WorkForce Software: Rewriting the Rules for Time and Scheduling
If you’ve been following my work for more than five minutes, you know that I’m a serious payroll geek. I continually beat my payroll drum to remind the world that payroll is the one HR process every business must get—and get right. And, after all, employees don’t have jobs if they don’t get paid. In order to ensure an organization is paying its employees accurately, it must be able to track which employees are working when. Every organization needs both day-to-day tactical scheduling and long-range planning for workforce needs and labor budgets. And to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, they need some mechanism to build a schedule to assign the wide variety of business tasks to the appropriate workers, at the right time and place.
WorkForce Software is an organization that is laser-focused on providing easy-to-use and powerful tools to help organizations do just this—effectively manage time and scheduling, particularly in exceptionally complex environments. I have followed WorkForce for over a decade, and spent several days last week with their executive team and customers at their annual “Vision” customer conference held in Denver, Colorado. I have long been impressed with their fundamental differentiator—both then and now—of a dynamic rules engine. The core of their time and scheduling solutions, the rules engine allows each step of the scheduling and time-tracking processes to be configured according to each organization's business rules and compliance requirements.
At the helm of WorkForce since 2015, CEO Mike Morini has assembled a top-notch executive team. This year’s event felt like an inflection point for Morini and his organization. He has been steadfast in his commitment to evolving the organization into a relationship-led cloud software company. During the last four years they have transformed the sales organization to be a truly consultative partner. They have reduced implementation time by 50% via the introduction of their Accelerate program and by training and certifying over 1000 implementation partners. And for the first time they are leading with their product message and with an enhanced user experience (UX) and redesigned user interface (UI), both as elegant and modern as the capabilities of their solution. They have also improved client satisfaction through a dedicated customer success team tasked with ensuring that users not only get off to a good start, but also continue to take advantage of new capabilities as they are released. WorkForce partners closely with clients so they continue to see value in their investment for the life of that relationship.
The new UX that WorkForce unveiled includes WorkForce Hub and WorkForce Assistant, as well as a new look and new functionality within their dynamic scheduling solution. They also announced several other integration, automation and data-access capabilities. The new WorkForce Hub is aimed at employees, while WorkForce Assistant is aimed at managers. The idea behind each is to provide a mobile-first, personalized, multi-channel experience for individuals and managers that supplies them with the information they need, so they can get back to work. For employees, this means they no longer need to ask their boss about schedule changes or call HR to get their vacation balance. For managers, it not only helps them take care of their own job tasks, but it also helps them to seamlessly manage tasks like time card approvals and time-off requests, and to manage day-to-day activities by instantly locating where staff is working or who is at a specific location on a given shift. By arming managers with tools to get their work done more efficiently, and with the information to deliver a better experience to their employees, WorkForce is helping to ease some of the burden carried by today's managers.
WorkForce is also taking advantage of the built-in capabilities of mobile devices, and is enabling the use of those native chat and voice features to interact with their solutions. This allows someone like a district manager to send a text to the WorkForce Assistant who is working in the store they are visiting today, or to ascertain immediately which department a person they need to speak with is working in. They also feature proactive alerts to ensure compliance. For example, if you have minors working in your store or regulatory-mandated rest periods, a manager can be alerted to avert any issues before they occur. A manager might receive a text reminder that Jill is working in the front as a cashier today, and if she doesn’t clock out in the next 20 minutes, your organization will incur a compliance violation. The manager knows where to find Jill, and remind her that her shift is nearing its end.
In addition to “in the moment” information provided by the WorkForce Assistant to help managers deliver a better employee experience and improve compliance, the new dynamic scheduling solution greatly expands scheduling capabilities. It is one of the first solutions to truly integrate near-term scheduling with longer-term workforce and strategic planning. It also allows users to run “what if” scenarios and model schedules to help avoid reactionary changes that might incur unnecessary overtime or accidentally violate a collective-bargaining agreement. These forecasting capabilities also help to maximize profit by adding more staff during peak times.
Of course, if they like, companies can continue viewing payroll, time and scheduling as the sole domain of HR geeks like me. But they do so at their own peril. Like payroll, time and scheduling are critical areas of the employer/employee relationship that can dramatically impact performance and retention. By equipping managers with information and tools to respond to both business needs and employee requests, and by helping companies become more proactive in managing their labor budget and employee expectations—while also increasing productivity and customer satisfaction—WorkForce has seemingly turned a corner and is going after the complex time and scheduling market aggressively.