The Journey to Workforce Optimization
Each organization’s workforce optimization journey is unique. In working with many customers, Workday has identified three distinct stages of workforce optimization, with each stage delivering more value from the workforce over time. And like any journey, different organizations may have different destinations, yet it all starts with a foundation of digitizing workforce operations.
Administrative excellence—Organizations need to digitize their administrative processes with a single source for HR data, connected to automated processes and workflows. They need transparency into costs and a clear understanding of workforce metrics, and they want to give their workers a simple and inviting user experience for engaging with HR and common administrative tasks.
Operational agility—Once organizations have that administrative foundation in place, they need to be able to flex and adjust the workforce in the face of change. They need a deeper handle on labor costs, and they want to automate more processes and decision-making. They want to understand the skills that each worker has. And they want to put more control and self-sufficiency in the hands of workers and managers.
Workforce optimization—Organizations want to continuously optimize and drive more value from the workforce. They need to forecast labor demand and desired skills. They need to proactively upskill and reskill workers and provide a great experience, much of it mobile, where workers can choose when and where they’d like to work, which roles they’d like to work toward, and add additional shifts. At this phase, organizations need to make every worker count.
Optimizing Operational and HR Functions
Just ask Land O’Lakes, an agricultural cooperative based in Minnesota. Four years ago, the company implemented Workday to achieve an administrative foundation with automated workflows and a single source of data. Like many companies at the onset of the pandemic, Land O’Lakes had no idea about the scale of disruption the crisis would cause. But because the cooperative had already begun to rethink its workforce optimization strategy, it was able to respond and adapt to the pandemic with speed and agility. As a result, Land O’Lakes was able to adjust aspects of its business model and quickly redeploy workers.
But remote work wasn’t possible for a very important aspect of their operations: the cows.
“We had a significant portion of our labor force impacted that had to work virtually, but we have employees that have to go into our manufacturing facilities because, obviously, the cows are still making milk,” Gardner said. “We process millions of gallons of milk every single day. Animals have to eat, so we're processing millions of tons of animal food every single day as well.”
The impact of scheduling on-site essential workers went beyond workforce planning. Land O’Lakes needed to create new payroll earning codes to be able to reward the employees who had front-line roles during the pandemic and new leave of absence payroll codes related to COVID-19, Gardner said.
And Land O’ Lakes also had to account for employee safety. With Workday, Land O’Lakes was able to gather employee COVID-19 questions, return to work preferences, and vaccination information.
“We were always trying to be agile, but before Workday, it was very, very difficult to do so,” Gardner said.
Supporting Remote and Front-Line Workers
Managing both remote and front-line workers amid a pandemic requires compliance with scheduling laws and employee safety guidelines. But employers also had to rethink how compensation and paid leave benefits support front-line workers.
Consider Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), a financial credit union with headquarters in Olympia. At the onset of the pandemic, when its front-line workforce had to pivot in how they serve credit union members, WSECU created a time-entry code that designated additional hourly pay for employees working on-site at credit union branches. WSECU also created time-off benefits designated for COVID-19 testing or quarantine. All time codes were created quickly in Workday and ready in an afternoon.
Although many changes impacting the workforce have been spurred by the pandemic, disruption isn’t isolated to unprecedented times. “Our Workday system is going to allow us to grow in the future and help us increase our efficiency,” said Gretchen Bornstein, HR management system specialist at WSECU, during the webinar.