Today’s mobile companies field teams of external salespeople, in-house staff in multiple online channels and mobile service teams. The costs of brick-and-mortar infrastructure persuade many people to work out of their homes or reduce office space to cut costs and deliver competitively priced products and services. Products are sold online across the globe without maintaining warehouses and store operations.
Employees work differently as well. Many people now work flexible schedules remotely. Even service teams are assigned on a case-by-case basis, and they check-in and check-out when they receive and complete a job order. In these complicated work management scenarios, it’s increasingly difficult to manage a workforce effectively using manual processes.
That’s why mobile workforce software is becoming increasingly essential for modern business. Software, proprietary apps, and management tools can handle the business of managing people more efficiently and cheaply than traditional HR departments and team managers. These HR staff members are important parts of company operations, but their workload can be decreased with digital technology. You’ll need less staff to manage your mobile operations, and your costs will drop dramatically.
According to a Reuters report, the market for WFM software has never been better. Software and tools used to manage a mobile workforce is expected to generate $9.01 billion yearly by the end of 2022. The most popular WFM products include modules in these areas:
- Workforce Scheduling
- Budgeting and Forecasting
- Workforce Analytics
- Absence and Holiday Management
- Performance Management
- Time and Attendance Management
The Benefits of Workforce Management Applications for Busy HR Departments
HR departments – even small ones – have increasingly complex duties in companies where employee loyalty is no longer guaranteed or even likely. Competitive hiring and poaching are common, and the workplace consists of flex-shift employees, remote workers, on-premises staff and mobile staff. Some of the top benefits of workforce management applications include reducing your operating costs and operating at increased efficiency. Specifically, these benefits include the following:
- Streamlined Administration
Workforce management tools available in software can streamline all work processes by managing your staff more efficiently than manual processes. You can track activities, workflows and available talent to provide superior customer service and more successful sales conversions. Shift scheduling is easy with intuitive software that can fill in the gaps that arise in day-to-day operations.
- Ability to Match the Right Employee to a Given Job
You get easy access from anywhere or any device to company lists of each employee. These lists can be searched by keywords, roles, positions, certifications, skills, and restrictions. You can find the right employee who is available for a given job, or you can adjust positions and work schedules to free up the right talent.
- Increased Employee Satisfaction
Management software enables employees to manage more tasks themselves – such as viewing and editing their personal work schedules. Employees can request time off and clock in and out using their personal phones.
- Better Compliance
Organizations struggle with compliance issues for national, state, local and industry regulations and best practices. International marketing companies might need to comply with multiple sets of regulations in different countries, and compliance regulations are regularly changed and updated.
Keeping up with every issue across multiple marketing areas is incredibly difficult without automated software. Multiple studies have cited compliance failure rates in 78 percent of organizations. Managing compliance more efficiently is a big benefit for all businesses.
The Wall Street Journal cited Deloitte’s report on compliance trends shows that many companies aren’t keeping up with enterprise compliance risks. 15 percent of respondents never completed an enterprise-wide assessment. 52 percent perform an assessment annually, and 11 percent perform one semiannually. WFM software and tools can monitor compliance continuously.
- Better Customer Experiences
With workforce software, you can manage your employees more efficiently, monitor their customer service calls and identify staff strengths and weaknesses. This information is valuable for training, cross-training, promoting and evaluating employees. Better staff performances create better customer experiences across the board.
- Improved Analytics Capabilities
Seeing real-time data helps analysts compare performance against budget expenditures. Sophisticated workforce management tools – such as automated applications, self-service capabilities, detailed profiling of customer and employee behavior and the ability to generate custom reports – give any company a competitive edge.
- Cloud-based Efficiency
Cloud-based HR solutions are critical when you have to manage work performance across multiple sales channels and multiple offices and marketing jurisdictions including foreign countries. That’s why cloud-based software is critical. Your employees can access their accounts from anywhere, get access to critical business data, connect with customers in multiple time zones and use analytical insights no matter where they’re operating.
- Better Time Tracking
The major reason why workforce software was developed was to keep track of employee work time in an increasingly mobile environment. Mass mobilization today depends on employees working offsite, but keeping track of time becomes difficult. Workforce software provides clear evidence of how many hours each employee works on and off the premises. The employer gets accurate information at payroll time, and employees can challenge mistakes with solid evidence of the hours and times that they worked.
- Greater Leave Management Efficiency
Workplace software can manage complex tasks such as covering parental leave, vacations and personal time off work. This ability not only simplifies ongoing operations when a key person goes on leave but also generates employee satisfaction when people can request time off without creating a big issue or spending hours in HR.
