Especially considering current circumstances, most companies want more flexibility regarding efficient, demand-based personnel planning. Markus Wieser, Executive Director Product Management at Atoss, explains how digital workforce management can grant companies such flexibility.
How can workforce management support companies in the current crisis?
Markus Wieser: In this difficult situation, I think two things are particularly important. On the one hand, the risk of infection must be minimized by letting employees work from home or by establishing shift planning with social distancing and minimal contact between individual teams. On the other hand, however – and this can pose a major challenge – companies have to ensure their own competitiveness. Despite the (reasonable) impulse to hurry these developments along, companies have to keep in mind that fundamental process changes have to be incrementally and carefully implemented in order to avoid additional chaos and confusion. With mobile workforce management and intuitive self-services, remote working processes can efficiently and securely be established, whether they are about time recording from home, sick leave notifications, or absence requests and approvals. This also creates transparency for time accounts and vacation balances.
What technological assets should a workforce management software have?
Wieser: Let’s face it: On-premises systems are not able to support many new technologies such as AI or big data analytics. That’s why the future of digital workforce management lies in the cloud. However, since HR data is highly sensitive, software, managed services, and hosting should come from a single source. This guarantees security, data protection, scalability, and high availability. And, if IT managers want to make their colleagues in HR extra happy, the new software should be absolutely intuitive to use and easily integrated in existing system landscapes – as is the case with Atoss Workforce Management and SAP SuccessFactors, for example. The result is an end-to-end HR platform that meets (and sometimes even exceeds!) all requirements.
Do legal requirements have to be taken into account when digitalizing time management and personnel resource planning?
Wieser: On the one hand, data protection laws apply; on the other hand, labor law and industry-specific tariffs and individual regulations also have a role to play. Furthermore, in times of COVID-19, hygiene regulations and social distancing guidelines naturally have priority as well. The right software can easily take all of these requirements into account, whether it’s decoupled schedules, working hours and rest periods, maximum working hours, or the new German regulation regarding the threshold for nursing staff. Digital processing, storing and archiving of personal data – in the case of workforce management, this means master and transaction data of employees – meet the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
It seems as if workforce management is gaining importance right now.
Wieser: That’s because it is! The experiences that employees and employers are making now will lead to greater acceptance and more widespread implementation of mobile workplaces and flexible working hours in the future. However, this unfortunately presents companies with technical challenges. A post-COVID-19 workforce management software will have to offer self-services and mobile apps with a learning curve of almost zero. This can be achieved by using a natural-language user interface, for example. One thing is certain: Our society and the way we live and work together will change, and our solutions must reflect this change if they are to support companies in remaining competitive in the ‘new normal’.