HR Tech Interview With Nicole Neumarker, CTO at WorkForce Software

Journey into Tech

Hi Nicole, Please tell us about your role in WorkForce Software and what your company offers.

I am the Chief Technology Officer at WorkForce Software, overseeing the company’s software development and leading the definition of our innovation goals, product strategy and delivery roadmap. WorkForce Software is the first global provider of workforce management solutions with integrated employee experience capabilities.

Our WorkForce Suite adapts to each organization’s needs—no matter how unique their pay rules, labor regulations, and schedules—while delivering a breakthrough employee experience at the time and place work happens. Enterprise-grade and future-ready, WorkForce Software is helping some of the world’s largest and most innovative organizations optimize their workforce, protect against compliance risks, and increase employee engagement to unlock potential for resiliency and optimal performance.

Workplace culture has changed so much since 2020. Are organizations up to mark with their employee management strategies?

The world of work is constantly adapting but despite advances in technology and high adoption in the use of technology in our personal lives, a surprising number of organizations still run their companies as if they were in the 1990s – with manual processes or legacy HR and payroll platforms. Not only are these methods more prone to error and security breaches, but they are outdated when compared to the consumer-grade applications workers use daily for social media, banking, shopping, and entertainment. In an age where much of our lives are managed quite smoothly online, it makes little sense for companies to continue operating with manual systems and barriers to user experience and productivity. If businesses want to remain competitive in 2023, and retain their staff in the process, they need to upgrade their operational systems and their workforce management tech and meet the needs of users.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Arnaud Devigne, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Jobgether

Most organizations showcase themselves as digital-first entities. Could you please highlight the key elements that an organization should have to be formally recognized as a truly digital-native organization?

Implementing workforce management systems is an essential element for a digital-native organization, ensuring the most up-to-date technology in the workplace. Not only do they provide a variety of employee experience tools and HR tech solutions accessible from a phone, they help employers be aware of their workforce and give employees the opportunity to be more in control, productive and efficient. What’s more, workforce management systems provide direct messaging capabilities for two-way communication between managers and team members, and for colleagues to easily reach each other. This creates an environment where employees can serve their information needs in a similar way as they do in their personal lives.

These systems allow workers to freely ask questions, easily receive and share information, and be actively informed – no matter where they are located or when they are working – and provide access to resources that cut down on wasted time. Companies can also be provided with real-time sentiment analysis, scheduling trends (late arrivals, overtime patterns, absenteeism), conditions leading to safety issues, and other data about their employees, allowing managers to take appropriate action to improve the day-to-day work experience and proactively address issues before they get worse. For instance, fatigue management systems can monitor hours worked, tasks performed, breaks taken, and time off scheduled to flag employees that may be at risk of becoming burned out or who are at a higher safety risk. Tools like instant mobile surveys that gather employee feedback in the moment are also available, making it easy for managers to then take action on adaptations employees want.

How do technologies help companies acquire better talent and retain them longer?

By 2025, Millennials and Gen Z will make up two-thirds of all workers. These individuals were born and raised digital natives, with high expectations for the availability of information, ease of use, personalization of their work experience and often skeptical of their company’s technology choices. Gen X, while not raised with tablets and smartphones, were raised with personal computers (and later, the internet) and are generally quite comfortable with new technologies. Even many of the Silent Generation have adopted smartphones and mobile apps and are inclined to use them daily. In the current workforce, workers of all ages and generations are aware of the value technology has on making it easier for them to perform their daily tasks, stay connected with the team members, and create an overall better employee experience.

Technology can be a critical enabler for every company’s success.

Having the ability to adapt in the HR technology industry is becoming a competitive differentiator as the industry rapidly evolves along with employees’ changing needs. If employers are not modernizing and providing employees with digital management and communication tools from their phones, they will end up having a workforce with low engagement and productivity, and eventually lose great talent.

Does the use of technology truly bring in flexibility of work to employees?

If yes, could you highlight some examples for our HRTech readers?

Smart employers are understanding the importance of listening to what their workforce needs – especially the deskless workforce – and the significance of investing in technology to improve scheduling flexibility. Technology provides deskless workers the opportunity to have more flexibility and control over their schedules so they can coordinate personal and/or work obligations themselves, submit time-off requests, and even have easy access to shift swapping. For example, retail employees who have easy, tech-enabled access to information won’t have to waste time after their shift looking around the break room for printouts of work-related updates to see the following week’s work schedule; they can just check their phone as they are walking to their car or once they get home. Another example is when a healthcare worker is scheduled for the morning shift but his/her child is sick and a babysitter can’t be found at the last minute.

