UK businesses using workforce management technology to improve productivity

UK businesses have shown to be ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing technology that helps unburden employees and, in turn, better manage productivity. A new report commissioned by Kronos and conducted by Aberdeen Group reveals that UK organisations consistently show they are more likely to implement strategic workforce management solutions – such as absence and leave management or analytics – compared to their international counterparts.

The results of the report , “Productivity: Managing and Measuring a Workforce” confirm that organisations that automate workforce management processes with fully integrated solutions – as opposed to operating point solutions in silos – outperform their competitors.

With the increased global demand for flexible workforces, organisations around the world are facing demand from customers to provide a more agile workforce that is able to scale quickly and effectively meet demand. As a result, there is a greater need to scale up or down accordingly to remain competitive. However, this significantly complicates the task of ensuring the right employee skills are matched to the right jobs at the right times.

The research showed that UK organisations are ahead of the curve in automating strategic workforce management processes. Concerned with acquiring data that will better help meet increasing demand, they are focusing their attention on automating the strategic management of their workforces to provide better insight. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents from the UK utilise automated absence/leave management solutions that provides desired visibility into staff absences, whether planned or unplanned, and reduce the impact that absence has on the business. In comparison, global usage is less at 62 percent.

Similarly, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of UK organisations have already automated labour forecasting to avoid over or under staffing and maintain consistent productivity levels whilst reducing unnecessary costs, compared to just more than half of global organisations. Furthermore, sixty-seven percent of UK organisations have automated labour analytics to provide better workforce management insights – enabling them to save time and focus on employee benefits, development, and customer services – compared to 57 percent of organisations worldwide.

Despite this, UK businesses were found to be slow to deploy automated tactical time and attendance workforce management. Only 64 percent of UK businesses have automated the time and attendance functions of their workforce, which would provide better visibility into the business and enable organisations to control labour costs, minimise compliance risk and improve workforce productivity (vs. 77 percent of organisations across the world). A further 68 percent of organisations globally have automated time clock management compared to more than half (52 percent) of UK organisations.

Automating workforce management processes has been found to directly impact productivity. Organisations agree that the automation of processes such as absence/leave management, scheduling, and time and attendance impacts workforce productivity and improves margins, yet in different ways:

o A third (33 percent) agree that it leads to a decrease in unplanned/unbudgeted overtime and helps control associated costs. A further 29 percent say it leads to greater profit per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) as a direct result of automation;
o Respondents that implemented automated schedule management and time and attendance saw an increase in the number of products/services sold or delivered in the last 12 months, demonstrating that workforce management solutions have a positive impact on sales; and
o In addition, 31 percent state that automating time and attendance processes resulted in an improvement in profit per FTE and Service Level Agreement (SLA) levels because managers are provided with insight into where labour is being consumed in real time.

Brenda Morris, general manager, UK, Kronos, commented: “Whilst the UK economy is seeing steady growth, conditions remain turbulent. Organisations face the threat of increased global competition, rising costs, and compliance risks. Although the survey highlights how organisations have already gleaned benefits from automating some core workforce management processes, this is often done in silos and greater benefits can be achieved by implementing a more integrated solution. By using technology to automate core processes, organisations will free up employee time to focus on more meaningful activities, which creates a more engaging, motivating work environment and in turn delivers increased productivity. There are benefits to be gained for businesses of all sizes and if harnessed effectively across all areas of a business it can clearly help them compete more effectively in an increasingly competitive marketplace.“

Ms. Michael Moon, research director, Human Capital Management, Aberdeen Group added, “This survey shows that although organisations differ by region when it comes to how they measure productivity, automating and integrating their workforce management processes can deliver a five- to twenty-percent boost. The UK is seeing strong results in profit per FTE by automating strategic workforce management. By implementing a more integrated solution they could see even greater returns in all area such as revenue, sales, and service levels.“