How Custom Apps Can Help Manage Your Most Important Resource: Your People
Admit it: when you think about "resources," what pops into your head is likely products, raw materials, equipment, and real estate. If you're a successful, growing company, you likely have processes in place to monitor and manage these resources.
What about your workforce? Employees represent possibly your most significant single overhead but also your greatest single opportunity; do you have systems and channels in place to get the most out of them?
Communications is just one part of the equation. Like all resources, to allocate them correctly, your people need to be tracked. Their needs, their strengths, and weaknesses, their potential, their hours, their projects, and their performance – all need tracking.
Hundreds of employees still managed with spreadsheets and emails
Ensuring that employees have the right amount of work and support while remaining stress-free and motivated is the ultimate HR balancing act. One that technology can help support.
Project managers, for example, have to handle a lot of moving parts, making project decisions in advance and on the fly, and then matching them with skill sets and employee qualifications. Log-in sheets could record employees' daily hours in relation to their projects, and that data could then be used to compare individual utility and productivity against project progress to determine whether individuals or teams are under pressure or under-achieving.
Logs can also be made for non-human resources like financial resources, inventory, capital, production, or information technology and compared with workforce data.
So far, so good. However, if this critical data lives in spreadsheets and emails, information is certainly not real time and is liable to be lost or corrupted. In today's digital economy, annual, quarterly, or even monthly data-sharing is unacceptable. Automated, real-time data could be the difference between business failure and success.
Automating doesn't have to cost your organization
Traditional ERP solutions tend to focus on large enterprises with prices ranging from $5k–$50k per month. Most of these applications are in a state of transition and have either already moved to the cloud or are in the process of doing so.
However, using out-the-box ERP solutions doesn't acknowledge the unique requirements, goals, and specific working features that set your organization apart. Custom-building a business app is not only potentially more cost-effective, but your business app can accurately reflect and be customized for your business demands, making sure nothing is left out. Depending on your specific departmental concerns, for example, you could customize your design to highlight projects that are understaffed or overstaffed, or if the team is getting burned out.
Developing an integrated app that matches your business
So often with out-the-box solutions, companies end up realigning their resource planning around the technology rather than vice-versa. Resource planning should go hand-in-hand with your business planning, processes, and budgeting.
If it's a business priority to measure your workforce's productivity, then you should be able to connect your performance appraisals with a system that can calculate the ROI of staff investment compared to the revenue they generate for the business.
If you want to manage projects with better visibility, while reducing the risk of oversights, by collecting and correlating metrics from your infrastructure and developing an application in one platform, then you should be able to do just that.
It's most effective to handle these processes through an integrated software platform than through multiple applications that aren't designed to work together.
4 ways to improve resource efficiency
The Coactive platform for app building means companies can develop solutions in weeks, rather than months. If you don't know which processes to automate first, here are our top four tips for getting started if you want to develop customized business applications to help improve resource management within your organization:
Track resources: Listing resumes in Word or Google docs may have worked when you only employed a dozen people but, when companies move out of the start-up phase and into the growth phase, automated resource tracking is essential for getting to grips with where employees are spending their time and where their talents can be put to use next.
Track hours: Some companies need to track billable hours, with a business model that requires working a minimum number of hours. Monitoring input in real-time means not only tracking billable hours but tracking performance progress. Building in an added component could help ensure that employees take vacation time so that managers find that sweet spot between productivity and efficiency.
"87% of employees expect employers to support them in balancing their work and life, including personal commitments." — Research from Glassdoor
Manage profiles: There's no room for guesswork when it comes to selecting employees to fulfill mission-critical positions. Creating a profile app to manage a nationwide or global workforce gives HR and project managers real-time access to updated skills, experience, and availability. Reduce the number of touchpoints, and you reduce the time lost in emailing resumes and qualifications with a single location for all resource information.
Manage performance: If you have an app that not only integrates with resources trackers and hours management but also notifies managers when training and qualifications are complete, then stressful, time-consuming yearly performance reviews could become a thing of the past. Your app could also be developed to trigger conversations between managers and employees for real-time assessments and project debriefs.
"Despite the emergence of many tools for frequently evaluating employee sentiment, 64 percent of organizations still only measure employee engagement annually." — ePay Systems
Remember: resource management isn't the sole responsibility of IT. HR, project management, and regional managers need to take the lead. With a comprehensive application that gives people real-time access, efficiency improves, and resource management becomes more comfortable to handle – and can even become fun.