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Empowering your workforce to do what it does best

Tuesday 25 February 2020 Data Insight & Analytics

By Ollie Watson

How much of the working day does your workforce spend on its actual work? It’s an interesting question to ponder and one that is brought sharply into focus by the drive for efficiency that we are seeing now. Gaining deeper insight into your workforce and empowering staff to focus on the job for which they have been hired are two of the main goals of efficiency. How can we achieve this?

Put simply, a lot of firms do not understand how their workforce operates. We recently conducted a survey with Surveys in Public Sector to ascertain how well public sector organisations structure and organise their mobile workforce. 77% of respondents said that their organisation struggles to plan and manage activities and resources associated with their mobile workforce.

The problem goes beyond mobile workers, too. Depending upon which research you wish to believe, roughly one third of the working week is taken up by administrative tasks; tasks which are distracting employees from their core functionality. Whilst administration is a natural process in a working environment, are we devoting too much time to it?

This is where efficiency comes in. How can firms manage their mobile workforce and their office-based workforce efficiently? How can they better understand how employees are performing their tasks?

One major transformation that any firm struggling with workforce management can make is to better utilise technology. From the same survey, 57% of respondents noted that their organisation uses Excel and/or paper-based methods of workforce management. This is extremely inefficient, resulting in the need to re-key data and instances of duplication of work.

Such manual processes take up considerable time and are wide open to user error. The technology solutions exist right now to address this. User error can be eliminated by insisting upon uniform data entry prior to exiting a record and workforce management platforms enable the scheduling and monitoring of tasks from a central source of truth.

Where organisations are relying on field-based workers, for example in the transport industry, schedulers can rely on a workforce management system to support them in their work, being able to take into consideration existing staff workloads as well as aspects such as a member of staff’s proximity to a job. This facilitates smoother scheduling and reduces the administrative burden on the member of staff.

As Rosalie Marshall of the Government Digital Service commented at the 2019 Public Sector Enterprise ICT conference, “We need to build simple, faster and clearer systems. We don’t want to be building a kitchen every time we have a meal.”

Utilising the right technology gives organisations that foundation upon which to structure their workforce. As an example, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which uses CACI’s Cygnum workforce management tool, deployed the system in order to move away from paper and Excel to automate the scheduling of their inspectors. In 2019, 45% of their scheduling has been automated, bringing greater clarity to schedules and workloads.

Cygnum learns from the input of the inspectors and schedulers via a genetic algorithm to better inform future work. It is helping CQC to better structure its workforce and, in turn, is helping CQC’s workforce to better concentrate on the task at hand.

With the ability to capture data in the field and interact with schedules online, workers no longer need to check in at a depot, download and edit spreadsheets or spend roughly a third of their week on administrative tasks and outdated processes.

The tools exist to empower your workforce to focus on what it does – delivering results, not completing onerous administrative duties.

We recently conducted a survey with Surveys in Public Sector to ascertain how well public sector organisations structure and organise their mobile workforce. 77% of respondents said that their organisation struggles to plan and manage activities and resources associated with their mobile workforce.

Empowering your workforce to do what it does best