9 Steps to Successful Workforce Management

  1. Analyse Staff Absence
    This is more than just recording when someone goes sick, though it includes that as well. A pattern of sickness is probably a more important indicator of some systematic problem than a total number of sick days. Policies that offer staff an annual sick day allowance per year in the belief it reduces the incidence of sick leave days taken is misplaced.
  2.  Coordinate Vacation Time with Team Objectives
    If a group of key staff are away on vacation at the same time it can ‘paralyse’ productivity of those left behind, even though the number of key staff on leave is within some policy % of the overall workplace. Leave should be coordinated not just recorded.
  3. Plan and Schedule Overtime
    Properly controlled it can be an excellent means to compensate staff shortfalls or meet extra demand without recruiting additional staff. However it is probably the least understood of workplace management; and is the most expensive when it spirals out of control. Accept overtime as a strategy to solve problems, not treated as an ‘enemy’ to be avoided at all costs! Overtime should be planned and scheduled, not simply ‘thrown’ into the mix.
  4. Control Time-off
    Is the ‘mirror’ image of overtime and occurs when staff have time off in lieu of payment. This does not mean it is free and can quickly undermine daily routine especially when short notice ‘absences’ occur without warning and impacting planned work schedules which can mean ‘lost opportunity costs’.
  5. Match Your Staff Supply to Work Demand
    Also known as  Staff Supply Demand Match (SSDM) analysis. For experienced managers this may be carried out informally i.e. we need more staff when we have busy times. More in depth research can involve field observation, field interviews and statistical analysis of comprehensive data sets. Caution is required when analysing too many factors with unknown relationships. For many businesses staff deployment is a result of historical ‘accident’, “we’ve always done it this way” approach, and ‘knee-jerk reaction to whatever arises in the day. It will not be the first time a structured analysis of work trends can point to savings of around 70% in eliminating under and over staffing.
  6. Coordinate Teamwork with Business Goals is about maximising the team effort to achieve business goals quicker. Getting there eventually is no longer sustainable.
  7. Publish Compliant Staff Working Hours
    Working hour’s compliance is the fastest growing area of industrial litigation due to the ‘no win no fee’ culture; and because it is one of the easiest to prove evidentially. Where records are not maintained ‘judgement’ will favour the employee.
  8. Publish Staff Schedules at Least 12 Months
    Failing to plan is planning to fail” the saying goes – and it’s true. Short notice changes and recourse to contract staff to compensate shortfalls is one of the most expensive responses a business can make. The further ahead the scheduling horizon the more resilient the business, the fewer surprises and the less expensive it gets.
  9. Get Feedback About Staff Costs before making a decision
    Snap decisions about staff changes without knowing the impact of costs invariably means ‘jumping out of the pan into the fire’. This is often the case when dealing with complex shift patterns where the ‘knock on’ effects can ‘resonate’ for weeks downstream as staff get catch up extra hours and shift swaps that disrupt working teams.

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