Today’s post is courtesy of our board member Bob Clements. Bob is President at Axsium Group, a leading workforce management consulting firm.
Workforce Management (WFM) implementations are hard. If fact, WFM is harder than almost any other system to successfully implement for two primary reasons. First, rules that govern WFM are surprisingly soft. What makes a good schedule is highly subjective, supervisors have preferences about which employees work well together, and even pay rules are subject to interpretation. Second, WFM impacts employee schedules, leave and pay. If you mess it up, you will not only upset your people, but potentially upset your customers and make headlines.
A change management program consisting of communications (why we are implementing this system and how it will affect users) and training (how to use the new system) can help, but by itself, change management is often not enough to ensure success. This is because change management occurs when the system is ready for deployment. By that time, it’s too late to avoid the two challenges listed above.
To overcome these pitfalls, end users should be involved in the project from the start. The right course of action is to form a Field Advisory Council (FAC) made up of front line employees and supervisors experienced with current WFM processes. Members should include users that will be part of the first group receiving the new system and who are respected by their peers.
The FAC helps make a WFM implementation easier. It provides input while gathering requirements, helps validate system design, and participates in user acceptance testing all while ensuring the WFM system delivered reflects what people do in the field today. Most importantly, since the FAC helps shape the solution and increases credibility with employees, users will become champions for the system when it is deployed.