The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a dramatic change to the world of work. According to a recent survey from The Workforce Institute at UKG, just 42% of UK organisations were ready to manage through the start of the pandemic – and as we know, businesses were forced to adapt, at scale and with exceptional speed, as demand and operating constraints changed.
While recruitment largely halted in the early days of the pandemic, there are now some promising signs, with the British Chamber of Commerce recently announcing that the number of firms attempting to recruit in the third quarter had increased on the previous one. This illustrates the fact that employers are recognising that employees are crucial in ensuring they are able to adapt at the speed in which the pandemic has forced them to do over the past 10 months. As a result, businesses are therefore quickly realising the critical role that workforce management technology has to play.
The pandemic has shed light on the benefits of workplace technology when managing a crisis and therefore organisations are showing a greater awareness to the value of technology that enables them to manage compliance complexities, control costs, boost productivity, and increase employee engagement.
Following our merger earlier this year, we have rebranded to become a culmination of three powerhouse brands – Kronos Incorporated, Ultimate Software and PeopleDoc – as UKG, propelled by our new tagline “Our Purpose Is People.” A core value that all three brands have always held in high regard, shining through under our new brand identity.
Our CEO Aron Ain has often said that great businesses are powered by great people, so in everything we do, every decision we make, we put people at the centre of it. We walk the talk and continuously solicit feedback from employees, customers, and prospects to assist in decisions about the brand. People are at the heart of UKG and we truly believe that people should be at the heart of every organisation’s strategies.
We believe in products and services that drive industry-leading productivity, visibility, and workplace compliance while empowering all employees—salaried, hourly, frontline, office-based, full-time, part-time, and gig. This values-driven approach has certainly been gaining traction over the past few years, and we’re now seeing this accelerated as a result of the pandemic. With people being the key driver to move organisations forward, it’s critical to have the right tools to engage and empower employees.
Technology as an employee engagement differentiator
The new future of work demands modern HR and workforce management practices to addresses the challenges of today’s workforce. By connecting employees to their work and colleagues via workforce management technology helps to develop strong leaders and teams, provide insights that promote better business outcomes, and develop people-centred HR programmes and effective operations.
There are four key pillars to this new future of work, with workforce management technology having a role to play in each of these:
Protect your business, employees and customers for enhanced agility, resilience and safety
The COVID-19 pandemic has really hit home the need for organisations to protect their business, employees, their families, and their customers. In order to successfully manage such threats and risks, organisations must improve their agility and resilience, so as to take advantage of new opportunities and meet future challenges. It will also be essential for businesses to manage safety and hygiene issues more carefully than ever before. As demonstrated by the same survey from The Workforce Institute at UKG, 45% of UK workers worldwide say overall cleanliness is a top concern going forward.
Agility, resilience, and safety must be built into organisations from the ground up, with workforces, operating models, systems and processes all playing critical roles. Digital workforce transformation will be essential here – manual processes, disparate solutions, and lack of flexibility in the workforce will impair adaptation to changing circumstances.
Plan and execute to control costs, improve productivity, and optimise revenues
The key to effective planning and execution to control costs, improve productivity, and optimise revenues is the use of technology to automate workforce related processes, with real time data delivering the visibility and control required to ensure effective and efficient resource utilisation. Organisations relying on manual or semi-automated processes will find them increasingly challenging, time consuming, and error prone. Data gathering via phone calls and management by spreadsheet and email will impair businesses’ ability to make good decisions fast, to optimise their labour usage and costs, and to react promptly to changes in customer demand or other circumstances.
The latest generation of cloud-based and mobile-enabled HCM and workforce management solutions deliver the data, control, and visibility needed.
Comply with evolving safety and employment legislation to build employee and customer confidence
This year saw the introduction of new workplace regulations directly related to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these are likely to persist for some time, continuing in force alongside other newly introduced regulations.
Organisations will therefore need to identify and explore the processes and technologies required to ensure the safety of all staff, customers, and other stakeholders. Such considerations will need to consider employees working from home and other locations, as well as on-site staff. What hours are they working? How are they feeling? Are they taking appropriate breaks?
Communicate to improve the employee experience
Building engagement through trust and transparency to improve the employee experience has never been more important. This will be key to attracting and retaining the best workers, and vital to any organisation wanting to build and maintain a brand representing a strong social and work ethos. Workforce management technologies assist in this engagement in a variety of ways.
The new future of work
The challenges of 2020 have accelerated the digitalisation and the adoption of new technologies and processes, to enhance agility and nimbleness, that were already under way. Organisations that embrace the ‘new future of work’, investing in technology, updating processes and adopting a holistic, human-centric approach to workforce management, will enjoy increased resilience in future crises, and the ability to pivot swiftly to capitalise on emerging opportunities before competitors do.
Most importantly, none of this is possible without the right people in the right positions, meaning the role of recruitment is more important than ever. All organisations start with people, and the role of technology will help to empower those people.