How COVID-19 has Driven Workforce Management Technology

Erez Greenberg April 05, 2021

As part of the rapid transformation of the workplace, workforce management technology has taken a real leap in the past year. If you’re looking to keep the momentum going and continue to accelerate automation and innovation in the way you work, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Making a Cultural Change

Think about your organization and the changes that it has gone through since the start of 2020. Now ask yourself, what would you like to keep?

Some common shifts to consider, include:

  • A disparate workforce, with employees largely working from home, and even across different geographies.
  • Rapid upskilling, especially for low-tech employees who may never have worked virtually before.
  • Better technology, such as remote working tools, and communication and collaboration technologies.
  • Increased automation, to handle a drop in productivity or to address the economic impact of the pandemic.

Businesses have two potential paths to choose between. Some will attempt to return to old habits, working rigidly or from a single location, turning back the dial on automation, digitization, and innovation. Unfortunately, these organizations may well be left behind. BDO believes that the pandemic has proven once and for all that “organizations that embrace digital solutions have greater resiliency in the face of adversity—and a leg up on the competition that will enable them to recover faster and pivot from playing defence to chasing growth.”

The second path is to rise to the challenge, see these changes as an opportunity, and continue to look for smarter and more cost-effective ways of working that will prove to be a catalyst for business growth and expansion.

It’s important to recognize that this won’t happen by itself. It needs to be a conscious decision within your organization, and may even need a cultural shift. If so, your employees will expect guidance to come from the top. Look for digitalization partners who can facilitate this, providing expertise when necessary, and making change more palatable through tried and tested technology as well as support.

Improving Your Visibility Over a Global Workforce

One of the key takeaways from the pandemic is the importance of technology that helps you work from a distance, and keep your eye in the sky, even without a single office.

During COVID-19, there’s no doubt that it became harder for HR teams to stay on top of their workforce, which in many cases was a completely new challenge. Some businesses went from having everyone under their purview under the same roof, to having every employee on their payroll in a different location.

Suddenly, technology became essential. For employees and managers, collaboration platforms like Zoom and Slack became lifelines for communication. For project management and marketing, visual collaboration software such as Instagantt or Visme supported disparate teams in feeling like they were working more as a team. Help desk software and customer portals such as ZenDesk or Atera’s all in one Professional Services Automation and Remote Monitoring and Management mattered more than ever before for customer support.

At the back-end, administrators have had a lot to get up to speed with, including supporting and facilitating work from home capabilities, implementing government-mandated tracking and tracing capabilities for employee wellbeing (think apps like Appian Work Safety), and understanding how to manage compensation models dynamically in the middle of economic uncertainty. Even this one issue may include considerations such as travel stipends, bonuses, and sick pay or sick leave. Global workforce management technology had to adapt to suit.

These challenges made it essential for the first time to be able to see all employees from a single dashboard. By pulling together all your data into one unified console and platform, managers could move quicker, make smarter adaptations and make sure that no-one fell through the gaps. The data backs this up. In 2019, Gallagher’s HR Technology report showed that respondents were prioritizing talent attraction. In 2020, the main priorities became improving payroll, employee communications, and performance management systems.

The best HRIS capabilities will be able to encapsulate  many of these workforce management must-haves, from a single solution. Look for tools that allow you to see your whole workforce from a single screen, including each employee visualized based on who they report to, and where they sit within the organization, regardless of where they are physically based. This works perfectly for distributed teams, allowing you to make smart business decisions based on headcount, find the right member of staff quicker, and break down organizational silos to improve communication across the business.

A New Approach to the Idea of Disaster Recovery

The latest innovation in workforce management technology is also about planning for the future, and preparing for any potential disaster. If we asked you 18 months ago, you would likely say that a business disaster would be your servers going down, or your company being hit by a ransomware attack. Of course, security and physical disaster recovery are still important considerations, and should be included on your checklist of robust technology must-haves. However, today, the Sapiens Insights HR technology study showed a 20% increase in respondents who say that they “actively practice a culture of change management.” We want to be ready for anything.

Organizations want to learn from the pandemic, and put systems and tools in place that understand this new risk. With little warning, you might need to handle a remote workforce, so the question is – what could have made this easier? Interestingly, those who said they have a continuous change management approach in place also were 40% more likely to view HR as a strategic business partner, showing that managers are looking to HR to lead the change.

As a result of this new focus, many businesses may want to revisit their automation and digitization roadmaps to get up to speed faster than planned. For example, those who already had data and BI processes in place pre-pandemic, leveraging tools such as Sisense for analytics or the YellowFin suite for storytelling and collaboration, had more usable data that could be leveraged during 2020, or used for actionable reporting and analytics. This became a key differentiator. If you are trying to put a change management culture in place, and you don’t have the right systems and tools to handle an organizational disruption, you may suddenly feel the same way as you would without adequate data backups or firewalls in place. Exposed.

Digital Transformation Has Revolutionized Your Working Life – Don’t Let People and Payroll Fall Behind

At Papaya Global, we understand the need for a strategic, pivotal shift in the way that your employee and payroll management is governed. Our complete workforce management platform is built with digital transformation in mind, to help organizations keep change management, agile working practices, and the streamlining of global business front and center.

COVID-19 taught us so much about what we’re capable of as organizations, making quick adaptations to thrive, even under extreme pressure. If you’re ready to put foundational technology in place that ensures you’re ready for whatever comes next, and create a model for global payroll built on future-focused best-practices, let’s schedule a call.

Papaya Global payroll platform lets you:

  • Automate payroll with zero processing errors
  • Manage global payroll, PEO & contractors via one platform
  • Make cross-border payments in 140+ countries