Defining new roles and responsibilities

After implementing a workforce management solution, organisations may sometimes identify an unintended, but potentially disruptive consequence. It can appear that accountability for tasks may have unintentionally switched from man to machine.

The key objective for any workforce management solution is to improve cost control, productivity, and compliance. This is achieved through the automation and streamlining of people related tasks. The fact that less administrative time is required to complete certain activities does not mean that managers are relieved of their duties and responsibilities – quite the opposite. Less time spent on administration should mean more time being strategic and helping employees.

Preparing for change

Unfortunately, the lack of preparation and consideration for change management at the start of a project can leave some employees and managers asking the question, “Who’s accountable for these new tasks and activities – the computer or me?“

When things go wrong, and tasks are not completed on time or accurately, it’s easy to blame the system. I often hear, “The application made me overspend” or, “The system didn’t tell me to do that!”. Maybe the system was supposed to notify when your labour spend was projected to be over budget – or maybe it wasn’t. Whatever happens to be the true case, roles, responsibilities and expectations must be made clearly defined during project planning and implementation.

Understanding and communicating new processes

Defining your business case and signing-off your workforce management project is just the start of your workforce transformation journey. The key to making your project a success is clearly understanding and defining how the new solution will change processes and add value in every team that it touches. You must consider how you are going to manage your internal processes within the new solution, together with how to embed change in the behaviours & beliefs in the people using the new system. For example, how will you:

  • Review, keep or update your relevant policies as you implement
  • Build your daily, weekly, monthly processes for the new ways of working
  • Define accountabilities in those new processes, how does the Manager manage in the new world?
  • Cascade and communicate the changes to your teams

As the world adapts to the new future of work, and people receive greater flexibility to perform wider roles in their organisations, defining who is accountable for each task and activity becomes more important than ever. Get it right and you will not only improve performance and agility, you will also critically maintain employee engagement and buy-in to the project.

Valuing your people

Retaining talent and optimising performance fundamentally relies on colleagues feeling valued. Making sure your people are paid correctly for the work they performance, considering their needs when scheduling their work, and giving them mobile tools to help them manage their work-life balance, are the foundations to success. Your workforce management solution will enable these, but colleagues need to be clear on who is accountable for what, and must trust that their managers will complete their tasks, whilst having an awareness of what is important to each of them. Engaged people are the foundation of any great business. What doesn’t and won’t ever resonate with colleagues is when the system is blamed for the breakdown in processes.

As discussed in a previous blog on absenteeism, seeking a wholly technical solution to human challenges is rarely the answer. Technology is an enabler, providing the tools and data to help employees and manage improve their performance. The human face of management is even more important when technology is introduced, as we move into the world of empowered teams.

Key questions to answer

As you embark on your workforce management journey, here are some questions to reflect on:

  1. Are your current and future state processes, task & activities clearly defined and understandable?
  2. Do you have a clear understanding of how new processes will engage your teams?
  3. Are any task and activities surplus to requirement and who will be affected by a change in process?
  4. Are you managers truly empowered to manage their teams?
  5. Do colleagues understand the important role they will play in the new workforce management project?
  6. What plans do you have for resolving any process related issues for colleagues?


In Conclusion

By considering at the start of your workforce transformation journey the resulting changes in employee and manager roles and responsibilities you will set a course for success. Bringing your team on the journey with you through clear and effective communication will help to improve the speed of adoption, time to value and scale of benefits that your workforce management solution will deliver.


Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2021