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Don’t Just Survive, Thrive: Prioritizing Operational Agility in 2021

Jan 8, 2021

Operational Agility
Dave Barker

Dave Barker

Director, Global Market Intelligence & EMEA Operations

We welcome 2021 with a collective sigh of relief as the prospect of a fresh start breeds hope for revival in the new year. However, we must remind ourselves that the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting effects are not yet behind us. The good news is that we have found creative methods of sustaining and regrouping our workforces. Most organizations have kept their heads above the waters of 2020 by making strategic adaptations to their business models—be it expanding or refitting operations, implementing new product delivery initiatives, shifting in-person events to virtual events, leveraging new technology to complement remote working arrangements, or other calculated changes.   

Regardless of your industry, a large number of these adaptations will continue to persist. As mandates and guidelines constantly change, demand for your products and services fluctuates, and similar disruptions continue to cause chaos, operational agility is more important than ever—without it, your organization’s ability to survive, let alone thrive, in unpredictable environments is nearly impossible. To enable smart decision making and give your organization the best chance to embrace opportunity, you need solutions that will maximize productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, minimize unnecessary labor spend, unite the global organization, and increase the pace of innovation. 

Here are three scenarios that call for operational agility and how the right workforce management solution can help: 

1. Navigating Unexpected Challenges  

Plenty of unexpected challenges will require your organization to be a step ahead.

  • A natural disaster may require a rapid ramp-up in the deployment of technicians, equipment operators, and call center support.
  • A last-minute sales order for manufacturers may require an extra shift or line.
  • A parade or market event could affect the rate of foot traffic at a store location.

The right workforce management solution will help control unanticipated labor costs and keep your budgets on track by identifying gaps in coverage and quickly filling last-minute shifts with qualified employees. Your solution should also maintain compliance with all applicable laws and contractual obligations. This will help ease decision making on whether an overtime or contingent labor strategy would be a viable option to supplement the temporary spikes in demand rather than recruiting new workers.

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2. Adapting to New and Changing Circumstances  

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that change will remain a constant for the foreseeable future. What if you are tasked with the challenge of enforcing masks and other pandemic-related mandates, requiring additional staff to monitor local businesses and investigate complaints? What if your organization is facing an increase in demand for one of your offerings, requiring the rapid opening of a new location or expansion of a team?  

The right workforce management solution will predict required headcount with consistent accuracy as the future unfolds—whether the spike in demand is temporary or persistent. It should also be able to onboard a massive influx of new employees into your payroll system and ease the administrative overhead of new and changing legislation.  

3. Thinking Outside of the Box  

If your employees will be working from home long-term, they may benefit from a more flexible solution if you find that their work is truly task-based. Your employees’ schedules might also be affected by new tasks, such as curbside pickup, remote supervision of field crews, hybrid onsite/offsite shift models, and additional pandemic-spurred changes.  

The right workforce management solution will support job-driven scheduling and empower your employees to add tasks to their schedules, track productivity, and manage performance incentives for pay. It should also support diverse time capture options for easy transitions between onsite and offsite work as well as fatigue management for first responders and other essential workers experiencing burnout.  

Strengthening Operational Agility with a Workforce Management Solution

A quick and accurate response to new opportunities or disruptions is key to thriving in the year ahead, and a modern workforce management solution can optimize your organization’s operational agility by removing administrative burdens and inefficiencies. To discover more initiatives that will empower your organization thrive in the year ahead, download our free eBook, 5 Workforce Management Secrets to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond.  

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