- Self-service Access to HR Options
Self-service is important to employees. Instead of playing phone tag or waiting a long time for an interview with HR staff, employees can access their own records and request time off and change their contact information. This ability increases job satisfaction, makes it easier to manage HR records and reduces labor costs.
The following YouTube video demonstrates some of the benefits of working with mobile management software. You’ll enjoy a thorough overview of what’s possible when using workforce software such as improving delivery service, tracking maintenance schedules and optimizing office efficiency. Today’s mobile workplace is always on the go, and workforce tools, applications and software can keep things on track.
Best Software for Managing Your Workforce Across Sales Channels and Around the World
Using a full version of workforce software can help your business automate complex workflows, manage employees more efficiently and create a better work environment for in-house, mobile and flex-time employees. These are some of the top workforce software applications:
ShiftPixy software is an on-demand app with powerful scheduling and recruiting platform opening real-time access to thousands of mobilized, contingent shift workers. This software works on Android and iOS devices. The mobile app features include shift management and scheduling, built-in communication feature for business operators and shifters, and easy integration to attendance systems.
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#2 Synchroteam Delivers Cloud-based Efficiency
Synchroteam software offers great features for managing mobile workforces. This cloud-based software works on Android and iOS devices, and you can simply drag-and-drop jobs onto each employee’s schedule. Management features include inventory management, job management, Map and GPS tracking and custom forms.
#3 Kickserv Software Is Ideal for Managing Field Service Teams
Kickserv software is ideal for the field management of sales and service teams where technicians make repairs, install equipment and perform scheduled and emergency maintenance. You can manage everything on the Kickserv resource calendar that gives you an accurate and up-to-date view of work in progress, estimated completion times and team members who are assigned to the job. A mobile app keeps everyone connected at all times, and this full-service CRM platform enables team members to manage estimates, dispatch service teams, invoice customers and assign work tasks.
#4 Calamari Software Provides a Delicious Appetizer for New Technology Users
Calamari software is an excellent first choice for SMBs because the software is highly intuitive and user-friendly. You can track your mobile workforce directly without requiring them to check in at the office. Features include leave management, taking attendance and clocking in and out on the premises or on the go.
#5 Reviewsnap Delivers Powerful Business Benefits
Reviewsnap software offers one of the most powerful web-based workforce management solutions. The interface is simple for a program that’s devastatingly efficient. Top features of the software include automated email reminders, notifications, archiving and e-signature capturing. You can customize templates for employee performance reviews and set review cycle times. You can get real-time reports using a customized dashboard to identify employee strengths and weaknesses. Integration with BI resources enables automated 360-degree feedback from customers, previous employers, colleagues, subordinates and supervisors.
#6 Synerion Manages Employees Across Jobs, Titles, and Teams
Synerion software supports multiple stages in the employee life-cycle such as cross-training, sales work, field service, and management. The software not only provides time, attendance and absence management but also handles talent management to make optimal use of your human resources. Features include scheduling, labor costing, self-service HR options, analytics, payroll integration, and smartphone and app integration
#7 Homebase Is Free for Your Use of Basic Mobile Services
Homebase receives high ratings from most review sites, and it often sits at the top of various software ranking lists. User-friendly features of the software include employee scheduling with automated alerts when employees miss clock-in times. As a business owner investigating the benefits of WFM software, you can use Homebase free to schedule employees, fill out timesheets, use the time clock function and report labor costs for government reports, insurance audits, etc.
Homebase also includes compliance tools for local employment laws, alerts and reminders, team messaging and a feature that posts job openings automatically.
#8 Zoho People Software Includes a Dedicated Mobile App for Each Team Member
Zoho People CRM software enjoys a high user satisfaction ratings of 99 percent. Features include an inclusive mobile app, leave management, attendance management, performance management, employee self-service, HR analytics, and e-signature applications. You can test the software free for 15 days, and after the trial is completed, you can elect to use a free version forever or choose a more advanced plan.
#9 Aspect Workforce Management Delivers Special Features with Confidential Pricing
Aspect WFM software enables employee scheduling and self-service scheduling for service teams. Features include shift templates that ensure priority work is completed, performance management, forecasting labor needs, compliance monitoring, strategic planning and workforce analytics.
#10 Paycor Perform Manages Payroll and HR Processes
Paycor Perform software is an ideal solution for managing payroll and human resources. It simplifies every HR process from onboarding to timekeeping. The software can handle unlimited workflows, job applicant tracking and complex payroll calculations with garnishments and deductions for HR benefits, IRAs, insurance, etc.