Through the technology system, they can go into the accessible calendar and request a shift swap with another worker who is scheduled for a later shift, without needing their manager’s approval. Implementing this technology affords employees a better work-life balance and also makes time to deal with personal and professional obligations when they arise.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Chris Havrilla, Vice President, Product Strategy, Talent at Oracle

AI and automation have emerged as the go-to technologies for organizations to transform their HR business operations. Could you please give some solid examples from your industry that show the power of AI and automation for workforce management?

Real-time data and advanced analytics and automation can be leveraged to automate many tasks that are often performed by frontline managers. For example, automating vacation request approvals when specific conditions are met, automating scheduling, or automatically filling open scheduling shifts can be accomplished even when complex skills or union rules govern allocation of labor. Performing sentiment analysis across employee data sets to proactively address employee concerns, or using large datasets to analyze conditions that may lead to safety issues can also be used to proactively reduce the chance of incidents.

Machine Learning algorithms benefit from large data sets like those we have in our time and attendance capabilities. Leveraging historical time and attendance data, augmenting with external data such as weather data or customer demand data makes possible the build out of some practical operational data models for aligning people to schedules.

Digital assistants and natural language processing can be used to respond to common questions, freeing time for HR professionals to prioritize higher value tasks. Automating manager and employee connections and feedback loops can also be accommodated with analytics and automation. For example, detecting when an employee has worked a significant amount of overtime and then automating an employee wellness survey to see if the employee is happy to earn extra income or is struggling with the unpredictable schedule. Based on their response, the employer can then leave or remove that employee from overtime rotation.

What’s the product roadmap for your company in 2023-2024?

WorkForce Software has a robust roadmap for 2023, continuing to enhance its industry leading time and attendance, scheduling and employee communication solutions.  As more companies seek to improve employee experience and engage their workers, continuous improvements in ease of use, usability, and mobile access for employees and managers is a focus. For deskless workers, flexible scheduling and control have become increasingly important.

Mobile access to scheduling data, shift swapping, schedule “unavailability” and more dynamic scheduling options continue to be enhanced.

As the first provider of workforce management solutions with integrated employee communications, we are continuing to enhance our platform integration capabilities to enable data integrations that can trigger communications and interactions.  For example, a manufacturer may have data about production quotas that could be used to generate messages between managers and employees – congratulating teams for meeting production targets or surveying employees on improvements that can be made when targets are missed.

As the number of regulations governing workforce practices and policies continue to increase, especially for global employers, continuing to enhance our global rules templates to speed the implementation of changes for large employers also features as part of our roadmap.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Christopher Kenessey, Chief Executive Officer at AlertMedia

How do you focus on enhancing CX for your customers? What lessons have you learned from the recent events that influence customer experience management for technology companies?

Personalizing customer experience and anticipating customer needs are top focus areas for technology companies. Using the same techniques we use to design user experience with our software, we are looking at the end-to-end customer experience we are delivering to companies we serve.  Increasing opportunities for self-service, providing customers with ‘what to expect next’ based on where they are in their customer journey, and leveraging data about feature usage and adoption, we can provide information to customers about best practices and how to get more value from the investments they have made in our solutions.

At WorkForce Software, we are building new capabilities to personalize customer experiences by role.  For example, displaying information relevant to their account and role, like training classes that are applicable to them or knowledgebase articles for the products they own, rather than having them navigate through all our content. Providing personalized information subscriptions so individuals only receive communications that are relevant to them, and providing proactive alerts across multiple channels to keep them informed in a way that meets their needs are currently being enhanced.

Thank you, Nicole! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at

Nicole Neumarker is a thoughtful, decisive TECHNOLOGY, FINANCE, AND OPERATIONS LEADER with over 20 years’ experience setting strategic direction, leading people, and ensuring results.

Her expertise ranges from reengineering small local to large global companies and implementing operational infrastructure to increase collaboration and function.

Experience overseeing major mergers and acquisitions, leading companies through full, seamless technical integration.

WorkForce Software is the first global provider of workforce management solutions with integrated employee experience capabilities. The company’s WorkForce Suite adapts to each organization’s needs—no matter how unique their pay rules, labor regulations, and schedules—while delivering a breakthrough employee experience at the time and place work happens. Enterprise-grade and future-ready, WorkForce Software is helping some of the world’s most innovative organizations optimize their workforce, protect against compliance risks, and increase employee engagement to unlock new potential for resiliency and optimal performance.

Employee EngagementHR ProfessionalsHR Technologymachine learningpayroll platformsWorkforce ManagementWorkForce Software