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Sunday, August 25, 2013

From Applicant Tracking Systems to Payroll: Filling in the Missing Pieces

Everyone knows that to be successful in the contingent employee market you need two things: an applicant tracking system to maintain a database of employees and clients and a payroll system to ensure everyone is paid and billed. Have you ever noticed that there is a large gap between the two systems that goes largely untapped? You may not have thought about it much but what if we told you there was an easy way to connect your front office system to your back office system to make things such as communication and database management easier? 

Enter Workforce Management Systems.

photo credit: <a href="">{Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
A workforce management system can streamline many of the processes that administrators of contingent staff work with daily. It allows individual employees to update their contact information, resume, and skills as they change eliminating missed opportunities. It provides a way for clients to automatically submit job requests that are broadcast out to qualified candidates based on the assignment requirements. It offers an elegant solution to the submission of employee time cards to supervisors for approval. Once hours are approved information can be integrated with client billing system as well as payroll system eliminating any duplicate data entry tasks or re-typing errors. It can also replace physical time clocks. Your staff can check-in their time using GPS integrated smart-phone app so you know exact location at the time of check-in and information is available to access from anywhere on a real-time basis.

Staff administrators and recruiters in many industries, from catering to hospitality and security to temporary staffing, can use workforce management systems to better organize their time allowing them the freedom to accomplish more within their work day. 

For example, since contingent staff does not work under the direct management of the staffing administrator it is imperative to have access to the employee and supervisor throughout the duration of the assignment. Simple processes within the workforce management system can ensure that both parties can keep you updated on the status of the assignment. At the close of the project you can request feedback to understand how the project was handled and determine the best new assignment opportunities and candidate profiles for each of them in the future.

If you’re looking for a way to make your contingent staffing more efficient don’t stop with an applicant tracking system and a payroll system. Fill the spaces between with a workforce management system that can streamline your process. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Can Workforce Management Systems Help Close the Skills Gap between American Workers and Companies?

One of the biggest challenges facing hiring managers today is the growing skills gap of American workers. In spite of an economy where many professionals have found themselves without employment it seems that many of the skills in demand by companies are not currently possessed by these individuals on the job market. 
photo credit: <a href="">x-ray delta one</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

However, the problem may not lie with a lack of skills in the marketplace but rather the way we source candidates for upcoming jobs. 

There was a time prior to the recession when managers would seek out individuals with aptitude rather than an exact laundry list of experience. The right attitude and the ability to learn were more important than knowing exactly how to format pivot tables or work in Great Plains. After the recession hit, starting with the sub-prime mortgage meltdown in 2007, employers changed course and began looking for individuals with an exact match to specific skills desired.  Many companies expected that with so many people out of work they should be able to find a surplus of individuals with specific experience. 

Experts still disagree about what the skills gap actuallyis. Is it a lack of education or is it a recruiting issue? Some employment specialists even suggest that a raise in salaries for skilled individuals would help to close the skills gap. This discrepancy between available professionals and technical skills could have been caused the tightening of corporate belts during the same recession that lead to high unemployment. As cost of living continues to rise in the United States wages have been steadily falling since 2000, long before the recession began. 

Perhaps the solution is to reconsider the way we are recruiting and retaining qualified employees. An online workforce management system can help connect employees to open positions with little effort and higher success rates. It can help bridge the gap between skilled workers and the employers seeking their talents. Here are just three ways a workforce management system can work for you.

1. Employee Updated Skills. Many professionals are augmenting their skills with continued education to increase their experience with new in-demand technologies. On an online system they can easily add the information to their profile making it easier to source when a need for their skills becomes available.
2. Increased communications between employees and clients. A workforce management system allows for your clients to post job requests that can be immediately viewable by candidates looking for work. This can shorten the recruiting time for certain critical positions.
3. Reports on salary information. Sometimes the answer lies in educating your clients on the cost of employment. It is difficult to hire a skilled professional for a project if the wage offered is below a minimum salary requirement. Easily sharing reports on successful hires and wage research through the workforce management system can help explain the disparity to clients. 

NextCrew, Workforce Management for the New World, can help you enhance your temporary and contingent staff process. Contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How a Workforce Management System can Save You Time

For 15 years I was a recruiter in the temporary staffing industry. I worked for a small boutique staffing company that focused on local staffing for administrative and general labor positions. While my company used a database system to organize our employee and client information as well as to create job posts and run payroll there were still processes that needed to be completed by individuals within our office, whether by us as recruiters or by the sales team or administrators. 

I believe the next level for any company that utilizes a contingent workforce would be a management system that can automate the process and save time. 

When I first began working as a writer for the NextCrew site I already recognized the benefits a system like this would have had for me as a recruiter. I understand both sides of the process and I believe that workforce management can help 

I thought I might take a quick look at some of the bottlenecks in the staffing process and demonstrate how workforce management tools can help. 

1.      Resume and Skills Updates. When I was working in temporary staffing I frequently needed to update employee information within the system. Our candidates would send us updated resumes which we would upload an often reformat. New skills slipped through the cracks as we rarely went back and updated the original information. This could mean that some candidates were not contacted about jobs for which they would have been qualified. With a workforce management system an employee could log in and update their own resume and skill set allowing the administrators access to the best information.
2.      Update Contact Information. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I tried to reach out to a potential candidate only to find that their phone number or email address was no longer in service. Occasionally the candidate would call months later wondering why they had not heard from me and seemed surprised when I quoted back an old phone number. If we cannot reach our candidates we cannot employ them so to allow each person an opportunity to update their contact information in the system would have given more qualified candidates the chance to go to work.
3.      Payroll and Timesheet Processing. Another nightmare in my experience was payroll. Our employees were each responsible for turning in their physical timesheet signed by their supervisor. We would then re-add, code, and enter the information into our payroll software. This process would take two full workdays each week at which time we were also still responsible for recruiting and job placements. Often we would spend so much time tracking down missing time cards that we were unable to handle everything that needed to be completed. Some employees went unpaid as a result. An automated system where each employee could enter their time and generate an approval request from the supervisor would have greatly reduced the headache.
4.      Staff Communications. Many years ago I worked for a larger staffing company that required a quota of phone calls for each assignment. I always thought this was absurd. What if I filled the position with the first person I contacted? You never know how long it will take to find the right candidate for a job. Sometimes you can contact one person, sometimes you can contact 100 or more. An automated system which alerted candidates to new opportunities could have eliminated some of the unnecessary phone calls or emails. 
5.      Assignment Snafus. Before GPS, giving directions meant providing an address and turn by turn directions which we would hope they would write down. After GPS, we still found that employees relied on technology a little too much often getting lost when it was clear that the directions were leading them to the wrong place. I’ve had employees tell me it was too hard to find a company so they gave up and went home. An automated workforce management system could provide turn by turn directions and maps to help the employee find their way to the client site.

My personal experience was as a recruiter in the temporary staffing industry but I believe that workforce management systems can help anyone who uses contingent staffing such as catering, security, hospitality, or healthcare employee providers.

To learn more about systems that can help in the placement process go to NextCrew: Workforce Management Software for the New World.