Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

TecHRseries Interview with Mike Morini, CEO at Workforce Software

The year 2020 has forced businesses to not only realize the importance of having processes that allow for the rapid enforcement of overnight changes when necessary, it has made leaders understand the need for implementing and optimizing workforce management systems to support associated challenges like employee safety. Mike Morini, CEO at Workforce Software talks about these changing trends in this QnA with us at TecHRseries:

_____

Tell us a little about yourself Mike…we’d also love to hear about Workforce Software’s recent partnership with AspireHR?

I am the CEO of WorkForce Software and a 30+ year software veteran. I have helped shape and guide multiple fast-growth companies in CEO, president and COO roles.

WorkForce had one of its most successful years in 2020, partly due to our growing relationships with partners like AspireHR.  Workforce management is a strategic pillar of the HR stack and our partners help customers get the full value of integrating workforce management with their HR and Payroll systems.  AspireHR understands the value WorkForce Software delivers and its depth of experience with SAP and SuccessFactors will help us bring our solutions to more organizations and ensure that they get the most out of their HR digital transformations.

HR Technology News: TecHRseries Interview with Lars Hyland, Chief Learning Officer of Totara

We’d love to hear about some of the changing demands and needs of today’s (largely remote) workforce and how you’re seeing businesses successfully use technologies (workplace technologies, work tech, HR tech) to create a seamless employee work experience?

 There is a lot of conversation about remote work, but many people forget that more than half of the workforce cannot work from home, and in today’s environment, managing onsite workers is especially challenging.  Many of these workers are paid hourly which involves unique pay rules, compliance obligations, and scheduling needs.  And now we have the added pandemic requirements of employee safety, unpredictable staff availability, and constantly changing regulations.

When the COVID-19 hit, companies quickly learned how flexible their systems were (or were not) to handle this new reality. New labor laws went into effect almost overnight – and are still changing constantly – and HR departments were scrambling to figure out how to make sure they were compliant with the new rules. Hazard pay and staffing requirements needed to be adjusted frequently and with little notice as the environment changed.  These experiences have made more companies realize the importance of a robust and flexible workforce management system that can quickly and easily adapt to sudden change and ensure compliance.

While HR Tech and Tech innovators have responded to the 2020 global pandemic crisis in different ways – productivity and workplace apps have been at the forefront – can you share a few other ways in which HR Tech innovators (globally) have enabled business success during this new normal?

 Workforce management systems have played a big role in supporting employee safety, well-being, and work/life balance during the pandemic.  Companies are starting to automate pre-shift health screens into their time management systems to check in with workers a few hours before their shifts start to ensure that they are healthy before showing up at work.  With more unexpected changes in everyone’s schedules, due to health or taking care of family members, self-service shift swaps allow employees to manage their own schedules when emergencies arise and find co-workers to cover for them.  Automated scheduling tools can ensure that on-site staff meets COVID capacity restrictions and that there is enough time planned between shifts to avoid congestion.  Workforce management systems are also valuable tools for contract tracing if a worker is exposed to COVID-19.

Time and attendance systems are also being used to support employee well-being by paying out incentives like a bonuses or a free lunch to employees who come in to work 7 days in a row or by supporting time off balance donations to co-workers who need to take mandated quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.  These extra programs and benefits can be automated with a workforce management system and can go a long way towards showing workers that they are valued for the risks they are taking by working on site through the pandemic.

As HR leaders respond to the business needs of the new normal; what are some of the top thoughts you’d share with them when it comes to implementing HR Tech or new productivity apps to drive business goals?

 McKinsey recently reported that many companies are accelerating their digital transformation and we are definitely seeing this in the workforce management space.  All organizations need to make decisions about where they prioritize their investments and it’s important to create a business case and identify where you will see the most value.  Workforce management systems have been shown to have the highest return on investment of all HR technology solutions, and sometimes that ROI can fund an entire HR transformation project.

Make sure your technology is flexible enough to support the rapidly changing business environment we will be in for the foreseeable future, and that it can grow with your company.  And if you haven’t made the move to the cloud, now is the time.  Cloud systems not only reduce your infrastructure costs, but they give you flexibility to size up and down, and allow you to innovate more quickly.  In today’s business climate, you need agile, modern, technology platforms.

HR Technology News: How Office Gift-Giving Has Changed In A World Of Remote Work

What are some of the top tech trends you feel will influence the future of work in 2021 and beyond?

