So, you’ve decided to upgrade to automated workforce management. Congratulations! You’ve made an excellent choice, and there’s a good chance your employees and supervisors will come to agree. According to a survey published in 2010 by Axsium, after implementing an integrated workforce management solution, over 80% of managers and employees were “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with the results.

It doesn’t matter so much whether you’re installing software or setting up access to a cloud-based solution. Either way, selecting and migrating to a new workforce management system is a big step for you and for your employees. But with just a little planning you can greatly increase the chances that you and your workers will be among the 80% who are happy with the results you get.

Get It In Writing

My first tip is to write everything down. You may think you can remember all the things that need to be done, but you’ll find that things run much more smoothly and there’s less chance of a step being omitted if it’s committed to paper.

This doesn’t have to be a big formal project plan. Even just a list of steps sketched out in a computer document or on a piece of paper could be sufficient.

Teamwork is Key

As you’re mapping out your steps, your first task on the project plan should be to assemble the right team. If possible, you’ll want to get input from various stakeholders before you make the final decision on which solution you’ll choose. Meet with representatives from all the areas that will be affected by the new system: employees, supervisors and managers, payroll department, IT/IS, and so forth. Listen to their input, not just about the system as a whole, but about the specific features they want most! They know better than anyone else what they need to do their jobs more efficiently.

As a bonus, once you’ve recruited a team and obtained their buy-in for automated workforce management, these folks can also serve as “evangelists” for the new system, helping get their co-workers on board and excited about the transition before the new system is even installed.

Documentation Now Can Save Time Later

Next, document and review your current time tracking and payroll policies and procedures.

Don’t skip the “review” part. It may not be a good idea simply to duplicate your current practices. To get the maximum benefit from your new automated system, you should review your processes first. Simply doing a lot of unnecessary things faster isn’t really going to help your business improve. Some steps may only be in place because of limitations in your current “system.”

Think instead about how you would like your processes to work. The input you gathered from the implementation team can be invaluable here.

Once you’ve jotted down what you do now and how you’d like things to work, share this information with your vendor representative. The more they know about your current situation and where you’re headed, the better job they can do of helping you pick the right system and features for your organization’s future.

Your procedural notes will also prove invaluable when it comes time to configure the new system. Those notes will help make sure you don’t forget anything, and enable you to quickly and easily configure the system exactly the way you want to accommodate your business rules.

Pick and Choose

Then, select an appropriate system. For instance, biometrics are a “big thing“ these days, but different types of biometrics are suitable for different environments — and some environments may be too harsh for any type of electronics. Be honest about your needs versus your wants, your working environment and the level of technical expertise of your staff.

Listen to your sales representative and the reasons they give for recommending one type of system over another. Speaking as a vendor, I can say it’s in our best interest to steer you towards the right system for your environment and business requirements.

There’s no point in your spending a fortune on a system that offers all the bells and whistles if you’re not going to use 90% of what the program offers. You’ll just end up feeling you wasted your money, which won’t make you look kindly on us. On the other hand, an inexpensive system is no bargain if the system doesn’t meet your essential needs. If we’re the ones who recommended that system to you, you’re not going to be happy with us, either.

Be honest with us about what you absolutely need versus what you want, about your work environment, the comfort level with technology of you and your workers, your budget and the other resources you have available. Most vendors really do want to help you select the best system for you, because they know that’s also the best solution for them.

To Be Continued…

The process doesn’t end with the selection of your system. Next month, we’ll cover the steps to help ensure the continued success of your workforce management initiative after you make your choice of solution.

In the meantime, while you’re pondering updating your workforce management to save time and money and improve employee morale and productivity, I invite you to visit our site to review the our selection of installed and cloud-based options. We’re virtually certain to have a solution that’s right for you.

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