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4 Workforce Management Trends to Watch For in 2019

Bryan Reed Dec. 04, 2018

Workforce management helps enterprises operate efficiently, minimizing wasted productivity and maximizing profits. To make the most of their workforce management solutions, companies must stay on top of trends.

In fact, one question we hear a lot from our client is this:

Which workforce management trends can I adopt in the coming year?

It’s an important question to ask, particularly if your goal is to make your organization more efficient in 2019. Here are four workforce management trends to watch for in the coming year.

#1: The Gig Economy

As of 2017, 36% of the workforce in the United States was made up of freelancers. By 2027, experts predict that freelancers will make up more than half of all workers. That represents some interesting challenges for workforce management.

One of the trends we expect to see is the evolution of workforce management solutions to allow for efficient management of freelance, or gig, workers. Since these workers aren’t technically employees, their scheduling and pay require different handling than part-time or full-time employees.

If your company works with freelancers, 2019 is the right time to start thinking about how you can manage their time and scheduling more efficiently.

#2: Smart Scheduling

Scheduling employee shifts is a big part of workforce management. At Alphanumeric, we have worked closely with our clients to help them add automation and artificial intelligence to their service desks and other areas. We expect the AI trend to move into workforce management, as well.

AI can help you to quickly analyze workloads, employee performance, and other metrics that are linked to productivity and profits. Then, it can use the information it collects to match workers with the jobs best suited to their skills and experience. It can also estimate the amount of time required to complete a job and adjust the schedule accordingly.

On a related note, AI-powered scheduling can also predict workloads and make it less likely that you’ll be overstaffed at slow times.

#3: Employee Access

In the past, workforce management was largely conducted offline. Employees had to check the written schedule while they were at work to know what their hours would be for the coming weeks. There was no other option.

Nowadays, though, employees and gig workers alike expect to be able to access their hours when they’re not at work. For that reason, we expect employee access to be a major trend in 2019. Employers are going to need to make changes to maximize employee access and convenience.

At first glance, it might seem as if increasing employee access is good only for employees. But, it’s reasonable to expect that employees who don’t need to go out of their way to find their hours and other key information will be more contented – and less likely to leave their jobs – than employees who feel they are inconvenienced by their employer.

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#4: Communication

Finally, the issue of communication is one that looms large. Here, we’re talking about communication between management and workers as well as socialization among workers. Studies show that people are hard-wired for connection and communication. Companies that deny their employees the opportunity to socialize at work are more likely to experience high turnover rates than companies that embrace communication.

Scheduling employee breaks to give employees a bit of time to chat can help improve morale and job performance at the same time. Likewise, encouraging open communication (and being receptive to suggestions) can have a similar effect.

In terms of workforce management, communication might include expanding employee access to allow for feedback and using scheduling to accommodate employees’ needs.

Looking ahead to 2019, the workforce management trends we see are all geared toward using technology to improve relationships between management and workers. Embracing that goal can help you have a productive and profitable year.

To learn how Alphanumeric can help you fine-tune your workforce management solutions, please click here now.

Bryan Reed

Bryan Reed is the Marketing and Communications Director at Alphanumeric.

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