Art, science and psychology

Issue 3 2021 Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management

Workforce management (WFM) is an art and a science, with a bit of psychology thrown in as well. It incorporates human resources, technology, budgets, logic as well as creativity and strategic planning, lots of strategic planning.

While there are many WFM products and solutions on the market, ranging from basic time and attendance (T&A) tools to full enterprise-level systems, Dereck Sigamoney, MD of LabourGenie.Net believes the real value in WFM lies in understanding what each business’s real purpose is, where and how it needs to deploy human resources to achieve that purpose and also understanding the people involved in order to get the best out of them. Once you know what you need, where you’re going and how you will get there, then you can choose the right tools to assist in making it happen.

Sigamoney has a long history in the WFM market in South Africa. About two years ago, he and three colleagues decided it was time to strike out on their own and LabourGenie.Net was born.

Today the company’s core team comprises Sigamoney as MD and head of sales, Brad Fraser as chair, Ruben Naidoo as operations director, Ndumiso Radebe as senior solutions engineer, René Schoeman who is a human capital specialist, as well as solutions engineers Anesh Ramdass and Kendall Harvard and biometric solutions consultant, Mandi Earl.

Given Sigamoney’s long history with Kronos, one of the leading WFM solutions in the world, the company approached the current owners of Kronos (UKG, or Ultimate Kronos Group which was formed by merging Kronos and Ultimate Software) and sealed a Services Partner as well as a Reseller agreement for the software.

In short order, the company also clinched a partnership with Concentra, a provider of SaaS organisational engineering and design solutions, as well as Synerion Workforce Management Solutions. As WFM and access technologies are closely linked, the company also partnered with local companies like Saflec and the South African office of Fulcrum Biometrics.

Sigamoney says the product stack the company has access to allows it to offer dynamic solutions that are tailored to each customer’s requirements. LabourGenie.Net complements these products by ensuring its technical staff are trained and certified in all the products.

The workforce of the future

To achieve a WFM solution that delivers value to the customer, the key for Sigamoney is to understand what value the client requires from it. Most company leaders understand the requirement for some system to manage their workforce, but fail to understand the impact a well-structured approach will deliver.

“WFM solutions manage the second-largest cost to a company, the labour force,” he explains. “If you don’t manage these costs and ensure each individual delivers what is required of them, you are not managing your workforce very well.”

As we all know, the workforce of today has been through significant changes due to the pandemic and it’s no longer a matter of seeing people at their desks and hoping they are spending the right amount of time doing the right things. This ‘workplace reset’ is not going away and won’t revert to what we traditionally believed was a normal working environment.

Just as the future of work is changing, people, processes and expectations also need to change. This is where the future of WFM holds the key. Sigamoney talks of ‘productivity efficiencies’ as a key to WFM solutions, not T&A; or counting how much time someone spent on Facebook.

When planned correctly, WFM will not simply help organisations manage people, but will ensure the right resources are available and they are in the right place at the right time to fulfil the company’s requirements. The result will be a streamlined workforce that management can be sure is worth the costs, saving on hiring too many people and/or the wrong people, thereby saving money. More importantly, the cost savings will be boosted by the business benefits the right workforce delivers.

Overall effectiveness

A manufacturer measures the performance of the machines it requires to produce products and will not hesitate to upgrade, service and maintain that equipment to make sure it meets demand. Similarly, companies should be making sure their labour force is geared to deliver to requirements by measuring outputs (and this applies to any vertical market). If one doesn’t measure outputs, how can you determine how productive people are?

Moreover, how can employees be appraised effectively, especially when not in the office all the time, if there is no real data on their effectiveness and productivity?

It is natural for employees to be nervous whenever their employer starts to talk about productivity and workforce management, even to the point of opposing it. Sigamoney notes that a key aspect of a WFM project is to plan and implement a change management strategy highlighting the need for changes and the processes that will be followed. If management explains that the changes will ensure the longevity of the company and in so doing the longevity of their jobs, it will make a difference in employees’ attitude towards the project.

Sigamoney concludes that workforce management is therefore not about products, measuring time or any of the bits and pieces that are often part of a larger solution, it is about designing and implementing a strategy that fulfils the requirements of the business, supports it in achieving its goals and ensures the workforce is geared to deliver the outputs required. The result is engaged and productive workers and businesses that function optimally.

For more information contact LabourGenie.Net, +27 10 226 9454, www.labourgenie.net


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