How workforce management trends can help grow your business Featured

9:35pm EDT April 30, 2013
Liz Brashears, director, Human Resources, TriNet HR Corporation Liz Brashears, director, Human Resources, TriNet HR Corporation

In business, everyone loves numbers, charts and reliable data points to make decisions. However, when it comes to transforming a company’s most valuable asset, its workforce, many are at a loss for data that drives actionable insights. Small businesses that don’t have direct access to a vast pool of data can still stay on top of developments and save themselves a lot of time, says Liz Brashears, director of Human Capital Consulting at TriNet, Inc.

“An entrepreneur doesn’t get into business to measure data about trends they see in their workforce,” says Brashears. “Businesses need to leverage additional resources to prepare for trends in workforce management and the complexities of health care reform — don’t try to do it all yourself.”

Smart Business spoke with Brashears about workforce management trends and how companies can get ready for the future.

What is meant by workforce management?

Workforce management comprises all activities needed to accomplish work that must to be done while effectively utilizing the people who do the work. It covers activities such as payroll processing, benefits, succession planning, managing employee performance and scheduling.

Do workforce management tasks need to be automated?

It’s most effective to have processes automated, but many small and growing businesses handle tasks manually. When you automate components together, you can utilize the data in the workforce management system and learn from it. Information is power and knowing more about payroll, benefits, and work hours helps you see trends and make decisions that impact your business. More importantly, knowing the trends helps you get your business ready for the future.

What are some of the latest trends?

Most trends revolve around technology and an increase in mobile technologies as part of workforce management. Mobile apps are transforming the way companies interact with employees and customers, and how they receive information. Many companies are sitting on a mountain of information; if they have a human resources information system, they are collecting data. But not every system is designed to provide information in a format that’s easily understood. Small and midsize businesses tend to miss that component because they can’t manage it internally — they need to leverage other resources.

One other trend is responding to requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). There’s considerable uncertainty and management is going to have to figure out the costs involved to make better decisions about health care, as well as how to stay in compliance. PPACA includes new requirements for benefit summaries and how information is presented to employees. There are also new reporting requirements for employers, and potential tax credits for some, while others may face penalties. In light of these complexities, organizations should leverage expertise, whether it’s through a vendor, a software system or hiring expertise in-house, to cope.

A third trend concerns attracting and retaining top talent. As the economy improves, the top talent that has been waiting on the sidelines the past few years will start looking for new opportunities. In order to prepare, companies first need to address how they manage their own top talent. Company management must convey to their employees how much it values them, whether it’s paying appropriately or developing them, and letting them know they have a future in the organization. In order to attract top outside talent, you need to evolve your company culture and find a way to brand your organization.

Do companies need help addressing these trends or can they be managed in-house?

Finding someone who can help leverage technology to understand how to manage benefits is always helpful. Particularly with the PPACA, small businesses are seeking outside help because the knowledge and expertise isn’t available in-house. Companies prefer to focus on growing their business, so finding a partner or system to accomplish these tasks is often the best solution, as outsourcing HR tasks can free up valuable resources and minimize risk.

Liz Brashears is director of Human Capital Consulting at TriNet, Inc. Reach her at (510) 352-5000 or liz.brashears@trinet.com.

Website: See how companies grow their business with workforce management.

Insights Human Resources Outsourcing is brought to you by TriNet, Inc.