Are you looking for an efficient way to optimize your workforce, increase productivity, and reduce costs? If so, you may benefit from using software that provides insight into employee performance to improve operational efficiency and help with better resource utilization.
Workforce optimization software helps human resource professionals streamline employee management, assisting with tasks like scheduling, skill gap planning, and more. Keep reading to learn more about how this software is used in the construction industry and why it’s becoming an increasingly important tool for construction resource managers to master.
What is workforce optimization software?
Workforce optimization software (also called WFO software) describes any computer program to streamline employer scheduling, training, and overall management.
Bridgit Bench is a classic example that allows construction professionals to:
- Track virtually all imaginable data related to personnel and projects using custom fields
- Generate workforce reports in a variety of formats
- Visualize skill gaps
- Integrate with other workforce optimization tools to create a custom suite
To build on that last point, workforce optimization solutions don’t have to be standalone pieces of software. Many construction companies actually find the most efficient solution is a result of combining several systems.
Must-have features of any workplace optimization software suite
If you’re wondering why so many companies prefer assembling their workplace optimization software suite rather than choosing a single off-the-shelf solution, the following list may shed some light. A good workforce optimization suite should feature:
- Employee scheduling
- Employee performance tracking
- Skill gap monitoring
- Time tracking
- Streamlined communications (i.e., the ability to share data and reports easily)
It’s very difficult to find a single piece of software that provides all these features to every company’s liking.
Check out our article on popular construction workforce optimization tools and how they come together to create a great suite.
Is workforce optimization software different from workforce management software?
If you’ve read our workforce management guide, you may wonder whether these two technologies overlap. For many practical purposes in construction, they do. Consequently, you’ll hear the terms used interchangeably quite often.
Some human resource professionals, however, prefer to think of workforce optimization as a more analytical discipline revolving around monitoring the minutiae of every employee’s behavior. Some call centers, for example, use workforce optimization tools that record and analyze employees’ voices to gauge their performance.
A construction worker’s job is quite different from that of a call center employee, however, so workforce optimization understandably differs there and may look more like what professionals in other industries call workforce management.
Top strategies for workforce optimization
Here are the top strategies that workforce optimization software assists with.
Optimizing scheduling processes
Optimizing scheduling processes allows professionals to create more efficient schedules for personnel and projects. By using data-driven methods to analyze employee availability, skill sets, labor costs, and other factors, construction professionals can organize their workforce appropriately to maximize efficiency and avoid costly delays or staffing issues.
Visualizing skill gaps is also critical for optimizing scheduling processes, and software can greatly help in this regard. The result is quicker identification of where staff may be over- or underutilized to adjust schedules accordingly.
Plus, the ability to track virtually any data with a workforce optimization system through custom fields further enhances optimization efforts by providing a better understanding of personnel availability.
Giving employees the tools they need
Giving employees the tools they need to succeed is necessary for any successful construction organization. Workforce optimization provides workers with access to performance-tracking and time-tracking features, allowing workers to stay on top of their workloads.
The data generated from these features can then be used to streamline operations further and ensure that resources are allocated to tasks that can be completed on time and within budget.
Maximizing performance and task efficiency
Maximizing performance and task efficiency is a key component of workforce optimization in construction. With advanced analytics capabilities, employee data can be analyzed on an individual or team level to understand their performance better. This allows them to identify areas where operations may be inefficient and adjust accordingly.
Workforce optimization software also helps with task assignments and tracking. With this capability, tasks can be assigned to specific personnel based on their skill sets and availability and set project deadlines.
The data from these assignments helps better understand which tasks are taking longer or shorter than expected and why that might be the case. This allows them to adjust accordingly to maximize efficiency and keep projects on track.
Improve employee-manager communication
Effective communication between managers and employees is essential. To improve communication, provide personnel with the right communication tools. This may include, for example, messaging platforms and video conferencing.
Workforce optimization solutions, in particular, help managers stay up-to-date with progress. By providing them with detailed analytics, you can quickly and easily track the performance of each worker and make informed decisions about how to utilize resources best. This allows a better understanding of which tasks are taking longer than expected or which need more assistance to move forward.
Optimizing cost-effectiveness is an important part of workforce optimization in construction. With the use of software, you can track and analyze expenses associated with personnel to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately. They can then identify areas where costs may be too high or inefficient and adjust accordingly.
You can also use workforce optimization software to stay informed of upcoming expenses associated with personnel. By setting deadlines for tasks and tracking progress, you can better understand when additional resources may be needed for a project or when overtime costs may be necessary. Better visibility means more effective management of budgets.
Benefits of using workforce optimization software in construction
The construction industry has been notoriously slow to adopt new technology. Many companies still use Excel spreadsheets to track employee scheduling and other important metrics.
To these firms, the software may sound like just another shiny object that will take time and money to set up while providing little benefit. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of using workforce optimization solutions.
Increased employee satisfaction
While learning a new piece of software certainly presents some challenges, many employees actually find themselves happier in the long run. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that hardworking employees will feel their effort is being properly attributed.
Without proper workforce optimization systems in place, an employee’s hard work can often seemingly disappear into the void, making them feel under-appreciated.
Increased employee productivity
Of course, not all employees are productive. Software introduces additional accountability, letting workers know that certain behaviors (i.e., buddy punching, a common construction issue that can be solved with tracking software) won’t go unnoticed.
Many rules, regulations, and unions govern the construction industry. The software keeps data more organized and accessible in the event of an emergency.
Increased efficiency while working remotely
Construction professionals not required to be physically present on job sites can feasibly switch to remote work, though this has workforce data management implications. Workforce optimization software can help by removing the need for workers to email sensitive documents back and forth, creating a single source of truth that can be accessed from the cloud anywhere.
Reduce the prevalence of human error
When workforce management decisions are made without accurate data, things can go drastically wrong. Workers might be scheduled inefficiently, and skill gaps might go unnoticed—the list goes on.
Reduce burnout among workforce optimization professionals
The professionals responsible for workforce optimization typically bring tremendous expertise to their work, especially if they’ve been with a particular company for many years. They likely know the company’s workforce needs inside out.
When the success of a company’s workforce management plan hinges solely on these professionals being able to manage and analyze tons of data intuitively, burnout can occur. They may be unable to take time off without worrying about a mountain of catch-up work waiting for them when they return.
Workforce optimization software can greatly reduce this stress by offloading much of the data organization and tracking duties.
Tips for choosing the right workforce optimization software suite
Next, let’s discuss tips for choosing the right workforce optimization tools for your company’s needs.
Consult key stakeholders
Any new workforce optimization program will affect many people at your company. Be sure to consult as many relevant stakeholders as possible, ultimately increasing the likelihood of your software purchase amounting to a great investment.
Try before you buy
Most workforce optimization tools (including Bridgit Bench) offer free demos that you can use to gauge whether the program is right for you. Take advantage of these demos; you won’t know whether a program suits your company’s needs until you (and a few other stakeholders) try it out.
Our clients often experience simplified resource planning by converting their system interfaces to Bridgit Bench.
Consider your entire tech stack
As mentioned earlier, a single workforce optimization solution is unlikely to meet all of your company’s needs. If you have applications you’re already using, don’t just assume they’ll integrate nicely with another piece of software. Look into (or inquire about) the actual integration.
Bridgit Bench is your solution to workforce optimization
Are you looking to integrate a workforce optimization system into your operations? Bridgit Bench is an organizational dashboard that effectively tracks project progress and manages construction personnel. Using our platform, you plan your workforce strategically while growing and retaining top talent.
Request a demo of Bridgit Bench today.