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A Review Of Perspectives 2018 From A Workforce Management Perspective



Perspectives, our annual user conference, took place recently. I’m still exhausted from the few days at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but I’m also energized. As the song says, “The future looks bright” and since how we manage our workforce is the bedrock of any organization, let’s take a look back at Perspectives from a Workforce Management viewpoint.

Josh Bersin’s keynote, “Learning in the Flow of Work” was very engaging and, as always, Josh loaded us up with insightful data. Here are three key points I took away that relate to Workforce Management:

Look internally to develop your workforce.

The cost of training an internal candidate is a fraction of the cost of hiring externally.  Too many organizations do not consider their current talent pool and instead rely on the hiring process vs. promoting and training from within.  Training and promoting internally results in a more engaged and productive workforce and lowers your overall costs.

Embed learning into the flow of work.

Learning is not just driven by your Learning Management System (LMS), it must be available and easily accessed on the various applications that your employees use on a daily basis. A good example is being able to take an online course to be certified to bid on an available shift.  Providing this level of embedded learning engages all of your employees – especially your hourly employees. 

The best way to learn is to practice and repeat using the training provided. 

This is a no-brainer when you think about how we naturally learn.  However, too many companies are not putting enough emphasis on the practice component of learning, resulting in a reduced value from training, and in some cases, leads to a reduction in productivity.

Brent Skinner from Nucleus Research presented a session on the Measurable Impact of Workforce Management Integrated with Core HR, Learning, and Talent.  I have had the pleasure of working with Brent many times, and true to form, he delivered an excellent presentation.  Brent focused on the five factors that drive value: Breadth, Repeatability, Risk, Collaboration, and Knowledge.  He also walked through Nucleus’ 4 orders of ROI – Direct, Semi-Direct, Indirect and Very Indirect.  Historically companies often discount Very Indirect Savings as these relate more to areas such as improvement in employee engagement.  However, in today’s business reality, where attracting and retaining top talent for both salaried and hourly employees is challenging, more and more CEOs and CFOs are paying attention to the Very Indirect Savings as they relate to employee engagement.

Several studies put the cost of hiring minimum wage hourly employees at around $3,500 per hire, with this figure increasing exponentially in line with the employee’s hourly wage.  If you have low engagement which results in high turnover, your recruiting costs alone are significant. There is an easy remedy. Providing increased self-service and offering employees more input into their schedule improves engagement and retention, thereby reducing such costs.

On the topic of self-service, my colleague, Rita Battista, and I presented a session on the Evolution of Self-Service in HR.  Rita and I discussed how self-service in Workforce Management could increase employee engagement, reduce costs and result in significant savings for organizations that embrace this functionality.

One of our customers presented a very informative session on how they track and manage their employee’s adherence to their attendance policies.  Our customer spoke in detail about how they implemented Occurrence Tracking, a component of SumTotal Workforce Management, and how they used a points-based approach to change employee behavior around starting work on time, long lunches and no-shows. While this customer has significantly increased adherence to their attendance policy, they also made significant changes recently to their Occurrence Tracking. They now focus on the areas that produce the most significant drop in productivity and less on minor infractions such as being 5 minutes late for the start of your shift.

My colleagues, Warren Gouws and Norman Ford, presented a fascinating session on increasing compliance through Workforce Management.  They spoke about the risks and potential costs as a result of employees improperly trained or certified for the jobs they are scheduled to do. The harsh reality is that in the US, every day 14 employees die on the job. While we will never eliminate accidents, we can change behavior and actions on the job through ensuring open access to learning for all employees.

SumTotal has now bridged the gap that exists in traditional standalone LMS by providing a unified offering between SumTotal Learn, now loaded with Skillsoft Compliance content, and SumTotal Workforce Management that will validate that employees possess the relevant training/certification to complete the assigned task/role. Beyond the financial risks of not providing sufficient training for employees, companies have a moral and legal obligation to their employees to offer effective training.

If you were not able to make Perspectives this year, I encourage you to start thinking about attending in 2019.  You will come away with many new ideas to bring back to your organization not only to reduce costs but also increase your employee engagement!

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