21.08.2023 Human Resources Gartner People management Software

How to Evaluate Workforce Management Application Software

Ask these questions to land on a solution that fully meets — or even exceeds — stakeholders’ expectations.

Workforce management (WFM) software, which is designed to plan, track and manage the operations of hourly and contingent workers, can transform business and HR operations by enabling new ways of working. It automatically optimizes scheduling to trim labor costs and boost employee engagement. At the same time, it ensures compliance with employment laws and regulations, including those associated with minimum wage and overtime.

“We see organizations transform when they use the correct workforce management application”{…}“However, finding the right provider is really hard, because the market is not only very fragmented — it also continues to rapidly change and evolve. We tell clients that if they want to realize the transformative effect WFM has, they have to use a robust process for evaluations and buying.”

says Ranadip Chandra, Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner

Choosing the best solution for your organization requires evaluating your needs and asking the right questions.

No. 1. What are some key considerations?

  • Advanced features: Leading-edge solutions help reduce avoidable attrition among frontline and hourly workers, by driving flexible work schedules and “continuous listening” analysis through built-in or integrated surveying tools.
  • Cyberthreats: The outage of the Kronos Private Cloud (KPC) products caused by a ransomware attack is leading customers to abandon legacy WFM applications.
  • Worker-deployment issues: A shortage of available employees in many industries and regions, along with supply chain interruptions and limited product availability, is driving investment in advanced scheduling and planning functions that allow existing workers to be deployed as effectively as possible.
  • Fragmentation: The market is highly fragmented, and product capabilities, cost and applicability to worker types and work patterns greatly vary across sectors and geographies.

No. 2. Have you done the necessary prework?

Before beginning the selection process, create a documented checklist to ensure tasks are completed correctly and on time, and assign specific actions to the appropriate team members. Complete these key steps:

  • Plan
    • Build your team of evaluation experts
    • Define objectives
    • Set timelines
    • Determine budget
    • Finalize details
  • Research
    • Identify essential needs
    • Explore technology basics
    • Survey the vendor landscape
  • Designate use case requirements
    • Identify processes and use cases that the software must support
    • Specify detailed requirements
    • Rank them by importance
    • Gain consensus on those requirements from key stakeholders.
  • Evaluate vendors
    • Share objectives and requirements with vendors
    • Examine their pitches and proposals
    • Conduct detailed due diligence
    • Score vendors
  • Finalize contract parameters and pricing
    • Negotiate specific terms
    • Execute the contract
    • Onboard the vendor
    • Begin implementing the solution

Gartner BuySmart™ enables you to complete these tasks more effectively and efficiently, thus driving cost savings and reducing strain on resources.

No. 3. Is the provider appropriately robust when it comes to core features?

Ensure that every vendor you’re considering can consistently deliver on its promised capabilities. Use Gartner BuySmart™ to determine whether the provider vendor is in your market, access peer reviews and feedback, and check the opinions of industry experts.A WFM software should:

  • Accurately measure employees’ time at work and time off, and transmit this information to payroll and other HR systems.
  • Deliver tools to help employers comply with legislation and agreements regarding working time, pay and leave.
  • Enable efficient, fair work schedules (sometimes referred to as “rotas” or “rosters”) and provide tools to track employee productivity.

No. 4. Does the solution truly meet your needs and requirements?

Understanding your requirements is essential to any successful technology evaluation. Gartner BuySmart™ offers libraries of requirements, assembled by our experts, to help you create a robust list customizable to your organization’s needs, and ultimately ensure that the technology you choose does what you need it to do. A small sample of requirements for WFM includes:

  • Absence management: Records planned and unplanned employees absences, and includes features to track and calculate accrued paid time off
  • Basic scheduling: Enables the creation and publication of basic electronic scheduling for use in communication and other services
  • Product usability: Provides easily understood, accessible interfaces with intuitive designs to facilitate user engagement
  • Time, attendance and time attestations of employees: Records the working time and attendance and calculates pay for hourly workers. Prompts employees to affirm that their working time and attendance has been correctly recorded
  • Capacity planning: Enables long-term (more than three months in advance) labor resource planning
  • Customization of pay/workforce rules: Enables customization of the time and attendance rule engine, incorporating existing pay and labor agreements
  • Hardware: Provides time entry and authentication hardware such as time clocks (does not include on-premises servers). Includes credential time clocks, such as facial, voice and iris recognition, so workers don’t need to touch devices when clocking in or out
  • Labor forecasting: Estimates the required number of staffing hours for scheduling
  • Employee messaging and communications: Supports a messaging function to enable employee collaboration and dissemination of information from managers or corporate
  • Predictive analytics and alerts: Detects, predicts and creates automated alerts when defined events and patterns, such as potentially fraudulent behaviors like buddy punching at time clocks, occur

No. 5. Does your choice of WFM software align with your organization’s business strategy and goals?

It should enable you to:

  • Deliver an improved employee experience to the hourly workforce by reconfiguring existing WFM solutions to incorporate more flexible workforce scheduling.
  • Migrate any on-premises, single-tenant, vendor-hosted cloud WFM applications to the latest generation of cloud solutions within the next year or two, so as to access the latest capabilities and mitigate risk.
  • Link investments in WFM to broader organizational initiatives by connecting the organization’s WFM strategy with human capital management (HCM), digital workplace and other critical application strategies.
  • Evaluate potential vendors critically and thoroughly by using RFPs to quantify their different levels of suitability and engaging with multiple vendors — including vendors from different categories. In this highly fragmented market, there is great variation in terms of product capabilities and cost.
Source: Gartner

Subscribe to Farvest Human Resources newsletter for free!