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Measure the impact of a workforce management solution

Here’s something we know for a fact; if your business relies on shift workers and you have more than 100 employees then, without a workforce ..

Here’s something we know for a fact; if your business relies on shift workers and you have more than 100 employees then, without a workforce management (WFM) solution, you’re spending twice as much time on admin as you should be, your workforce efficiency is 10% less than it could be, you're making 5% less sales, and your customers are 5% less satisfied.

These figures are pulled from a number of different studies (TechNavio / McKinsey) into the impact a WFM solution can have on a business. Of course, each business is different, and the problems you’re looking to solve with a WFM software will, to a certain extent, be unique to you.

In order to truly measure the impact, you should first ask yourself a number of questions like:

  • How many hours does it take to create your schedules?
  • How many times is the schedule changed once it’s published?
  • How long do your managers spend making changes to the schedule after it’s published?
  • What’s your process for employees switching shifts or finding cover for them when they call in sick?
  • Are holiday requests from your employees easy to manage?
  • How long does it take you to run payroll?
  • How many errors are there (like your staff not being paid correctly) when you run payroll?
  • How are you performing against your targets?
  • How are your units performing compared to each other?
  • Which factors contribute most to your staffing costs?
  • What parameters affect your efficiency and profitability?


Armed with this knowledge, you’ll then be able to analyse and review the impact a WFM solution has on your business by measuring the following:


1. Labour cost 

Cost of labour is often the biggest fixed cost on the balance sheet. With a WFM solution you can see, in real-time, your actual labour costs compared with your budgeted costs. And because you have greater control over when and where people are working, it’s easy to reduce costs without sacrificing your service. For example, pizza giant Papa John’s were able to use the data from their WFM solution to make sure their staffing levels were appropriate for both their quiet times and times of peak demand. As such, they were able to, on average, reduce labour cost by 4-5% in each store.

If you haven’t seen it, we’ve put a guide together on the best ways to reduce labour cost which you can access here.


2. Scheduling changes

 There’s many different ways to measure the ‘success’ of a schedule but sometimes it can be difficult to put a hard number on it. A great place to start is measuring how many times a schedule is changed each month. As your use of your WFM system matures you should see less changes being made after a schedule has been produced. This in itself will point towards both improved productivity and improved efficiency - and a successful schedule.


3. Time

 As you’ll have gathered from the questions above, measuring the amount of time labour intensive administration work takes is incredibly important for measuring the impact of a WFM solution. Measure the time you spend doing specific tasks, especially scheduling. We find on average a manager who creates schedules will save 9 hours a week once this process is fully automated. To measure this impact on your business you have to track your time to see where it’s being used. Better use of time is also a clear indicator of increased productivity.

A great example here is from leading fashion retailer, GANT, who were able to reduce the time they spend on their scheduling process and the associated follow-ups by 75%.


4. Employee engagement

 Employee engagement is another important metric all businesses can measure. Engaged employees will help your business improve customer satisfaction and will save you money as more engaged employees are more productive. The best workforce management solutions give employees the choice of what shifts they can claim and when they can work. This helps them plan more effectively and tends to see a stronger work-life balance which in turn leads to improved engagement.

As Belynda Maquis-Mondesir is an Aviation Security Officer at London City Airport, who use a WFM solution, says: “It had a massive impact on me and my life. I feel like I’m in control. I can organise a shift swap through the app on my phone and then, bing-bang-boff, it’s there and we’ve done it. Since using it I haven’t missed a birthday, a social event or family time, and you can’t put a price on that.”


5. Staff turnover

 This is directly related to the above and, for many businesses, reducing staff turnover and improving retention is the main reason they decide to implement a workforce management solution and as such, measuring turnover is a must to gauge the impact the solution is having.


6. Forecast and budget accuracy

 With a detailed forecast of future staffing requirements, planning and follow-up relating to budget becomes more accurate. Measuring the variance of the forecast to the actual results will show how accurate the forecast was. And we tend to find the longer a WFM solution is used, the more accurate it becomes.

As Goran Pavlic, Head of Retail Operations at Rituals, adds: “In the past we had manual spreadsheets looked after by a store manager. We didn’t know at the end of the day, the end of the week or the end of the month, where we’d end up with our productivity measures or our personnel costs.

“Using a WFM solution, of course, makes our lives easier. First of all for our store managers but also for all other layers in our business. We know at any moment where we stand in relation to our productivity and personnel costs.

“The system translates sales targets and the targets we set for our stores into shifts per hour and it helps have the right person, with the right skills, in the right place at the right moment.”



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