There was a recent article in IndustryWeek, "How Ceradyne Increased Productivity through Effective Labor Management" that raised some questions for me. This article was co-authored by one of my colleagues, Gregg Gordon, and explains how Ceradyne has used Kronos solutions to optimize their workforce productivity. Ceradyne is using a broad suite of Kronos capabilities to improve overall labor effectiveness (OLE) - a key performance indicator that can be used by manufacturers to measure the optimal balance of workforce availability, productivity and quality.
What I wondered about is how the implementation of Kronos technology affects worker morale - and what companies can do to take advantage of workforce productivity tools without leaving their workers feeling that they been taken advantage of.
Gregg focuses on the manufacturing sector for Kronos, and had a number of war stories to share - as well as some great suggestions he's picked up from customers who've successfully implemented workforce tracking and scheduling software. He's worked with companies around the world who walk the delicate line between the need to control expenses and the need to hold onto skilled workers in competitive economies. Here are some of his suggestions:
Get employees who'll be affected by these changes involved in helping management implement them. An example Gregg provided was of a pharma company implementing time and attendance tracking for scientists. This population had not had to "punch in" in the past. The reason for the change was to map R&D human resource investments to projects in order to substantiate proposed pricing - an objective these workers understood and applauded. The ultimate solution was to have the scientists update a timecard biweekly by noting any exceptions to their exempt 8 hour days - but not by having them punch in and out every day.
Explain to affected employees how they'll benefit. These types of Kronos solutions can benefit employees by providing more accurate overtime tracking, accommodating employee preferences in shift scheduling, fair and consistent application of policies, etc. Workers who understand these benefits - and experience them personally - are more likely to support the change.
Implement changes in small increments. Enterprise software solutions can impose a lot of change on an organization. The key to successful implementation is to enable the new capabilities in digestable increments that employees can accept, master and absorb. For companies new to time and attendance, just getting employees to punch in and out is a big step forward.
Measure progress. Pick a few key metrics, track them and report back on them to key stakeholders. The metrics will vary based on your business, but you can't improve what you can't measure. Kronos customer Crossland Construction believes that their ability to provide these types of metrics to their customers is providing them with a competitive advantage.
How do you think organizations can take advantage of human capital management technologies without taking advantage of the humans involved?