Technology will have a larger role in building employee experiences. Employees log in to their workforce management systems multiple times a day, more than any other HR system.  This is an interaction point that can be leveraged to improve the overall work experience.  For example, when an employee has worked many unplanned overtime shifts, a survey can be triggered to ask how they are feeling about the unplanned work.  Managers can use this real-time feedback to know when to follow up with employees who might need support.  Scheduling systems can automatically pair new employees with more experienced staff to support training and development.  In the future, we will start to see many more applications of workforce management tools to create a more human workplace and improve the workplace experience.

We will continue to innovate with new technologies. Workforce management is rapidly evolving beyond the automation of day-to-day transactions.  Leaders are looking for tools to provide better insights that drive improved decision-making and if possible, make those decisions for them. Technologies like artificial intelligence can ensure the most important tasks are at the top of an employee’s self-service dashboard, send out alerts before compliance issues arise, or automatically fill open shifts based on union rules and staffing requirements. Modern scheduling systems that use emerging technology like machine learning can automatically generate efficient schedules that minimize labor costs and then adjust them based on new data.  We are investing in tools like these at WorkForce Software because we believe they are essential to large businesses’ success.

Before we wrap up, we’d love to hear a little about some of your highlights from 2020 (employee culture initiatives taken during Covid-19, special initiatives for partners and customers, at Workforce Software)!

When the pandemic hit last Spring, we had to make some hard decisions.  We weren’t sure how our business would be impacted by COVID so we implemented temporary pay cuts and furloughs to avoid more permanent lay-offs. We were completely transparent with the company about why we made those decisions and kept everyone up to date on how the business was doing as we moved through the summer.  Our team worked hard and supported each other in challenging times.  Our business ended up thriving, despite the pandemic, and we were able to bring back 97% of our staff and pay back salary cuts earlier than expected. This year taught us how important transparency is to foster a good corporate culture and employee retention. Leaders must communicate openly and frequently and lead with empathy, especially now that work and personal lives are more blended than ever.

We also implemented a weekly story-time program this summer, where an executive read stories to our employees’ families, remotely, to give them a break in their day. It was a huge hit and our employees appreciated the personal connection with our leadership team. We expanded the program to include one of our charity partners Merging Vets and Players (MVP), and brought in veterans and professional athletes to read stories as surprise guests, which was a lot of fun. WorkForce Software really wanted to support our hardworking team and show them that we empathize with the tough situation they are facing.

This fall we were rated #15 on Comparably’s List of Top 100 Companies for Work Life balance. We are very proud of this rating and it shows that our investment in benefits like unlimited time off and fitness reimbursements, as well as the flexibility and trust we have built in to our culture, are appreciated by our employees and that they know we care about and want to invest in them.

And lastly, a few of your biggest takeaways and tips on working effectively from anywhere…for global teams.

I have always been a huge fan of video calls for meetings when you can’t meet in person.  It is a much more personal interaction than just phone calls when working with a remote team. We are a global company at Workforce Software, so part of our workforce has always been connecting virtually.  But this year, more people are turning on their cameras as a rule, rather than an exception. Teams are also becoming much more casual as their work, home lives are blended on camera, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s important to be professional and productive, but I think all companies will see a happier more connected global workforce with the increase of video conferencing and more understanding about the challenges of working from home.

The new remote work environment has forced many managers to trust their employees more.  In some of our offices, working from home was less common and many managers believed their employees needed to be in the office to be productive.  Now that everyone is remote, employees have to make sure they are transparent about what they are working on and deliver results, but once they build that trust with their managers, they can have the flexibility that remote work brings.

It all comes down to transparency and connection.  Stay connected to colleagues and make sure your manager and your employees know what is going on.  This can be harder remotely so definitely err on the side of over communicating, rather than under communicating.  If you need help reach out.  Make sure you check in with your team frequently and ask them how they are doing.  It can be easy to burn out when there the lines of home and work are blurred so make sure you and your team are getting the work done, but also taking the personal time you need, especially as this pandemic continues to add stress to our daily lives.

HR Technology News: TecHRseries Interview with James Norwood, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at isolved

workforcesoftware

Workforce Software is a leading provider of cloud-based workforce management solutions.  The WorkForce Suite helps organizations manage employee time and attendance, absence management scheduling, labor forecasting, and workforce compliance.  Our differentiator in the workforce management space is our powerful rules-based engine that be configured to support our customer’s unique workforce requirements. We are also the only remaining vendor purely focused on workforce management for large enterprise customers, partnering with all of the large HCM vendors like SAP, Oracle, and Workday who manage HR and Payroll.

Mike Morini is the CEO at Workforce Software

There’s A lot to Uncover From Our Recent Episodes of The SalesStar Podcast: Hear More: