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Experiencing 38 years of people management with technology

Kronos has been providing workforce management technology since 1977. Founded by Mark S. Ain in Massachusetts, USA, it started off with a simple idea: there had to be an easier way to record employee time transactions.

This idea grew into something we now call workforce management, so that organisations across a variety of industries can manage their most valuable, and expensive, strategic asset – their workforce.

By providing tools such as Time & Attendance (T&A) and integrated HR and payroll systems, organisations receive accurate insights on employee attendance, and administrative processes are cut down significantly through automation.

Automated scheduling systems allow managers to create fair and equitable rotas automatically based on employee contracted hours, skillset and expectations of customer demand across certain time periods. So a floor manager, for example, no longer needs to spend hours planning a rota for the weeks ahead for 30 or so workers manually.

Managing employees: then and now

Thirty years ago, time and attendance was as simple as using a machine to record when employees started and stopped work by clocking in and out of a clocking terminal. The benefit of this was to control labour costs by reducing over payments, which might be caused by transcription error, interpretation error or intentional error. It ensured compliance with labour regulations regarding proof of attendance and reduced payroll fraud.

For organisations using workforce management then, the above were priorities. But as technology has evolved, so have the needs of employers and behaviours of their employees. There have also been a range of opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency.

Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) are so adept with technology it’s a natural extension of their work and personal lives. Flexibility is also more important than money, and by 2025, they will make up 75 per cent of the workforce. Older workers who may have taken to technology later on in their careers are equally embracing the opportunity available to complement their daily practices.

To welcome more opportunities, organisations need to think differently about how to manage both sets of workers and find ways to continue being productive in challenging economic times.

The cloud and beyond

The cloud has been a significant contributing factor to this and a turning point for our business. Cloud computing became a reality for Kronos in 2006. Recently Kronos exceeded 15,000 customers in the cloud, demonstrating that cloud has become essential and to business growth and development.

The original benefits of workforce management technology were to control labour costs and minimise compliance risk, but today, it does that, whilst also offering the ability to improve workforce productivity. How so? For one, customers can automate and streamline manual tasks, reduce errors and access details information in real-time – making managers more productive and giving them the tools to help their employees to do the same.

Cloud technology also means customers can deploy our solutions quickly and have the systems up and running fast. There are also various elements of workforce management being enhanced by new technologies, such as biometrics and wearable technology. For example, biometrics reduces the occurrence of “buddy punching”, where one employee clocks in for another unauthorised, and wearable technology makes recording, analysing and monitoring workforce activity and productivity easier and simpler – as real-time data feeds into the system.

The business landscape has changed significantly over the last 40 years, continually driven by innovative technologies and the new possibilities they bring. Though at times, there are complexities and challenges to overcome, such as security, control and dealing with the unknown, it makes for exciting new ventures.

Businesses like ours have had the opportunity to diversify their offering and build on advanced new ways to manage the workforce for a better employee and employer experience.

Brenda Morris, General Manager, UK at Kronos

Image source: Shutterstock/Jirsak