Do international groups get enough value out of local Workforce Management systems for T&A and staff rostering? Survey points to new aspects of the benefits of an internationally dimensioned Workforce Management solution in the form of strengthened follow-up, higher employee dedication and increased employee mobility.
By now, international groups have many years' experience with digital solutions for time registration and staff rostering among the company's employees.
Many of the solutions are characterised by a portfolio of different and country-specific systems which are solely developed and implemented to comply with the regulatory framework in the labour market of the country in question.
Fundamentally, this means that it is both more expensive and less flexible to work with local Workforce Management systems than to have a common and internationally dimensioned solution across the group.
Many local solutions also make it far more difficult for the company to report trustworthy and uniform management information about productivity developments and implement fair processes for follow-up across countries and locations.
These advantages – and others – have previously been condensed into four advantages of an international Workforce Management solution.
Subsequently we have asked both an American Workforce Management expert and a number of experienced ProMark users to critically examine the four advantages and give their personal evaluation of them.
Their feedback shows general consensus in the four advantages, which were also supplemented with a couple of interesting observations.
Higher employee dedication and improved follow-up processes
Comparable management information and the synergies of a common international Workforce Management platform are on the top of the list as the most important advantages.
American Mollie Lombardi is an expert and researcher in Workforce Management. Generally speaking, she assesses that internationally comparable management information is the most important of the four advantages: "Of course this depends on the eye of the beholder. But seen from the employees’ perspective, there is an additional advantage in that visible data across the group greatly improves employee satisfaction".
Her American study at Aptitude Research Partners indicates that organisations with visible productivity data for the workforce across locations and geographical positions are much more likely to point to greater employee dedication than the average for the industry. In addition, the organisations also state that they have a considerably lower staff turnover than organisations without such a high degree of visibility.
Ulla Amtoft is HR Manager at Coor Service Management, which is a Nordic facility management supplier. She also agrees that it is an advantage to have a uniform basis for comparison and adds: "Having a uniform basis for comparison provides better opportunities for improving follow-up processes".
Follow-up is an absolutely crucial element of Workforce Management. It is crucial for the staff dedication and their support of the data collection and for changing inopportune circumstances which impair the company’s productivity.
In this context payroll administrator Maria Gheorghe at food company KLS Ugglarps assesses that key figures and learning are closely related: "Enabling executives to compare key figures is also important in order to learn from each other and improve local conditions".
Common platforms increase global staff mobility
A common platform and a uniform "language" within Workforce Management greatly facilitate international roll-outs and implementations of systems and processes once the system has been commissioned in one country.
Ulla Amtoft from Coor also emphasises the advantages of simpler integration and harmonisation with new systems in the company: "It is easier to implement a new system if the system has been used in another country within the group. This means that experiences and needs for adaptation to other systems have already been obtained.
Another extremely important point was made by Steinar Gundersen at Aker Solutions. He is leading the handling of the group's data collection and information systems including ProMark and SAP. He assesses that: "When employees move from country to country or from one location to another, it is a great advantage for them to encounter the same solutions. This increases our flexibility in carrying out our work".
His point is that the group's specialists and experts can familiarise themselves with the work processes and use the systems on equal terms with other personnel, regardless of whether any given order is processed in Norway or Angola.
Reduced costs, less administration
Reliable Workforce Management solutions are complex systems which gather and process the organisation's payroll and productivity data in accordance with the applicable rules, collective agreements and local labour market conditions.
Therefore, only very few suppliers can provide an internationally dimensioned Workforce Management solution which can encompass several countries' local market conditions.
ProMark is a professional Workforce Management solution which is designed to manage and optimize both local and international processes for time registration and staff rostering, regardless of local framework conditions.
"Our significant investment in product development and continuous input from our customers mean that we can offer an internationally scalable Workforce Management solution, where the complexity in "the system engine" is converted to user-friendly data collection, administration and management reporting across countries and locations”, says Torkel Olrik, CEO, Mark Information.
If you are considering replacing your current solution for time registration and staff rostering in all or parts of the group, we recommend examining the group's agreements and costs for local systems.
It often turns out that the total IT costs for each country's systems and support agreements exceed the total costs of a centrally administered and internationally scalable Workforce Management solution.
Talking of centralised and scalable IT contracts Steinar Gundersen assesses: "Standardisation of applications makes decisions easier and creates economies of scale”.
If this sounds interesting to you and you would like to learn more, let us take a look at your options.