Labor Day – An Opportunity to Reflect on How Technology Helps Increase Workforce Efficiency

As the country prepares to celebrate Labor Day, we here at nextSource thought it would be interesting to explore how today’s companies are aligning their corporate strategies with their workforce.

The Labor movement drove insights into how workers banded together to create a more equitable and productive union that ultimately resulted in the largest accumulation of wealth in United States history via the establishment of a broad and vital middle class society. The enlightenment established by this movement is still evident in many of the institutions that, to this day, feed American businesses and drive entrepreneurs to build new companies.

Yet the march of time slows for no one and the changing nature of the global economic environment predicates the need to adapt to newer paradigms or risk becoming obsolete. Many of those reading these pages have already embarked on a course to embrace the new paradigms, leveraging various labor and sourcing strategies (talent communities, contingent labor, online staffing, recruitment process outsourcing, and independent contractors) in ways and at volumes never imagined. Coupled with advances in computing power which underpin workforce tools like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Vendor Management System (VMS), online staffing services, mobile applications, and the powerfully interconnected social media platforms, those responsible for managing labor in their respective organizations have more and better access to relevant workforce data than ever before in the history of business.

Consider the following examples that workforce analytics can be leveraged to in order to create more enlightened business insights.

Procurement and HR leadership can leverage the data collected by VMS systems with respect to numerous, important workforce management metrics such as:

  • Utilization Management – for insight into which workers may be coming on and off assignments across the organization. Visibility into this data drives more efficient usage of labor between different departments and sites
  • Fill Rates – to support more effective utilization and minimize redundancies
  • Rate Benchmarking – to ensure rates commensurate with market levels and avoid over or underpayment
  • Order Trends – to enable productive workforce modeling
  • Time to Fill Metrics – for improved supplier performance
  • Worker Satisfaction Survey – to protect and promote the reputation of the organization as a positive employment experience

With ATS systems automating the more tedious processes of sourcing and VMS systems enabling greater emphasis on strategic workforce planning, managers are afforded the bandwidth to embrace and implement state of the art practices. For example, the mobile workforce technology movement includes using mobile devices for:

  • Mobile Shift Confirmation – filling jobs more quickly or even on-demand
  • Freelancer Sourcing Applications – helping to more easily connect specialized 1099/IC labor pools with employers seeking specific, high demand skill sets
  • Social Media –the latest frontier in sourcing, offering access to online talent communities and the interactive ability to “see and hear” a candidate before ever making initial contact

There are countless ways in which technology is helping to improve workforce management, optimize operations, increase efficiency in sourcing, and avoid overpaying for resources in competitive fields. Share in the comments any examples of how your program has leveraged data to derive cost-saving or efficiency-boosting intelligence.

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