Workforce management, how it works

Behind every successful business is a bright idea. But to make your business run, you need a team that helps you every step of the way. Your workforce is one of the most important elements that allow your business to operate and see positive results.

However, making sure your employees are empowered, safe, and satisfied is no easy feat. Managing the logistics of raw materials, production processes, and transportation starts to seem much less complicated when you consider the complexities that go into predicting and managing human capital. But that’s where we’re here to help!

Over the last 10 years, more than $10 billion have been invested into technologies that advance and digitize the construction industry. Many of these investments are related to solutions that improve the digital collaboration between on-site and off-site workers, such as construction workforce management software. Workforce management (WFM) is the tool that can help you reduce costs and optimize employee productivity and satisfaction in order to realize your short and long-term business goals. Also known as workforce planning, it’s the people-first strategy that propels your business strategy.

Keep reading to learn what workforce management and diversity can do for you.

Workforce management, how it works

What is workforce management?

Workforce management is the integration of several processes to ensure that an organization’s human capital (workforce) is optimized so a business function or task can be achieved as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The purpose of WFM is to improve productivity and financial performance, while mitigating risk.

It is done through the collection of data from previous projects or operations and by means of artificial intelligence in order to manage and forecast staffing requirements. So what does WFM mean for your company? Once you have established what your operational and financial goals are, you need to anticipate the human resources required to achieve them.

As a specific function with the greater framework of human resource management framework, some tasks that fall under workforce management include:

  • Forecasting staff resources
  • Budgeting
  • Staff scheduling
  • Time and attendance management
  • Managing employee performance and employee engagement
  • Compliance
  • Payroll and benefits administration
  • Vacation and leave planning

Why is it so important?

For businesses in sectors that operate according to sharp deadlines and time-sensitive tasks, and that pay employees on an hourly or contract basis, workforce tools are critical for improving the overall performance of your business. Since the construction industry often operates according to these practices, WFM is an increasingly important asset for industry professionals to leverage.

What are the benefits?

WFM allows your company to gain detailed insights from business metrics and track employee performance. It also results in more productive HR practices due to the automation of specific tasks, as well as the instant accessibility of resources for employees. Think less emails and more self-service!

The benefits resulting from workplace services can be extraordinary. A Deloitte case study shows that one firm saw an average of $6 million in savings for every 100 employees after using a workplace planning strategy.

The opportunities for improvement in one of the least digitized industries are endless. It is not uncommon for extensive projects with large-scale companies to take up to 20% longer than expected, resulting in projects that surpass the established budget by upwards of 80%. In fact, in the UK and Germany, construction labor productivity is well below the overall economic productivity in the country. It’s irrefutable that changes must be made. Some benefits that can result from integrating workforce services in your organization include:

  • Reduced administration and labor costs, which can make up 40% of your total project expenses
  • Improved employee productivity and employee satisfaction
  • Better operational agility through improved and automatic data collection
  • Stricter compliance with international, national and local regulations, since these processes can be automatized
  • Greater customer service and satisfaction, since companies with optimized workforces see an 18% improvement in customer satisfaction

6 pillars of construction workforce management

According to Procore Technologies, six pillars should be considered in order to optimize WFM for organizations within the construction sector. They are communication, scheduling, data management, people management, forecasting, and analytics.

  1. Communication: Instantaneous and reliable communication allows organizations to ensure that information is received by all stakeholders, at the same time, regardless of location. By prioritizing communication, organizations can ensure that decision making is done by informed and updated parties.
  2. Scheduling: This is one of the most challenging issues that contractors in the construction industry face. Keeping track of employees can be difficult, as many jobs occur concurrently and time-tables evolve frequently. Making sure that information is centralized and up-to-date in a cloud-based WFM software can help mitigate the complexities of scheduling and ensure that the right person is at the right job when it’s required.
  3. Data Management: Data is essential for any organization. Without it, you make your organization vulnerable to ill informed business decisions. Therefore, data must be secure, accurate, and available to all appropriate personnel within the organization. A digital WFM solution ensures the proper management of your company’s data both internally and externally, for third-party personnel such as your contractors and industry partners.
  4. People Management: Finding skilled labor is easier said than done. In fact, in 2021 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce disclosed that 62% of contractors reported a high level of difficulty in finding skilled workers. And this figure seems to be increasing each year. However, with the right WFM tools, you can leave the guesswork out and make sure the right people are hired for the right job. Having a central database with your employees’ and third parties’ information is important for understanding which people have the right qualifications and/or experience for the task at hand.
  5. Forecasting: You’ve heard the saying, “if you’re on time then you’re already late”. That’s where forecasting comes in. Being able to plan ahead and predict labor shortages, weeks, months, or years in advance is essential for any organization that wants to ensure efficiency and productivity. WFM tools that take forecasting into consideration will help you evaluate your current employee base or decide if you need to start hiring today for upcoming projects.
  6. Analysis: Data collection after a project can be fragmented and simply an afterthought. However, document management tools available through comprehensive WFM software permit organizations to keep track of important information that might not be currently communicated. Looking back at documented data, successes, failures, and budgeting for every project means you can learn from prior mistakes to improve your future operations.

