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A key component of workforce management software is to aid in scheduling and tracking time and attendance, streamlining interactions between managers and employees regarding these aspects of the job and promoting compliance with corporate and regulatory policies. WorkForce Software has been growing rapidly over the last decade while meeting these needs with an application suite that covers issues from leave management to case management. Its product helps businesses deal with overlapping regulations from federal and state governments, union contracts and corporate-level policies, and is being deployed in industries such as education, utilities, banking, the public sector, entertainment and transportation, especially in midsize organizations looking for workforce efficiency. The company is expanding its global reach through its partners and distribution channel.  

The WorkForce Software application suite is built around EmpCenter and is available in several deployment modes: in the cloud through software as a service, licensed and installed on-premises or run in a hosted environment. The suite covers time and attendance, absence compliance, advanced scheduling, employee fatigue management and analytics. The Web-based application suite has a user-friendly interface. It includes a variety of data collection options for gaining time and attendance information from a range of existing technologies. It supports interactive voice response (IVR) as another means to get information from employees. WorkForce Software also provides a product for midsize organizations called EmpCenter Express that was announced earlier in 2011.

WorkForce Software now provides access to its software via mobile technology on smartphone platforms including RIM Blackberry, Apple iPhone and Android-based devices through EmpCenter ToGo. The software makes it easy for managers to see work-related information, updates from employees and required approvals. I expect to see further advances in mobility as the variety of tablets and smartphones continues to expand, forcing organizations to support a broader set of choices in employees’ personal devices. I tried to access the applications from my iPhone and its App Store, but it’s not easy to find; it is part of what is called Vortex Connect, which houses the application and access to EmpCenter. I found no freely accessible demonstration available to try, but the screenshots and reviews make the software look simple, with the ability to perform a range of employee and manager tasks. 

Our workforce analytics benchmark research found that people in organizations spend two-thirds of their time on data-related activities that require automation. Toward this end WorkForce Software provides a packaged library of reports in EmpCenter Analytics and offers the ability to build reports using SAP Crystal Reports technology. It also supports a common data store into which users can import other business-related data about employees and supporting accounting and operational data. The analytics software can show customized views that highlight critical exceptions. I advise the company to make these analytics and metrics available via mobile devices in future releases.  

WorkForce Software also addresses an issue sometimes overlooked: worker fatigue that can come from not enough time off between shifts or other causes managers notice. Handling this is critical in every industry but especially in ones where workers can impact other people through direct action, such as healthcare, transportation or energy, or indirectly through guidance, as in the airline industry and emergency response. WorkForce Software has blended into EmpCenter FM a means to ensure that employees designated fatigued cannot be scheduled, along with auditing and compliance features. 

WorkForce Software is meeting the needs of global customers by supporting localization of applications in other languages, including those that use double-byte characters in Asia Pacific and ones that require right-to-left reading. The current version 8.1 is expected to be supplanted by a new version before the end of the year with new capabilities but a continued focus on usability and functionality. 

WorkForce Software offers a solid foundation of customer- and team-focused applications for workforce management. We will look at it again in upcoming benchmark research on the next generation of workforce management processes and applications, with a focus on collaboration and mobility among managers and employees. The company competes in workforce management with suppliers such as DayForce, Infor and Kronos. WorkForce Software’s ability to manage worker fatigue and policy compliance are distinguishing points of its applications, as is easy mobile access to the application suite across multiple devices. If you are considering adopting workforce management applications, we advise you to put WorkForce Software on your list of providers. 

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

To retain talent, organizations must ensure that their workforce’s compensation is comparable to that of their industry peers. As part of this effort, they should integrate compensation reviews with goal and performance reviews to ensure employees are paid their fair market value; otherwise the best talent will become a flight risk. Many organizations understand this; in our performance management for talent management benchmark research, two-thirds said they want to integrate compensation with the review process. But most companies have more to do; they need to establish a continuous process that compares all information on new hires, promotions and market events, at least as part of an annual performance review or preferably every quarter. They should not delay change until employee feedback or exit interviews indicate that being underpaid is a primary reason for people leaving.  

Mercer, which provides information, software and consulting, has helped organizations in the area of compensation for 25 years, since personal computers led to benchmarks being developed and automated. Today, the company’s ePrism compensation application focuses on market pricing of positions, surveys, analytics, pay structures and supporting the salary planning process. Hundreds of customers commit their compensation benchmarking and salary planning activities to ePrism. While robust, the application is ready for a new look and feel so it can join the era of Web-based applications. 

Mercer is introducing a new application called Mercer WIN that uses current technology to provide a simpler user experience for accessing and searching market data for comparison and review. It includes more than 400 surveys of data. It makes it easy to compare a company’s jobs and pay with that of others in the industry. Mercer can help do the comparisons and search on them geographically. Planned enhancements to the application include direct methods to manage market libraries, employees and jobs from within the application. With Mercer WIN, companies can add incremental value throughout a year to hiring and succession efforts or exception reviews. 

Organizations that want to optimize their compensation management processes and ensure effective design and strategy of them through benchmarking and aligning salary structures should look at Mercer WIN. Our total compensation management benchmark research found that for 24 percent of organizations it is critical to integrate salary benchmarking with compensation processes. That percentage also reveals that many organizations have not implemented salary benchmarking, but people in management ranked it one of the top five capabilities needed; 75 percent of organizations ranked it important or very important. Mercer WIN can be used not just as part of an annual review process but for any hiring or promotion event, which could happen at any time.  

I was impressed with the new application and Mercer’s roadmap, but I would like to see this company work more closely with compensation management application providers such as those that we evaluated and ranked in our Value Index for Total Compensation Management. Mercer is one of the key and long-standing provider in salary and compensation benchmarking, and its contributions should be considered as part of any talent management and total compensation management effort. 

Regards, 

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Mark Smith – Twitter

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