Lessons from Dan Smitley on broadening the definition of workforce management software

Webinar on the subject of people centricity in WFM with Dan Smitley
Written by:
Picture of Natasha Ratanshi-Stein

Natasha Ratanshi-Stein , Founder & CEO

We had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Dan Smitley, a leading voice in Workforce Management (WFM) with 15 years of expertise.

Dan shared his insights on the broader role of WFM beyond mere labor cost reduction and operational streamlining to achieve business objectives. He emphasised the importance of considering employee experience and retention alongside meeting business goals.

Broadening WFM definitions

Dan kicked off the discussion by challenging the narrow focus on labour cost optimisation in WFM. He argued that truly effective workforce management should extend past financial metrics to boost employee satisfaction and retention, thereby enhancing the organisation’s overall health and productivity.

The role of curiosity

Dan stressed the value of adopting a curious and open-minded approach to WFM. By seeking to understand the diverse needs and objectives of all stakeholders, he believes businesses can discover solutions that provide widespread benefits across the organisation.

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Finding the balance

Dan discussed the complex interplay between operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and employee well-being. He emphasised the need to connect these areas more closely, making the case for a more people-focused approach in WFM.

Leveraging team growth

Addressing the impact of organisational scale, Dan emphasised that larger teams offer more opportunities to foster trust and engage personally with team members, enhancing employee satisfaction.

He noted the natural increase in diversity regarding preferred work patterns within bigger teams, which allows for more flexible scheduling. This flexibility minimises the impact on service delivery when arranging short catch-up or mentoring sessions with individual employees. Dan advocated for companies to capitalise on this aspect, emphasising that as organisations grow, they should actively work on building trust and improving employee satisfaction.

Communicating change

For Dan, clear and frequent communication is vital in managing change. He advised outlining the reasons for changes, expected outcomes, and how they will affect everyone, to ensure employees are on board and understand the process.

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Rethinking WFM software design

Dan Smitley highlighted a significant shortfall in current WFM software: a lack of personalisation and a failure to adopt a people-centric approach. He advocated for software that not only manages numbers but also recognises and supports the individual needs and goals of employees.

The ideal WFM system would function more as a partner than a tool, actively engaging with and solving problems for its users. He would love to see WFM focusing more on understanding what success means to both their customer’s business and their employees, moving beyond simply fulfilling requirements listed in a Request for Proposal (RfP).

Dan’s vision is for a WFM software that fosters a genuine curiosity about its users, aiming to support their success in a more holistic sense.

Technology in WFM

Towards the end of the webinar, Dan also shared his insights on the integration of automation and AI within WFM. He observed that current conversations about adopting AI primarily concentrate on enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. Dan expressed a desire for a broader perspective on technology, one that equally emphasises improving the customer journey and the employee experience.

He advocates for a shift in focus, encouraging the exploration and implementation of AI in ways that also enhance overall satisfaction and engagement for both customers and employees.

Final thoughts

Our webinar with Dan Smitley underscored the importance of a more inclusive and effective approach to WFM that values employees as much as it does the bottom line. His practical advice and insights provide a foundation for building better workforce management practices.

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