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It would be difficult to think of a facet of traditional workforce management that hasn’t been impacted by the events of 2020. Internal communications, time and attendance functions, data processing, learning management, and many other vital elements of most businesses’ daily operations look markedly different now than they did at this time last year. Business leaders are now finding themselves navigating a complicated, sometimes confusing landscape of remote employees, reorganized workspaces, and elevated safety concerns. Establishing an updated set of best practices that better reflects the profound changes in the way we work will be essential as we roll into 2021.
Putting Safety First
Safeguarding your worker’s health and safety has always been one of the most important aspects of workforce management, and that responsibility has never been put in sharper focus than in the past year. Nearly 90% of high-level managers say that they are concerned about top-quality employees leaving their roles due to the pandemic-related worries. Especially in industries with high rates of turnover and burnout, those concerns need to be addressed as decisively as possible.
Operations management is on the frontline of setting new standards and policies that protect employees while still maintaining productivity. That’s particularly important in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and construction, where most employees do not have the option of doing their work from remote locations. In jobs where onsite work is still the norm, those best practices might include investing in touch-free time and attendance hardware, using scheduling software to create more flexibility and less crowding, or devising new layouts that keep workers more physically distant in their workspaces.
There has been a lot of media focus this year on the new ways we communicate at work, with much of the focus on Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, and other tools for remote communication. Those tools are indeed very important to many employers, but they are not the only forms of communication that need to be taken into consideration. Even in industries and roles where remote work is not possible, new forms of communication have been pushed to the forefront in 2020.
In healthcare, for example, managers often need to send vital messages about health and safety and be sure that the information reaches its audience. Communication software that allows instant push notifications to be sent to the entire organization, to certain teams or groups, or to individual employees can be an important tool for protecting workers and patients alike. Those tools are also hugely helpful for manufacturing facilities that need to communicate changes in schedules, construction sites where a deadline has changed, and many other types of employers.
Embracing Mobile Apps
Mobile apps have been hyped as the future of business for quite some time, and that future is rapidly becoming the present. More than 80% of surveyed CEOs had plans to increase their organization’s focus on mobile even before the pandemic. The events of this year have only made that push more urgent. There are obvious applications for mobile technology in organizations that have the option of letting employees work from home, but that isn’t the only area where going mobile can be a game-changer.
Daily time and attendance operations are one key area that can be managed largely via mobile tech. A strong mobile app allows workers to view and change their schedules, clock in and out remotely, request sick leave and other paid time off, and many other employee self-service options. Giving employees the power to manage these functions straight from their mobile devices not only makes your workforce feel more empowered and engaged, it also takes much of those operations off of your managers’ plates and frees them up to handle less repetitive tasks.
As businesses grow and get older, there can be a tendency toward mission drift. Projects get completed, programs get shut down, new software gets integrated, other businesses get acquired. All of those factors can lead to fragmentation across a multi-faceted business. It’s a natural part of growth, but it can also create problems when the time comes to reassess your company’s overall operations strategy.
Centralizing your technology and operations in a single platform is a reliable way to decrease confusion, unite your management vision, and improve productivity across your organization. A one-stop dashboard with extensive opportunities for customization is a crucial tool for getting your management on the same page. Operations and people managers have more control over their daily functions. Different teams and departments can collaborate more easily while maintaining transparency. Errors get spotted more quickly and corrections can be made more easily.
While some of these specific solutions may be more essential for some organizations than others, a centralized, safety-conscious workplace with high-quality communications should be a goal every employer can agree on. Re-aligning your best practices to reflect the massive changes we’ve seen in the past year is vital for any business that hopes to stay safe, compliant, profitable, and productive in the years to come.
To learn more about the changing state of workplace and workforce management, take a look at our infographic highlighting some eye-opening statistics and facts about best practices in the COVID-era and beyond.