Why it’s Time to Say Goodbye to Your Excel Sheets in Shift Planning

With the emergence of new markets, shifting of profit pools, and rapid digitalisation of almost every aspect of our lives, companies can no longer risk missing out on the latest technologies in their sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a quantum leap in technological advancements at both organisational and industry levels. According to a McKinsey report, across business areas in the Asia-Pacific, adoption of tech accelerated by a decade during the pandemic. In addition, the use of advanced technologies in operations accelerated by a factor of 25.

With the emergence of new markets, shifting of profit pools, and rapid digitalisation of almost every aspect of our lives, companies can no longer risk missing out on the latest technologies in their sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a quantum leap in technological advancements at both organisational and industry levels. According to a McKinsey report, across business areas in the Asia-Pacific, adoption of tech accelerated by a decade during the pandemic. In addition, the use of advanced technologies in operations accelerated by a factor of 25.

To survive in this new economic and business environment, companies need effective strategies and practices. Business leaders today are waking up to the fact that technology is more than just a source of cost-efficiency. It is an important driver of employee satisfaction, as well as retention.

Blue-Collar Workers Need to Be in the Limelight Too

Over 450 million blue-collar workers fuel business operations on the ground in India. When talking about employee retention and satisfaction, their challenges need to be given validation too. For too long, India Inc. has adopted technologies that don’t do anything to support or engage this segment of the workforce.

For instance, although a valuable and highly functional tool for dealing with numbers and storing data, Excel sheets are not ideal to plan shift schedules for a huge distributed workforce.

Why Excel Sheets are Unsuitable for the Blue-Collar Ecosystem

Lack of Flexibility

For starters, spreadsheets are ineffective in the ever-changing world of fieldwork. For supervisors, there are too many variables to consider, including compliance with state and central government laws. This includes accounting for leaves and region-specific holiday mapping. With Excel sheets, it becomes difficult to deal with carrying forward leaves, sudden sick leaves, leave encashment, and lapses. In short, the spreadsheets are not suitable for the dynamic nature of the blue-collar ecosystem.

Lack of Convenience

Editing and resending the sheets, not to mention ensuring that they reach every stakeholder, is a tedious task. Mostly, these spreadsheets need to be printed and handed over to the workers. If an alteration has to be made, the entire process needs to be repeated. This not only leads to confusion and wastage of resources, but also human error.

Lack of Accuracy

For workers, the inefficiencies equate to miscommunication and often lower wages than what they deserve. When workers don’t have access to updated schedules, they might unknowingly miss a shift. This leads to loss of productivity for the company and loss of wages for the employee. Manual errors in attendance and data entries can also lead to inaccurate wage calculations. Data manipulation is also another possibility that can lead to improper wages. Further, for HR managers and supervisors, reconciliation of this data across several locations is a humongous task, undertaken every month. Often, this leads to a delay in the payment of salaries.

Lack of Data Analytics

Companies lack access to real-time analytics covering multiple locations. With the outdated attendance and shift scheduling system, they cannot locate sites where additional workforce may be needed or identify the star performers. Today, it has been established without a doubt that lack of data-driven insights can bring down the efficiency of systems, and ultimately lead missed opportunities for all stakeholders. When managed poorly, or not leveraged at all, data puts a business at risk of failing compliance standards, and even poor ROI.

Outdated systems always have a trickle-down effect. All these factors can lead to dissatisfaction and higher attrition rates in the blue-collar sector. It is important to remember that the pandemic pushed over 40 crore workers in India’s informal sector deeper into poverty. As the economy recovers, these workers are in demand to reignite business activities, which means companies need tools to retain them.

Technology has the power to provide them visibility in an organisation, provide transparency, and help them lead better lives.

Humanised Tech is Needed to Reduce Operational Risks and Increase Efficiency

Rising smartphone and internet penetration in far-flung areas of the Indian subcontinent provides employers opportunities to create inclusive platforms for blue-collar workers. An automated shift planning and attendance system can provide companies with flexibility in planning resources and saving costs. Moreover, it can make it possible for blue-collar workers to self-mark attendance, and track wages based on their hours of work.

Here are some notable benefits to consider:

Intuitive Shift Planning: With embedded compliance, the platform can help HR configure shifts seamlessly. The system can provide suggestions as to which worker is available, based on stipulated work and overtime hours, and leave balance. Moreover, shift planning is customised, based on the needs of individual sites, with overtime control, approval systems, and force log-out options
A Central Database That is Visible Across the Organisation: No longer do companies need to convey changes in shifts individually through emails or printouts. Everyone with access rights will be able to view the changes immediately.
Readily Available Plug and Play APIs: The system can be integrated seamlessly with any payroll and HR software. Previous rosters can be easily imported, and the generation of attendance reports, muster roll, and payroll report can be automated. This enables quick and accurate disbursal of wages.
Comprehensive Analytics: Attendance insights spanning multiple locations are available on a single dashboard. This real-time data can be sent through automated emails daily to the concerned individuals.

Technology promises a new dawn for India’s blue-collar ecosystem. Companies need to adopt the right tools or risk being left behind.

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One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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