#11 ServiceTitan Software Specializes in Household Service Businesses
This specialty software is designed specifically for HVAC, plumbing and electrical service companies. The cloud-based platform makes it easy for SMB business owners to schedule and dispatch field team members, invoice customers, track teams in the field and estimate completion times. Field technicians get access to payment gateways for taking credit cards from customers and information to create service contracts, land sales, and upgrades and create custom reports. The system works on Macs and Windows. The software comes with its own mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The software also integrates live chat, email, and phone service into mobile customer service applications.
What to look for when choosing a workforce software for your business?
There are important things to consider before buying software or leasing a SaaS application for your business. These issues include covering essential business processes, localizing the software, scheduling employees effectively and integrating your software with other business applications.
For example, integrated software can provide better data security, connect disparate legacy systems and automate many business tasks. Some of the most important things to look for in workforce software include:
- Scheduling Efficiency
Some of the features of robust workforce software include easy navigation, shortcuts for frequently used features, payroll automation and the ability to import data from mobile salespeople and customer service staff.
- Better Forecasting Abilities
Customizable dashboards are important so that you can integrate with business intelligence and software applications. Real-time reports and insights enable you to forecast throughout the day. One important feature is the ability to get real-time adherence, or RTA, capabilities to compare work schedules with real-world progress.
Software that integrates easily with custom templates and widgets can simplify the integration process. The software should integrate with self-service portals for employees and/or customers. An integrated system generates a unified record of all activities and sends the information automatically everywhere it’s needed.
Efficient workforce software should make it easy to localize data fields for dates, times, departments, names, addresses, bank accounts, etc. The software should be adjustable to comply with local regulations. The software should offer language support for companies that operate in foreign jurisdictions. Robust software applications can enable companies to synchronize any compliance changes across their databases.
Maybe the most important thing to assess when choosing software is whether the technology is user-friendly and incorporates responsive design into digital displays. That makes it easy for anyone to access and use the software on any device.
The Journal of Practical Business Ethics reports that compliance and ethical practices aren’t the same. Compliance refers to following the minimal standards of the law while ethical culture embodies how things really work at a given company.
The ethical culture in business must extend to Gen X, Gen Y, and millennials who now embrace mobile work, work at home, use of technology and flexible schedules. Managing these complicated situations is almost impossible to do manually. That’s why you need WFM software and worker and customer applications. These tools can help you build your company culture and bring flexible workers into the company’s work culture.
The questions to ask software companies so you don’t make a poor software choice
There are practical questions to ask potential software providers because certain issues often come up when using any software brand.
- Does your software forecast seasonal labor needs for busy periods and slow seasons?
- How can I automate workarounds that are normally handled manually?
- Does the software track employees with flexible hours?
- Do I need a cloud-based system, or can I handle the issues based on my IT staff’s level of skill?
- Can I expect this software to be around for updates and customer service?
Extraordinary Value of Mobile Apps for Small Businesses in Managing their Workforce on a Budget
Small businesses might not need complex workforce software in today’s product-rich environment. Proprietary employee and customer apps can handle many of the scheduling, management and payroll processes. There are also other tools for workforce management, and your software might have secondary versions for more complex management needs.
The most important thing to do to manage your mobile workforce is to recognize and accommodate people with special work needs. A David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom article in Forbes explored the rapid changes in today’s workplace. 70 percent of employees are disengaged from their jobs and unhappy with their employers.
79 percent of people who change jobs mention that they are unappreciated at work. That statistic is substantiated by the fact that 89 percent of bosses feel that people leave the workplace for more money. The truth is that only 12 percent of people leave their jobs for more money. Respect, recognition, and support for flexible working conditions are far more important to your employees.
Apps that Can Replace Mobile Workforce Software
Mobile apps can provide integrated access to company information, and mobile workers can use a mobile app to clock in and out, collaborate with others and schedule work. Automated push notifications help to keep employees updated about company information.
According to Pivotdesk.com, apps can handle forecasting, scheduling, HR onboarding processes, expense management, and budgeting. It’s extremely important for companies to recognize the changing face of the job market, which includes freelancing, designing, consulting, working flexible shifts and working from home.
Hrtechnologist.com reports that the gig economy, which includes freelancing, consulting and web designing, now employs 16.5 million Americans. Projections show that if the gig economy continues at its current rate of growth, the gig economy will be the biggest in the workforce by 2027.
Some versions of workforce software come with their own mobile apps, but the right mobile app can often replace management software in small companies such as landscapers, subcontractors, messenger services and others. Apps can replace or supplement traditional workforce management and CRM software. Some of the top workforce management apps include:
When I Work
This app helps to schedule employees, and they can clock in on their mobile devices. The app works for small companies like restaurants with a delivery service, retail stores, and small service businesses. It’s an ideal solution for companies that employ remote workers to provide services such as accounting, writing, consulting, coding, web design, etc.
