Driving better business outcomes through workforce management

For Australian companies to compete successfully on an international playing field they need to focus on productivity and unlocking the skills and knowledge that employees can bring to the organisation.

Leslie Tarnacki, VP and GM of WFS Australia said: “Australia has a growing, highly competitive and complex workforce management market. With 91 per cent of Australian businesses reporting a lack of skills in the workplace, effective skills allocation is critical. At the same time 64 per cent of employees have skills that are not being utilised.[1] This suggests that many Australian businesses are failing to maximise the value their people can provide.”

WFS Australia suggests these four ways workforce management can help organisations maximise profitability and increase productivity:

1. Use accurate, real-time data to remain agile and cost effective

Access to real-time data lets organisations see what skills are available in the organisation versus what resources are required at any given time. This means organisations can allocate, manage and forecast resource requirements more accurately, delivering a competitive advantage thanks to the ability to react quickly when changes are needed.

Real-time data also helps organisations ensure the right people are working at the right cost, which drives the bottom line. Organisations can do this by understanding both historical and real-time demand for resources. Both under- and over-resourcing shifts can cost money: finding the correct balance is key.

2. Match individual skills and personalities with tasks

Certain staff members are better at certain tasks, either by nature or by experience. Using this information to ensure the right mix of people work on the most appropriate projects or shifts can help improve company performance. For example, research conducted by Lancaster University Management School[2] in the UK found that, at McDonalds, customer satisfaction was on average 20 per cent higher for shifts that include at least one staff member aged 60 or older. The research found this was because older workers are more likely to empathise and connect well with customers.

Matching employees’ personal preferences and skills to tasks also helps them feel useful and appreciated, leading to higher job satisfaction.

3. Manage fatigue

Fatigue is a well-known cause of underperformance so managing it carefully can result in significantly improved employee performance and engagement. It also directly affects workplace health and safety levels, since fatigued employees are more likely to make mistakes or cause accidents.

4. Treat employees well

Maximising and harnessing the value of employees is vital to improve profits. By seeing employees as people rather than as resources, organisations can improve employee satisfaction, which can in turn improve customer service.

Happy staff are also less likely to skip work, reducing the cost of absenteeism. Research by Direct Health Solutions in 2013 showed that over 88 million days are lost to the economy because of absenteeism. This amounted to $27.5 billion per year in sick leave costs and lost productivity – an average of $2741 per employee per year.[3]

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  1. ^ Chandler Macleod report Skills utilisation: how effectively are Australian businesses utilising the skills at their disposal?
  2. ^ Research Shows McDonald’s Customers Prefer Older Workers
    http://news.lancs.ac.uk/Web/News/Pages/BE8CC3DC5B5D9A3880257619003619DE.aspx
  3. ^ 2013 Absence Management & Wellbeing by Direct Health Solutions