Key Criteria to Evaluate The Most Suitable Workforce management system

Workforce Management (WFM) solution is now an essential commodity for companies to streamline their day-to-day activities. It is especially of use for those who wish to bring together administrative issues of a large group of employees, albeit; it works as well for a small-scale company. Some of the functions which can be eased by deploying a WFM software are monitoring payroll, task management, scheduling work shifts, and the likes, all traditionally done manually. With the use of right technology solution, it saves a considerable amount of time and money resulting in increased organisational performance.

Recently, Catholic Health Partners saved $13.5M in labour costs through implementation of Workforce Management Software.

There are various WFM solutions available in the market today. While a company's core needs shall differ on a case-to-case basis and that will essentially define the need for particular software, we present to you some key criteria you should look at while selecting the best of the lot:

Deployment
Traditionally, WFM systems used to be deployed on premise. Some organisations, which have strict guidelines about data hosting and deployment, still choose to go ahead with the on premise solution. However, with the proliferation of Cloud, many companies are giving more preference to cloud-based WFM systems because these free up the companies from the installation and maintenance hassles. Cloud based systems also offer fewer service issues and better uptimes. For organisations which need scalability, want to keep adding new features, and leverage the latest technology, cloud-based systems offer better options. Cloud based systems also make cross-team collaboration easy especially for those organisations which operate from multiple locations and are looking for a centralised system for data analysis. 

Mobility
Globalisation is driving the growth of mobile office workers. Right from the field sales professionals to executives, the mobile professionals in corporations are increasing every day. The global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.75 billion in 2020! You need a solution which can help you keep the mobile workforce engaged and efficient. Things like attendance marking, leave approvals, and employee tracking through mobile devices.

Compatibility with Various Biometric Devices and Access Controls 
There are hundreds of hardware technologies available in the market in the form of biometric devices and swipe cards. Ideally, the choice of the hardware should have no impact on the workforce management software. The WFM software should be able to capture, process, and analyse the information captured by any biometric devices or the swipe cards in real-time. It needs to be hardware agonistic because, only then, the organisations have the liberty to choose the best hardware-software combination. Apart from this, it is important that the WFM solution is compatible with various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. 

Employee Self-Service Portal
Through the WFM solution, employees should be able to gain a complete control over their information, such as status of their leave applications, access to HR services, new policies, shift schedules etc. It helps in keeping them more involved and engaged with the business. When you look for a WFM solution, apart from the availability of the self-service portal, also check for the availability of an interactive, touch-screen device with in-built biometrics and access card reader. Such devices can integrate with a fully functional HRMS and can be made available to the blue-collar workforce near their workstations to help them access the self-service portals. This is an extremely useful feature for industrial and manufacturing companies. 

Powerful Reporting
The WFM solutions are supposed to help collate all the data received. Therefore, when opting for such, it is a good idea to check if it presents reports which are self-explanatory. They could probably make use of features such as colour coding, drag-and-drop attributes, real-time editing, providing analytical explanations, presenting in an algorithm, and the likes, for ease of use and better readability and understanding of the gathered information. Apart from the standard reports, there should also be an option to customise the reports as per specific requirements. That way, companies spend less time in assembling the data and can be more proactive in their reactions to the findings. Hence, do go for software which employs high reporting standards. 

Compliance 
Compliance management is a very crucial but time-consuming job. It requires a strict and accurate maintenance of records as per the specified guidelines. When done manually, it is prone to errors and lags. A WFM solution should assist the organisations with their compliance management and maintenance. 
Customisations
While the out-of-the-box WFM solutions offer a variety of commonly used features, sometimes, companies have requirements which are very specific to their needs and workflows. In such situations, the WFM solution should support customisations of various aspects such as workflows, reports, addition or deletion of specific data fields etc. 

Reliable Support 
Any WFM solution that you ideally opt for needs to provide sound support for effective functioning. It should help you achieve operational superiority at every stage of its use. For instance, any problems with scheduling or time tracking need to be addressed immediately so that employees can carry on with their work without having to manually enter the details. Hence, when choosing the vendor, it is best to check whether the vendor is able to meet the support and compliance requirements of your company. Check if the vendor offers support ticket tracking system wherein; you can log and track the issues. In some situations, you might require on-premise support and the vendor should be able to provide the same. Sometimes, the users might need some specific training for the effective use of the solution and the WFM vendor should be able to offer such training from time to time basis. 

Integration with Other Systems
The business support systems should be able to seamlessly integrate with the HR systems. Only through such tight integration, the data can be stored centrally and can flow easily between the systems to facilitate faster decision-making. It is, therefore, important that the WFM solution which you chose offers seamless integration with other existing IT systems.

Customer Reviews
A solid customer base and positive reviews and testimonials are the testaments to the reliability and usefulness of the solution. Since the implementation of a WFM solution is a long-term strategy, it is always a good idea to check for the customer reviews and testimonials and do the reference check before you finalise the vendor. 

Earlier, a WFM solution only focused on monitoring staff schedules. Over time, these have developed to include a variety of other functions to provide what industry experts now term as "intelligent data". Along with considering the above-mentioned criteria do also take into account its essential functionality and conduct a performance test for solutions or demo before finally buying one. Employing a WFM solution assures a company of enhanced productivity, cost efficiency, and better data security. It is hence best to zero down on one such solution sooner and be guaranteed about improved interactions between the employees and the top management for the smooth functioning of the company as a whole.