Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have the power to unlock the untapped potential of workforce management. Scheduling has been an integral part of planning. Are your resources being utilized most optimally? How can AI help you create a leaner schedule which maximizes your employee engagement?
We encounter AI in our daily lives, whether through autonomous vehicles or hyper-personalization in Netflix or engaging with smart home devices controlling various aspects like ambient temperature and light autonomously. Workforce management focused on scheduled optimization is an area that has mostly been untouched until recently. Artificial Intelligence, along with Machine Learning, creates business value through continuous automated improvements by generating accurate forecasts and predictions. It is essential to set up efficient work schedules to keep up with the ebb and flow of demands. Since there is a constant fluctuation in demand, workforce scheduling needs to be equally dynamic.
Weave Workforce, an AI based workforce management software company, has introduced an intelligent demand forecasting and staffing recommendation engine. This advanced AI engine can consume thousands of data points reflecting past workloads and predict the future anticipated volume of work so organizations can right-size their support teams.
When you are not employing AI-driven workforce management solutions’ next-gen capabilities, you are running business risks. Issues like overtime pay and underutilization can bring a business to its knees. If inefficient management continues, companies also face the risk of getting shut down.
So what are the business challenges when you don’t use an AI-based workforce scheduling engine?
When you define static schedules, you are not factoring for the fluctuating demand. This archaic setup leads to the deployment of resources at times when there is no demand. Such a setup also leads to employees standing around being inefficient as there is not enough customer intake to deal with (in a retail format). Apart from the wasted labor, such situations also result in reduced workforce satisfaction. Reduced employee engagement levels further drive down quality and productivity. In contrast, it pays to have an engaged workforce, as per the Gallup’s report, companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.
Inefficient Handling of Peak Volume
When organizations are hit by high volume, they typically respond by having staggered work hours or even end up overstaffing by 15 to 20% and look out for part-time hires to fill positions. Still, most of these techniques are based on estimates and don’t necessarily work well all the time. They tend to be costly, as well. There has to be a concerted strategy to handle peak workload and maintain healthy CSAT levels. Deploying the AI based workforce forecasting engine helps you plan and manage sudden peaks more confidently.
Rising Labor costs
When there is no straightforward scientific approach to managing employees’ schedules to optimize efficiency and performance, organizations tend to keep spending on overtime hours. Running excessive overtime not only has an impact on rising labor costs, having high levels of overtime results in counterproductive cycles as well. Employees feel burnt out and make them prone to sickness resulting in them taking mental health days, thereby compounding the problem of overtime, resulting in higher expenses.
AI based workforce management software helps service-oriented businesses circumvent the above problems by ensuring the right staffing levels are maintained, and employees are not overprovisioned. The AI solution helps reduces labor costs and has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Since customers don’t need to wait to be taken care of, it improves the overall business’s performance. The Machine Learning algorithm considers multiple factors ranging from availability, skillset, seasonality, and preferences to devise a comprehensive schedule that ensures employees are not fatigued and experience a balanced workload.
AI Based workforce management software delivers multiple benefits when companies engage in deploying the AI engine’s recommendations.
- Increase in bottom-line profitability
Organizations are plagued with an inefficient workforce scheduling model, which is very static. Since it is difficult to plan for peaks in customer footfall, which may be driven through holidays or special occasions, companies invest upfront on high labor costs. An AI based solution analyzes and identifies patterns that are not possible through traditional means. These renewed staffing level recommendations result in the reduction of unnecessary labor costs.
- Improved Customer Satisfaction
In a service-oriented business, one of the critical aspects of customer satisfaction is measured through employees’ ability to address client needs/questions. In the case of improperly staffed locations, customers are left to their own devices. This can be changed with an intelligent scheduler which factors and predicts the workload volume. With a higher availability of staff, you can expect better customer satisfaction scores. The AI engine doesn’t just right size the staffing levels, but it also helps alleviate stress. When employees are not overburdened with running demanding shifts, they tend to better enjoy their work and, in turn, deliver improved customer service.
- Balanced workloads
When employees are not clocking overtime or are engaged in shifts beyond their regular working hours, they tend to be healthier. A health employee, in turn, fosters a healthier work environment. Healthy employees tend to enjoy their work better and do not call in sick often, thereby improving the workforce’s availability and delivering better results. The AI system analyzes the work patterns and schedules a balanced workload that is both practical and efficient.
- Employee Positivity
Creating a right-sized staffing schedule and generating a balanced workload has an impact that goes beyond productivity. When employees are not taxed with pressures related to carrying out their jobs, they tend to be more fulfilled and flexible. This snowballs into a healthier environment and employees tend to interact with each and with customers more positively. It has an impact on improved morale, higher employee engagement, and better staff retention.
- Improved Brand Value
When employees follow an optimized work schedule, they tend to deliver better customer service. Improved customer experience translates to customer loyalty and enhanced brand value. This improved customer engagement model paves the path to long-term relationships with your customer base. when employees work in unison, they reflect the organization’s vibrant culture. Employees who are at ease with their work demands can craft compelling customer experiences. Employees are more responsive and exhibit customer-centric behavior.
AI and ML make a profound impact on workforce management and addresses specific workforce scheduling challenges. Use AI to learn the unique, decision-influencing factors of your business and the surrounding environment. It rapidly applies intelligence and restructures workload schedules dynamically. Using various supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms, a system like the one deployed by Weave Workforce improves the accuracy of forecasts and makes shifts in recommendations that are best suited for a given environment. It gives space for optimization using preferences and creates schedules that positively impact employee engagement. Employing an AI engine ensures customers, employees, and owners are happy and feel engaged.