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Workforce Transitions: Technology Can Blend the Best of Both Worlds

While strides have been made to help bring workers back to the workplace safely, many companies are continuing to keep a large percentage of staff working from home. 


Some companies are enacting a hybrid model, having employees work two or three days in the office while working the others from home, and some businesses have remote policies in place into 2021. As businesses determine how to navigate the path forward, the various approaches present challenges when it comes to holistic workforce planning and decision-making.  

However, when leading a workforce in transition, management may discover that technology can help simplify organization and drive better operational decision making now and into the future.  The most important first step for any company is to assess its needs, which requires a deep look at how its workforce is performing remotely and where collective readiness to return stands.  Having an eye into this valuable data is the key to making the best decisions on the front line, as well as the back end, when it comes to returning to the workplace.

Rely on Data to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace Safely and Confidently
As the well-being of employees remains the top priority, understanding when the time is right to bring employees back into the physical office is important. By examining employee readiness and sentiment data, companies can get a better understanding of when their employees might be ready to head back into the office. It’s also critical to understand where the cases are in relation to where the company’s employees are, in order to plan a careful return to work across different office locations and geographies.

Additionally, leveraging technology that can provide insights into any workforce anomalies can help businesses detect new patterns of behavior after the slow migration of employees back to the office. For example, taking insights around absentee workers and comparing that data within a certain location or division may show patterns of potential exposure.

Spot Trends to Help Make Real-Time, Behind-the-Scenes Decisions
Given the uncertainty surrounding the global health event, employers should have access to data and insights that can help identify possible workforce trends in a timely manner. By having benchmarking tools set against time and attendance, mangers can identify any workforce issues in real time and make important health and safety decisions. Importing workforce data in real time can help too, especially as managers work to gather important workforce insights that they will reference for months to come.

With portions of the workforce still working remotely, it’s important to keep a pulse on employee satisfaction indicators like turnover. For example, are you seeing high turnover among employees working remotely that might indicate potential gaps in engagement? Or are you seeing the converse, where the flexibility of remote work is keeping workers happy? What does turnover look like in the population that has transitioned back to the physical workplace? These insights are critical in understanding your entire workforce during this period of transition.

Ensure You Have the Appropriate Communication Measures in Place
When some employees are in the office and others are still working remotely, communication is paramount. To help bridge any gaps, companies should find an open chat platform that works for the entire team. Email, while good for information sharing, is inadequate and slow for real-time communication; open chat platforms can be a perfect fit for the distributed workforce.

Discovering plugins for chat services may also help people feel more interconnected. Each service has various plugins for things like surveys or polls, and HR platforms often can store that employee sentiment to ultimately reduce manual data collection and to reference down the line. 

Communication is key when it comes to surfacing data with workforce implications as well. Look for technologies that can deliver insights in real time to allow you to act on them quickly and inform your workforce plans.

In the new world of work, technology now allows for workplaces to create streamlined processes and experiences that take the best parts of an in-person setting while making them more efficient in a remote situation. Additionally, with combined machine learning and predictive analytics, operational managers can not only solve problems, but anticipate them, too.

If integrated correctly, technology can not only empower employees, but ultimately help managers make reliable and informed decisions about their workforce during this period of uncertainty.

About the Author

Imran Ahmed is the director of product marketing at ADP.

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