A Guide to Workforce Management Solutions

Workforce Management Software (often shortened to WFM) addresses a specific need within an organisation regarding the operational planning, deployment and management of staff. WFM is generally sandwiched between HR and Payroll solutions with integration to each other. However, whilst HR and Payroll are generally admin solutions, WFM focuses more on the operational needs of the organisation.

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WFM often incorporates several core modules

Time and Attendance:

This provides the ability to record the attendance of staff often in real-time through data collection devices (Card or Biometric) and calculates the time a colleague has been at work, any absences, lateness and overtime.

This information is then passed (via integration) to the payroll system avoiding the need to manually enter and calculate hours to pay. This automates much of the manual activity, removes payroll errors and ensures equal and fair treatment of staff.

From an operational perspective it ensures managers are alerted if staff do not turn up for work enabling them to find immediate cover. From a management perspective it provides managers with data on lateness and absence so that they can take appropriate and timely action.

Naturally, every organisation is different and operate different polices. An advanced Time and Attendance module can cope with different environments and policies. For instance, in an office environment, they may operate a Flexitime policy and want to track hours worked, TOIL and ensure the Flexitime rules are adhered to.

An organisation with seasonal peaks and troughs may implement Annualised Hours for staff and require the Time and Attendance to manage this specific policy. Not all Time and Attendance solutions provide this flexibility.

Rostering:

The ability to plan your staff resources effectively can often be challenging for managers particularly where there is a need for specific skills at particular times of the day/week.

Almost every workforce management solution provides rostering, but this can be limited to basic planning (Shifts). Advanced solutions such as HFX enable more detailed planning and provide the ability to plan where the staff are going to be deployed (location), their activity, Cost Centre, Department or Client and even cost the plan against a budget for that team/department/cost centre.

This enables managers to ensure the right people are at the right place with the right skills at the right time. From an operational perspective this ensures that the work is completed on time and to budget. From a financial perspective it enables the organisation to ensure that project/contract is profitable whilst reducing the cost of overtime.

Productivity:

For those organisations that are heavily task/contract focused, it is important to ensure that staff productivity is monitored to ensure the organisation is providing an efficient and profitable service.

Measuring productivity varies from organisation to organisation, but generally focuses on measuring the time and/or cost of completing an activity (e.g. “packing”) or outputs (e.g. “widgets made”). Advanced workforce management solutions provide technology that enable staff to “Book onto” a task/activity and/or the number of outputs generated within that time-frame.

This real-time information is used by Operation Managers to identify non-productive areas, investigate and implement plans to improve efficiency such as training, technology or process improvements. From a finance perspective, managers gain valuable insight into the costs of production, activities and overall in terms of fulfilling contracts.

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Additional Modules within Workforce Management

Often Time and Attendance solutions capture data via card or biometric devices. Many organisations see the benefit in using a single system to manage not just attendance but also access to the building and secure areas. The advantage of using one card (or storing one biometric template) is obvious and so some workforce management providers have an Access Control module to facilitate this.

Visitor Registration is also a logical extension to workforce management so that a single system can track all people within the organisation (full time, part time, contractors, visitors etc) for the purposes of security, health & safety and roll-call (in case of fire).

Some providers also have a Lone Worker module so that staff who are remote or visit customer sites can be tracked to ensure their safety and also enable remote attendance recording.

Those organisations with varying demands (over the period of a day or week) often want to optimise their shift patterns so that they align with business demand. This often yields significant savings by eliminating “dead time” (where staff are at work but have nothing to do) and overtime (where lack of planned resource to meet demand requires overtime or agency staff). Workforce Design solves this complex problem by ensuring that requirements are met whilst considering fatigue, risk, human factors and legal requirements.

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In conclusion, Workforce Management solutions enable organisations to become more efficient though effective planning, accurate recording, automation, decision support and analytics. However, few are able to meet the breadth and depth of functionality required to address all aspects of workforce management.

HFX provides a complete suite of next generation cloud workforce management solutions. 

