and even inviting employees to submit complaints or investigate their own compensation. Your WFM business case needs to highlight that risk is significantly reduced by having automated alerts when rosters are near or against rostering rules, even if you’re not currently budgeting for legal fees. I typically include this benefit in at least one of two ways:

  • Option 1: Business cases typically show a low-benefit scenario and high-benefit scenario, and the financial benefits of risk mitigation can be captured in the ‘high-benefit scenario’. The cost is often calculated by (Penalty fee $ x Likelihood of occurring %). Even with a very low likelihood of occurring, penalty fees and reputational damage are high enough to add up to a significant benefit.
  • Option 2: Business cases are typically presented as a narrative with key points about qualitative benefits, such as alignment to a digital strategy, company values, and risk mitigation. If your business is coming from any form of rostering that does not alert managers about compliance, this benefit is extremely important to highlight, with a plethora of recent news articles to reference to demonstrate the cost of the risk.

Finally, you probably want some research to back up your estimates. While it would be best to find something based on companies most similar to your own, a few resources I’ve found helpful are:

  • This study by McKinsey demonstrates that ‘winners’ across many industries are those who embrace digital solutions
  • This HBR article is retail-specific but drives the key point that “every dollar saved on staffing may cause several dollars in lost revenues”, and it’s valuable to invest in employees and schedule optimisation
  • This report by Accenture emphasises the importance of using technology to make work easier and to plan for the right people at the right time

At the end of this process you will not only have the data supporting a business case for change, but you’ll also have the key KPIs and targets to manage against. This is a strong starting point but Ento is always happy to talk through the maturity matrix, detailed benefits from specific features, and implementation tips for making sure benefits are realised. Reach out if you’d like to discuss!

Cheers,
Ami

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