The importance of workforce diversity

Believe it or not, globalization is not a new phenomenon and nor is diversity. However, in recent years the advantages of workforce diversity have become more evident to employers and organizations alike. According to a McKinsey study, companies with more ethnic and racial equality are 35% more likely to see higher financial returns than competitors operating at the industry average.

However, workplace diversity is important for more than just financial performance and should be considered an integral element for every business.

Some benefits of workplace diversity include:

  • Higher levels of creativity
  • Increased problem solving
  • Rise in profits
  • Greater employee engagement (eNPS), thus a lower employee turnover rate
  • Improved company reputation and employer branding

So it’s no surprise that the more diverse an organization is, the better their performance is. But how do you get a diverse workforce, and what does this actually mean in practice?

What is a diverse workforce?

There’s no doubt that the construction industry is clearly seeing the effects of an aging global population and lack of skilled workers, however, diversity of your employee base can help to mitigate these realities. Workplace diversity can be expanded in the construction industry with the use of new technologies that promote different ways of working.

With the proliferation of new building methods such as modular construction, the construction sector becomes more attractive to profiles with different skill-sets and educational levels that are entering the workforce. The adoption of construction robotics has the same potential for diversifying workforces, since the management of this technology requires a workforce with a comprehensive technical background.

Applying new technologies and labor processes can help companies work towards a diverse employee base with complementing skills, knowledge, and abilities to achieve its operational and financial objectives. Workforce management services can help your business better understand the makeup of your employees, to see where you are doing well in terms of diversity, and to guide you with making improvements.

WFM and startups

Workforce management shouldn’t be disregarded as a tool for big companies only, but should be considered and used according to each and every business environment. For example, priorities of WFM will look different for multinational corporations versus up-and-coming startups, but that doesn’t mean they don’t share certain fundamental workforce principles.

For startups in particular, WFM can be complicated and complex. Prioritizing recruiting, such as  when to hire and who to hire, and managing existing employees, such as scheduling, career development, and promotions, are activities that affect startups as much as their corporate counterparts, if not more so. You want to make sure that you have agile talent to optimize the next stage of commercial growth or an upcoming round of investment.

In fact, because startups and smaller businesses tend to have more limited workforces, many times employees will have multiple responsibilities and roles, resulting in a greater individual impact to the organization. Therefore, it’s essential to use a workforce management solution to keep track of what employees, skills, abilities, and tools, and at what level, your startup already has at its disposal in order to make effective short-term and long-term business decisions that attract the right investors.

CEMEX Ventures is at the vanguard of workforce management

So, how do you start improving the management of your workforce? The answer is right under your nose. Workforce management software, as an independent application or feature in a broader HR management system, can help you start seeing the benefits in no time!

CEMEX Ventures is dedicated to helping startups and businesses boost productivity and efficiency by improving stakeholders’ collaboration, communication, and coordination. And we don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk!

We have invested in Jelp, the most trusted link between home improvement professionals and homeowners, allowing you to find, rate and pay contractors with the ease of your mobile device. It’s the only network of technicians certified by the leading construction brands. Our partnership with Jelp is a testament to our objective of investing in the development and scaling of tools to better manage and protect workforces, whether they are in-house or external contractors, within the construction industry.

However, we are always open to partnering with startups that adhere to our objective of making the construction industry more innovative, sustainable, and digital. Do you have a game-changing solution for workforce management or another process that enhances productivity? This year’s application round has ended, but don’t wait! See what synergies we’ve created through past editions of the Competition and stay tuned to find out this year’s winners.

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