For more information contact us

 

Avoid Cloud Confusion

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Avoid Cloud Confusion

The tech industry is famous for inventing jargon and terms that lack any clear definition which are then misused by marketing and ultimately mislead potential buyers into thinking they are getting something they are not.  The term “Cloud Solution” is a classic example.

Strictly speaking cloud solutions refer to any software (or service) that is provisioned via the Internet and does not require local infrastructure/install to consume it (typically access is via a web browser). However, this term is broad enough to hide a multitude of sins whilst not challenging any assumptions.

The public experience of cloud solutions is numerous including applications like google, amazon, banking and other consumer retail applications. These applications reflect a specific instance of “cloud solutions” and are based on modern internet design principles including;

  1. Internet By Design: These applications are built for the internet age with an architecture that can scale and more importantly scale over multiple servers that can be increased with demand ensuring users do not experience lag.
  2. Resilient Architecture: Because the application is designed to run on multiple servers there is inbuilt redundancy which reduces unexpected downtime.
  3. Future Proofed: These applications are automatically updated/upgraded with fixes and features without users having to request or pay for the update. This ensures that users are always working on the most bug free and updated version and ensures they never fall into legacy.

This all seems straightforward and many would be forgiven for thinking that all cloud applications follow these design patterns. However, many cloud-based solutions do not, and we therefore need to differentiate between “True Cloud” and those that just run the application in the “Cloud”. The main two “Cloud” variants which are often mistaken for “True Cloud” are;

  1. Hosted Applications: This is where a traditional legacy Fat Client application is hosted in a data centre and users’ access the application via Terminal Services or Citrix. Whilst it is true to say that nothing needs to be installed locally (other than Terminal Services/Citrix) the reality is you are simply accessing an old product through a new way. The application isn’t multi-tenanted, it doesn’t scale, and each instance needs to be individually upgraded/updated. Its an old product on a new server with Citrix.
  2. Web User Interface: Another tactic often deployed by business is to rewrite the user interface so that users can access the functionality through a web browser. Whilst it provides a modern feel and avoids the need for costly Citrix/Terminal Services, the reality behind the scenes is much the same as with a standard hosted application though this is hidden from the user until things go wrong. In the industry this is referred to as “lipstick on a pig

Why Not True Cloud?

Given the disadvantages to both the vendor and the customer of using a “cloud enabled legacy solution” it does beg the question why businesses would not invest in developing Cloud Designed Solutions. The answer is that many businesses have invested significantly in Fat Client/Server solutions for many years (Some from as early as 1995) and do not want to incur the cost required to start from scratch.

The more functionality they add into their old product the more reluctant (and expensive) they are to invest in a new product. It is akin to refusing to buy a new car because you have spent so much money repairing the old one.

HFX is True Cloud

Within Workforce Management, HFX is one of the few exceptions. In 2013, HFX secured significant investment to build a true cloud solution from the ground up. We recruited developers with 15+ years’ experience developing web solutions AND with a strong background in Workforce Management to ensure the solution was “True Cloud” AND ready for the New World of Work.

To find out what a True Cloud Workforce Management Solution looks like contact us

 

hfx announce MHR Integration

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HFX, a leading provider of SaaS flexitime and workforce management solutions, has successfully integrated its products with those of HR and Payroll experts MHR.  The integration has been developed using HFX’s Imperago RapiD methodology which provides a simple, fast and effective way to achieve deep bi-directional data transfer seamlessly via cloud APIs, eradicating the need for dual keying of data whilst keeping data secure and synchronised across platforms.

The integration means customers can benefit from a best of breed solution which combines HFX’s workforce management functions for managing staff working hours from shift pattern design, access control, and time & attendance with MHR’s market leading iTrent solution for HR, absence management and payroll, resulting in a more seamless user experience.

Nick Whiteley, Managing Director and Chief Solutions Officer at HFX explained: “One of our core values at HFX is to ‘simplify’. We follow this simplify principle vigorously within our cloud solution, resulting in 80% reduction in integration and implementation time. This means that our joint customers have a much shorter time to value when implementing our solutions.”