This app shows who is scheduled to work. Employees can use the app to schedule vacations and change their contact information using self-service. You can generate custom reports to get a better handle on managing employees.
This app makes it easy to reduce paper because your mobile staff can scan receipts for expenses, track mileage automatically and manage per diems. Employees get reimbursed without spending hours of company time filling out expense reports.
HR Tech Magazine named BeeBole one of the “Top 10 Workforce Management Solutions” in 2019. BeeBole offers flexible-time tracking for all kinds of businesses on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or real-time basis. The app integrates with Google Suite and Office 365. It’s ideal for small or home-based businesses that need to track the hours of mobile workers.
This app is a must for security-conscious companies. The Meldium app features a password management system that allows mobile staff to share apps and software without sharing passwords and creating security risks. Staff members don’t have to remember or write down passwords to get access.
This HR software is cloud-based so that workers can access it anywhere. It manages complex HR issues such as logging time-off requests, approving employee requests and providing access to HR records.
Additional On-Demand Workforce Management Apps Designed for Real-world Work Issues
Many companies have special people-management needs, and you can get secondary features with most software. Depending on the vendor you choose, specialty software features are available such as fatigue management and labor analytics.
Fatigue Management Software Can Protect You from Running Afoul of OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, sets limits and guidelines on physical work to protect workers from the dangers of fatigue. For example, there are limits to how long truck drivers can drive. Manual trash collection jobs have OSHA limits on how heavy trash bags and containers can be.
Fatigue management software can minimize the risks of injury or accidents when manipulating heavy objects, performing repetitive tasks, driving long distances, etc. The software can monitor all jobs in the workplace to identify sources of fatigue and how to manage them efficiently. OSHA and other government agencies and industry organizations monitor employee fatigue. As a responsible employer, you should keep track of the dangers of fatigue in your industry.
The software can examine data such as hours worked, work completed and work scheduled to determine optimal scheduling, break times and essential staff changes to prevent fatigue. These are challenging issues in the workplace, and work-related injuries and disabilities caused by fatigue are actionable issues for lawsuits for damages.
Labor Analytics Uses Integration to Analyze Data from All Company Software and Business Applications
Critical data within the WFM ecosystem and other company operating systems are invaluable for fine-tuning business operations, increasing sales, reducing labor costs and increasing job satisfaction. One of the latest trends is usual analytical insights to offer your employees greater protection from disgruntled customers, workplace dangers and security threats.
Labor analytics software is valuable for transforming WFM insights into company policy. The software can determine how to reach your company’s financial objectives, fine-tune marketing strategy and maximize talent resources.
Bringing All Aspects of WFM Software Together to Create a Safe, Efficient and Customer-centric Workplace
Choosing your vendors for WFM software, tools and applications is an important decision. Fortunately, most companies offer free trials or free versions of WFM applications to test or use. However, inexperienced users of new technology often fail to identify all the trouble spots. That’s why it’s so important to do your due diligence.
It’s important to determine what level of customer support each vendor offers. If the vendor offers cut-rate software without significant post-purchase support and service, you should pass on the deal. Finding a collaborative vendor is a critical benefit because you will probably spend lots of labor hours installing your software and troubleshooting bugs. Periodically, there will be software upgrades and patches, and most software users eventually want to install secondary features or industry-specific modules. It helps if you have a partner relationship with your vendor.
Concluding Thoughts About Choosing the Best WFM Tools for Your Needs
WFM solutions are transforming the workplace by automating HR processes, improving job scheduling and assignments, fostering better customer experiences and streamlining management processes for greater efficiency and lower costs. Automation and machine learning enable increasingly advanced automation processes for labor-tracking activities, safety controls, and job-assignment tactics and strategy. Workforce management scheduling software and other workforce tools empower your executive staff, leaders and team managers to manage human capital, which is any company’s greatest resource.
WFM tools, software, and apps can transform your workplace into an efficient business juggernaut that manages people across sales channels, brick-and-mortar stores and field applications. Many of the WFM tools are free to use, or they come with free trials so that you get a chance to try them without committing. Before you commit, do your due diligence and assess your management needs to make the best choice. You don’t have to choose the most expensive or add too much technology all at once. Take a measured approach by testing an app, WFM software or management tool today. You’ll be amazed at the difference in efficiency, and your trial experience will educate you to make a better decision on buying or leasing a permanent – but adjustable – solution.
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