Strategic workforce management is not merely a strategic framework but rather an integral part of the daily operations of your business when it is working well. It helps you to see if your daily progress is moving you steadily towards or away from your goals.
Once you have gone through the process of strategy formulation, identified the resources and the skills required, then recruited the staff and placed them into the correct positions, completed the orientation process and on the job training, then could we say that we have done our job secure in knowledge that our productivity and quality issues should take care of themselves? Well, not quite.
Learning, productivity, and quality are on-going and iterative processes for all employees as knowledge and expertise are built up step-by-step. Every employee is unique and have their particular strengths and weaknesses, unique learning style and pace of learning. Whilst treating everyone the same is the most efficient way to cover all employees, this unfortunately promotes the culture of catering for the lowest common denominator and ignoring the potential stars. This is where using the right technology to support workforce management is advantageous, giving us the ability to treat every employee as an individual and in identifying their unique strengths so that it may be leveraged for the benefit of the business. It has the added benefit of making the employee feel more valued and successful. This also allows us to identify employees not suited to their position or that may not be performing to our expectation. Identifying these employees quickly and giving them personal attention allows you to take corrective action timeously when the employee can most benefit from it the most.
The ability to use performance feedback on a daily or weekly basis, is infinitely more effective with front-line staff than feedback given in quarterly or annual reviews. If an employee’s work is based on daily or weekly targets, then it stands to reason that for feedback to be effective, it must be given daily or weekly as per the time frame of the targets set. Giving feedback quarterly, bi-annually, or annually on daily or weekly targets could result in employees struggling to make the correlation between their past actions and the feedback received. There has simply been too much time elapsed between action and feedback.
Real-time performance feedback speeds up learning and serves to put corrective measures in place early enough to positively impact business performance. Real time performance feedback also enables the company to identify if the measures that they have in place are the correct measures, if the action plans derived from the business objectives are the correct objectives, and if the people that it has, are the right people. Each employee gets an understanding of what is expected from management daily or weekly, perform their tasks and get reviewed and given feedback by the supervisor a few times a week. Performance is monitored, evaluated, reviewed, and adjusted so as to ensure maximum impact and behavioural change.
A good technology platform is an enabler and using one effectively can provide the company with feedback that can tell us what issues lie within the business and if there is a pattern behind it or not. This effectively allows you to manage the business based on exceptions instead of fighting fires on multiple fronts.
Continuous improvement within operations becomes achievable at scale in your business with the right systems, data visualisation and intelligence tools like dashboards.