Anton Roe, Chief Executive Officer at MHR responded; “We’re delighted to join forces with HFX to deliver a fully integrated cloud solution which harnesses the power of our iTrent system.  Their easy to access API and straightforward approach to working with 3rd party products has ensured that the integration process has been fast and efficient, and ultimately our joint customers will benefit.”

Imperago RapiD

Based on three design principles, Imperago RapiD reduces integration times significantly with:

  • APIs designed for consumption by a competent IT professional or implementer, ensuring it is as simple as possible, but not simpler.
  • APIs that are intelligent when collecting data with automated, on-the-fly handling of associated or dependent data, reducing work for third parties and reducing manual entry and rejection of data.
  • APIs that are easy to configure, so that should requirements change, the API can ignore data no longer required, ensuring that the interface remains flexible.

For more information contact us

About MHR

MHR UK & Ireland is a specialist provider of HR and payroll software and services, helping organisations of all shapes and sizes to strengthen their core – their people. MHR combines the stability, expertise and proven methodologies of a long-established provider, with the innovative forward-thinking vision of an agile growing business, to provide a winning partnership to its customers and employees.

Across the fields of talent management, HR, payroll and business analytics, over a 1000 companies, from SMEs to large multi-national corporates, rely on us to help them drive performance. Customers include; Admiral, Cafcass, Sytner, Signet Group, Nandos, Laing O’Rourke, Wessex Water, University of Reading, Caterpillar UK, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Salvation Army, The British Transport Police and more.

mhr.co.uk

About HFX 

HFX cloud suite includes Imperago™ Time and Attendance, Access Control, Workforce Design, Annualised Hours and EveryOneCloud Attendance Monitoring/Location Management.

HFX Imperago solutions provide seamless integration with major HR and payroll systems. Highly customisable, HFX Imperago solutions can be configured to meet exact requirements and can support unlimited numbers of work patterns.

HFX is the leading provider of flextime™ in the UK.  Used by over 1400 customers across the UK, local authorities, other public sector bodies and commercial organisations benefiting from HFX solutions include: Home Office, Merck, Methodist Church, Dartmoor National Park, Adidas, Buhler Sortex Ltd, The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), Eaton Limited, MoD, National Farmers’ Union, Hertsmere Borough Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Exeter City Council, Isle of Man Government, MoJ, Met Police, Flintshire County Council, Office for National Statistics, UK Intellectual Property Office, NHS Business Services Authority, Science and Technology Facilities Council.

hfx CEO wins Excellence Award

cup-1010909_1920Nick Whiteley, our CEO, has just been listed in the Global CEO Excellence Awards of CEO Monthly magazine[i]. Awarded Best Workforce Management Business Leader and the Excellence Award for Absence Management Solutions (UK), both awards form part of CEO Monthly’s programme to recognise the CEOs responsible for driving change while successfully managing the day-to-day operations within an organisation.

We are thrilled that Nick has been chosen along with other leading CEOs for his outstanding achievements.  It recognises his leadership and innovation in the development of our next generation product and underlines our position as a leading provider of workforce management solutions in the UK.

Recently Nick has led HFX’s development strategy to design solutions that address the need for today’s organisations to capture and analyse data to provide insights for employee efficiencies. We have focussed on developing powerful solutions that are simple to use and integrate, which is no easy task, but reaps benefits for our customers.

Our Time and Attendance solution, now combined with Access Control and 3D Rostering, forms our next generation system. It enables organisations to gain an important multi-dimension view of staff activity, to identify where costs are going and optimise plans and workforce accordingly.

We are already seeing rapid uptake of our solutions with many new customers facing these workforce challenges. It builds on our expertise of helping organisations to manage working hours transparently and equitably, improving productivity and employee wellbeing.

If this sounds like a challenge that your organisation is facing, then it’s time to talk to us.

Nicola Smart, COO, HFX

[i] For more information on the 2018 Global CEO awards, Sponsored by Hospitality Minds, https://www.ceo-review.com/2018-the-2018-global-ceo-excellence-awards-press-release