Do you find yourself unable to fill open positions, or short on staff for peak work periods? Is your team overworked and under-resourced? Do they need more time to get their work done, without sacrificing quality? If your organisation is suffering from any of the above, you might be victim to some inefficient happenings day-to-day.
Here are ways you can review and your workforce management processes to set business up for improvements.
Processes to review
To kick things off, you’ll begin by reviewing your existing state of play. This is often called a review of your ‘As is’ state. At this stage, you’ll want to take stock of how the things processes operate day-to-day.
Processes to review:
- Time & attendance
- Onboarding and new staff induction
- Leave management
- Payroll processing
You have three basic goals for this review:
- Document exactly how your processes work now
- Identify areas that are labour intensive or causing problems
- Identify opportunities for automation or time-saving
Inefficiencies to look out for
When conducting your review are several key things to look for. You want to pick up on anything that is chewing up your team’s time or creating headaches in the long term. Compile the below points into a checklist to keep them front of mind:
- Stores, sites or business units exceeding their labour budgets
- Any manual data entry
- Paper-based processes and how they are managed
- How many employees are spending time managing these processes, and the impact this has on business growth
- Excel spreadsheets being used to track anything throughout the process
- Multiple people handling the same forms
- Managers manually filling shifts using calls and SMS to try and contact staff last minute
- Channels like WhatsApp or Facebook being used to change shifts
- Employee dissatisfaction about processes
- High error rates in payroll or staff being paid incorrectly
When conducting your research, be sure to get the entire picture. Speak to staff at all levels of the process, from managers to front line staff and everyone in between. Investigate how processes work within different teams and departments and find out where the weak link is.
Tip: look for processes operating differently in different teams – this is common!
Interviewing leadership teams
The best way to complete this research is to interview your managers and department heads and document your processes in the way they’re meant to work. Try to collect information on:
- Rostering process–from building the roster to communicating it to staff
- Shift change process when staff call in sick or swap shifts
- The shift approval process–from managers approving shifts (timesheets) to those approved hours being submitted to payroll
- Payroll process from receiving approved shifts, calculating wages and loading in the payroll system
- New staff induction processes, from new starter paperwork through to loading them in the payroll system and rostering their first shift
Finally, make sure you speak to your frontline employees and obtain some feedback to gain some insight into their experiences with your current processes. Ask questions around the following areas as a starting point:
- How much time does it take them to check their shifts or request certain hours?
- How much time do they spend recording hours?
- How often are they paid incorrectly and have any mistakes been made in processing their pays recently?
- How easy is it to request leave or change shifts?
- Have they worked in businesses that had a better process for rostering and time & attendance? If so, what was different?
- Any suggestions for improvements that could be made?
Ensuring you engage with your frontline employees is an invaluable part of this process:
- Speaking to your frontline staff about their experience will confirm how the process works, not only how it’s meant to work
- Speaking with the actual users will give you a better idea of which problems are genuine pain points and should be prioritised to address with your new solution
- Engaging with your staff will engage them in the process, and lead to better acceptance of your chosen solution when you reach implementation.
Stuck on how to collect all of this information? Try setting up a survey using a tool like Survey Monkey, Typeform or Google Forms.
Reviewing your payroll process
The final step in your analysis is to research your current pay rules and payroll process. This incorporates the payroll process as well as pay policies, pay rules and awards that govern how you calculate wages and pay your employees.
You will want to investigate the following questions:
- How often do payroll processes pay, and how many hours does it take them to process?
- How many different payment policies and awards exist for calculating wages?
- How do we currently calculate pay from employee timesheet data? I.e. How do we take hours and correctly calculate wages?
- Do some departments have different pay rules from others?
- Are our current pay rules compliant with all legislated requirements?
Most businesses will be surprised to learn that they have several different sets of pay rules and awards governing how they pay staff in different teams and locations. Where manual processes exist, this will quickly multiply the effort, time and cost of processing your payroll. This leads to errors and inaccurate payments when incorrect pay rules are applied (particularly for staff who work between multiple sites).
Connecting the dots
By this stage, you should have a strong grasp of how each process works across teams. Have you uncovered any glaring challenges?
If you’re still looking for insights, try and summarise everything you’ve captured into quotes or conclusions from your interviews. Then, group this information into themes. Where are there similarities? The best place to start with a process overhaul is where there’s consensus across the business.
→ Keep reading: How to build your wfm business case
Where to next?
By this stage, you’ve done a thorough job of mapping out your current workforce management processes. Hopefully, this resource has helped you define the core pain points in your business and established where the opportunities lie for improvement!
You can now use what you know about your business to identify best-in-class solutions like Ento that will help address these challenges head-on.