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Five steps to implement a digital workforce strategy

A tech quick fix might solve today’s problem, but what about tomorrow?

There’s a technology solution for most business problems but ad hoc responses to often intractable issues don’t work in the long term, says Jarrod McGrath, founder and CEO of Smart Workforce Management.

When it comes to workforce management, implementing a digital strategy will be successful when the needs of the whole organisation are considered; people (both clients and staff) are at the heart of it; and there’s appropriate measurement, he says. And the benefits can change the course of an organisation by reducing costs, improving employee engagement and enhancing customer experience.

How to get the ball rolling

McGrath outlines five steps to introducing a digital workforce management strategy:

  1. Align –  “you need to start with a strategy; one that looks at understanding what the business is trying to achieve and why. Take those goals and align them with the workforce”.
  2. Prepare – “ensure your business is educated and ready for the transformation journey ahead. This includes confirming alignment between senior management, operations, finance, HR, payroll and IT, and understanding what business impacts will occur”.
  3. Introduce the process – implement the technology with the business’ key goal in mind.
  4. Track the process – make sure all is going to plan and check for any associated risks.
  5. Innovate as you move forward – “you can’t just implement the technology then walk away and hope it works out for you. You have to question yourself along the way and ask yourself if you’ve achieved the goals you set out to”.

“When you put HR and workforce management together you get greater value. It makes processes more efficient and can help to build and develop a culture within your organisation,” says McGrath.

Get everyone on the same page

When you’re introducing any kind of new process into a workplace, it’s important to explain why you’re doing it, says McGrath.

“If you tell someone to do something, without giving them a reason, they can be hesitant to go along with it.”

He stresses the importance of wrapping your strategy in a clear and concise story to help each person within the business to understand the end goal; from the customer service employee to the regional managers. Everyone needs to understand how they fit in to the bigger organisational picture.

A successful case for digital transformation

Gourmet tea business T2 is enjoying the benefits of a more cohesive workforce management strategy after transforming its operations in just 12 weeks.

“The key reason for the success of the T2 transformation was that they were ready to do it. It doesn’t matter how good your technology or process is, if an organisation isn’t ready to make the change then that slows things down.”

T2’s main goal was to improve customer experience. That translates to team members spending more time with the customer and less time on non-value adding administrative tasks, says McGrath.

“We worked with them to make sure their stores were staffed correctly and that their team members knew what shifts they were on and what specific tasks they had to do when they arrived.”

“From a store manager point of view, they were able to become more entrepreneurial in their work. They were able to understand more about balancing the costs associated with providing that customer experience,” says McGrath.

T2’s global head of people, Georgegina Poulos, says the biggest benefits of the new approach were the access to real data, savings in training costs and a reduction in labour intensive work. Team leaders benefited from reduced time spent managing rosters and have developed more “commercial savviness”.

“The redeployment of the time it previously took to do all those tasks as gone back into providing a fantastic customer experience,” says Poulos.

McGrath will be expanding on this case study at the AHRI National Convention.

Image: via Pexels.

Discover how you can build and future proof your digital workforce with Jarrod McGrath and other experts at the HR Tech Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday 28 August – a part of the AHRI National Convention and Exhibition from 28 to 31 August 2018. Registration closes 21 August.

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