Every day in America, there are 80 million hourly workers that need to be scheduled, managed, trained, and paid. If each of those workers has 5 shifts per week equaling 250 shifts per year, that means that businesses across the country are scheduling an estimated 20 billion shifts per year. That all adds up to a lot of business administration and management. In fact, if managers spend just 5 minutes scheduling each shift, that equals a mind-boggling 1.6 billion hours each year spent on creating and modifying work schedules for their team. To make things worse, the hourly staffing industry is one that hasn’t changed much in 50 years.
Technology hasn’t yet touched staffing and workforce management in the same way as it has revolutionized other areas of our lives – from instant shopping on Amazon to on-demand travel with Uber. This means that businesses are still scheduling their hourly workers using time-consuming and manual processes like paper schedules, texts, phone calls, and the dreaded spreadsheet. Most businesses are not using AI and automation to create schedules, wasting hours and costing billions in lost productivity. Companies simply can’t scale their staffing without moving away from these time-wasting methods to a more automated, technology-focused scheduling process.
We often hear from our clients that managers spend about 40% of their workweek scheduling, onboarding, and training their team. This is all just to get the right person in the right place at the right time. This activity can be made much more efficient by automating the processes related to scheduling. Today they use manual processes like spreadsheets and paper schedules but that can all be automated through technology that connects managers to their talent and uses AI and machine learning to intelligently take over many of the manual scheduling from the manager.
Technology is Creating Workforce Automation
So, what can managers do if we gave them those 1.6 Billion hours back? Focus on high-value activities such as recruiting the best people, training their top sales team, working with customers, and running their business instead of being bogged down with manual tasks related to scheduling. Technology is creating the automation of manual processes in staffing that affect huge portions of the working population.
For example, one of our clients has a field force of 500 people who are working in remote retail locations as a dedicated salesforce for that brand. Today, there are 10 managers to schedule that workforce who need to spend 1-2 days at home in front of a computer in order to schedule, budget, and manage this team. Using our technology, those managers can now spend all of their time in the field working with retail partners and nurturing important relationships.
Automation Also Benefits Talent
Not only do managers benefit greatly from this shift to technology, but the workers benefit as well. Using AI and machine learning over time, platforms can become intelligent to create automated schedules. This is where technology can also play a positive role in the workers’ lives by enhancing their work-life by giving them more flexibility. They can get a more flexible schedule tailored to their requirements because the system will learn their preferred schedules and provide them with work opportunities that met their personal and professional needs. Workers are happy because they save time back and forth with their managers and can have more flexibility in their schedules. Companies are happy because this provides them with cost savings and delivers higher productivity through the more intelligent management of their workforce.
This is a tangible example of where AI and automation can be good for everyone involved. We often hear of only the negative application of AI but in fact, it’s providing a more efficient way for workers to create their careers and companies to run their business. The future of workforce management will be automated, more rewarding, and, most importantly, eliminate wasted time.