• +91-9754677445
  • 457 Mott Street,NY 10013
  • 24 X 7

Woefully unaware is your digital WFM plan destined to fail

Many business leaders often initiate a digital workforce management (WFM) transformation plan without fully grasping the evolving nature of the workplace. In today’s age, technology, gig workers, and the need for flexibility are shaping the way we work. The main message that author Jarrod McGrath conveys in his latest book, The Digital Workforce, is…

During a roundtable discussion held at the headquarters of tech disruptor Atlassian, McGrath expressed concern about the lack of understanding and effective execution of WFM plans by many organizations. He emphasized that these organizations are often unaware of the impact that technology can have on their staff and business.

McGrath pointed out that the lack of understanding in this area is to be expected. Workforce management (WFM) is a relatively recent concept that many individuals are finding challenging to define.

“Ask 10 different individuals and you’ll get 10 distinct explanations,” McGrath stated. Therefore, when companies attempt to implement a digital WFM transformation project, there is no standard to gauge its success, making it challenging to evaluate the outcomes of such a transformation.

He emphasized the importance of considering various perspectives when it comes to digital WFM. It goes beyond just scheduling, headcount, and talent optimization. Employees, business leaders, and customers all play a role in how it should be viewed.

“What are the potential benefits for each stakeholder if they transition from manual workforce management (WFM) to digital WFM?” McGrath stated.

Georgina Poulos, the global director of people at retailer T2 Tea, has taken into account all three stakeholders in her organization’s pursuit of digital workforce management.

At the event, she highlighted the importance of automating tasks to enhance the experience of team members. “This not only benefits team members, but also enhances customer experiences and leads to better business outcomes.”

According to McGrath, data plays a crucial role in ensuring effective WFM in 2018.

“Having high-quality data can significantly enhance your progress in the digital transformation journey,” he stated. “If you want to efficiently manage the staffing levels in your store in relation to your sales, it is crucial to have precise and reliable data. This will enable you to make accurate estimates and forecasts, ensuring that your decisions are based on credible information.”

AI technology plays a crucial role in digital WFM.

“AI raises various concerns, ranging from potential doomsday scenarios reminiscent of Terminator to the impact it may have on employment,” McGrath expressed. It has the potential to eliminate certain job positions, while also liberating workers from monotonous and tedious tasks. When implemented effectively, it has the potential to empower employees at all levels to have a greater influence on the business, while delegating mundane tasks to robots. Understanding the importance of approaching it from a human capital perspective, rather than a capitalistic perspective, is crucial.

Retail, health, and service organizations stand to benefit greatly from digital WFM. They have a lot to learn, but the potential gains are significant. McGrath stated.

Nevertheless, in this era of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” as described by McGrath and others, the management of WFM is still reliant on outdated tools.

“We are currently experiencing a transformative period, with the emergence of new technologies such as the Internet of Things, workforce robots, and blockchain. These advancements are reshaping the way workforces are managed,” he stated. However, similar to policy makers, business leaders have struggled to keep pace with these advancements and are not effectively utilizing technology in areas such as human resources, payroll, and workforce management.

According to McGrath, the issue is made worse by the younger generations who join the workforce with the assumption that technology will have a beneficial impact on their work structure.

“Many businesses are neglecting to implement policies regarding flexible working, which can be incredibly frustrating for employees who require this flexibility to engage in the gig or sharing economies alongside their regular jobs.”

Admittedly, it can be quite overwhelming for HR leaders to determine where to begin their digital workforce management journey. However, the crucial aspect to consider is asking this fundamental question: what is our business strategy?

Sometimes, having a strategy that is tied to a workforce or project initiative may lead to a disconnect if it is not aligned with the overall business strategy,” he explained. “If the senior leadership team does not have a clear understanding of the reasons behind your actions, they will likely raise questions.”