Best Practices for Managing Your Workforce

Strategies for more efficient talent management

Many higher education institutions still rely on inefficient, disparate systems for tracking employee time and attendance. And with workers on campus in a wide variety of jobs, it can be challenging to manage professional, union, auxiliary and student workforces all at the same time. Some institutions are turning to automated time and attendance solutions to address these issues, but are unsure of how this change might affect their people, processes and organization. 

In this web seminar, a panel of experts discussed the basics of workforce management and what to look for when choosing a system, as well as implementation best practices and some guidelines for successful change management.

Paul Burke

Vice President, Service Solutions

The WFC Group

Jennifer Perkins

Industry Consultant, Higher Education


Michael Turner

Director of Strategic Initiatives

The WFC Group

Chad Miller: Your campus may look somewhat like this: People work in different departments, in different buildings, under different circumstances. Managing should be fairly easy, right? Just collect their time, have the managers agree to the time worked, calculate their pay, and then pay them. But the devil is in the details.

There are so many moving parts to managing your workforce that it can be overwhelming. It isn’t just about pay. It’s about PTO, FMLA, ACA and paying the proper rates under the right circumstances, as well as creating a schedule that reflects the need, and so much more.

Jennifer Perkins: It’s pretty important to start with a framework for a robust workforce management system: data collection, core timekeeping, managing leave, scheduling, grant and project tracking, and then finally using all the data you’ve collected in order to make better decisions in what we call analytics.

With data collection, the most important thing is that we have options. You want to make sure that when you’re looking at a system, it has lots of different abilities for you to interact with that system and collect data the way that you want to, because it makes your system more functional and flexible for your employee workforce.

Chad Miller: Once you determine the best methods for collecting the employee data, what do you do with it?

Jennifer Perkins: First you need to make sure that you’re going to calculate the pay properly with a good, robust payroll engine. It should be able to handle the complicated way that you pay your employees at the university. Look at all sorts of different ways that you assign time, overtime, comp time, vacation time, military time. Look at all the different kinds of scenarios that could impact the way you pay.

Also, the system needs to be secure—not just from the outside, but also from the inside. The manager of department A should see only the information from employees from department A and not from department B. With role-based security comes a complete audit trail so that you know every single change that’s been made to the system and every transaction that’s been completed.

Chad Miller: Where do labor analytics fit in?

Jennifer Perkins: Labor analytics are at the top of the growth curve. As your system is operating and data is being collected, you can actually be using labor analytics to help see how you’re utilizing your workforce. It can help you in all sorts of ways, from forecasting to measuring productivity. It can help you identify outliers. You can compare groups to uncover best practices, and these best practices can have a real impact on the organization.

Paul Burke: The first thing you need to do when preparing for an implementation is to think about the goals of your institution. You’re going to constantly revisit these in order to track the success of your implementation and ultimately the value that your software brings. If your goal is to solve some type of legislation or legal issue, you’ll probably need a different type of software and implementation mix than if your goal is to save millions of dollars in overtime over the next five years.

You also need to know your stakeholders, who’s going make decisions on how the software will be implemented and used, your processes, your subject matter experts, what types of information needs to be exchanged, and the different policies between different population groups. Next is knowing your environment and identifying all the systems that are going to feed and consume data from your workforce and management software solution.

Finally, know what you want to change. When you’re implementing software, it’s a natural time to reevaluate things. Identify any processes or policies that have been sitting there waiting for a change. This is the time to get that incorporated.

Michael Turner: The discovery phase is one of the key components of the implementation process, because it sets the stage for everything to come. We want to transition the knowledge from your team, your experience and the institutional demands on the system onto your implementation team.

The first thing that you want to be prepared for as you go into discovery is to be focused. One of the biggest killers to this first conversation is when people have other demands on their time, and things get missed. The discovery phase is the point to get as much as possible documented and transitioned.

Second, know your timelines. One of the components that will come out of the discovery phase is the building of the project plans. We need to know what other implementations may be going on, what other external time factors might dictate when specific milestones in the timeline can happen, and when the project can be delivered.

Finally, the discovery phase is an excellent opportunity to start planning ahead. As we look through the implementation process, we’ll find that in later phases we’ll need to be testing. We’re going to need to start training. This is an excellent time to start looking at what those opportunities are going to be, who those people are going to be, when you’re going to need them and where.

The second phase of the implementation is configuration, and then the testing phase, which is critical. This is what’s going to ultimately decide the success of your go-live and your deployment.

The deployment is the pinnacle of the implementation process. Solid preparation is important. Have a go-live plan with documented roles and responsibilities and contact information for the entire team. Ensure that every task on the list is reviewed and owned. Finally, once the implementation has gone live, know how you are going to support it.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit


Most Popular