November 6, 2018

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Why Briefing Your Dynamic Workers Matters and How To Do It Right

What are Briefings?

If you’re managing dynamic workers, you regularly speak with them throughout the day. Not only must you put the right workers to the right place at the right time, but often you also have to brief them on their work. Chances are, you’re also responsible for their health and safety, even if there’s a site manager.

A big part of pulling the right roster together is keeping track of skills, certifications, and leveraging tools like Sirenum to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant for the work being scheduled.

But sometimes you also need to share information in real-time, and be confident (read: have an audit trail!) that your employees have reviewed that information. For example, you may need your workers to accept terms and conditions or get a health and safety warning. If you’re in this situation, you probably spend way too much time calling, emailing, and meeting with your workers. Can you relate? Why has this been so hard? Keep reading.

  • Pop Quiz

Want to make sure your employees are on-the-ball? Maybe you want to ask them a couple questions about their tasks for the day before they get started. Of course, desk workers usually have access to e-learning modules via their intranet portals, but with dynamic workers, it gets more complicated.

  • Refresher

How about ensuring skills are relevant and ready to be used? Regardless of the type of job your workers are performing, they need to know what their exact requirements are: what their responsibilities are, to whom they report, etc. And you need an audit trail.

  • Stay Safe

As instructed by the UK Health and Safety Executive, “The employment agency and the employment business must take reasonable steps to identify any known risks concerning health and safety and satisfy itself that the end user has taken steps to prevent or control the known risks. This must be done before the work starts and must include obtaining… information from the end user….” So yeah, you’re ultimately responsible for your workers’ health and safety, and have to cooperate with your client to brief them on anything relevant to health and safety before they get started.

  • Onboarding

Dynamic workers are usually asked to do a wide variety of tasks, which may vary from shift to shift. This gives them (and you!) flexibility to get more work. Sometimes you need to train your workers to perform new processes, or onboard them at new sites or clients. This is as simple as reading some documentation and making sure they understand the workflow or what the job entails.

How to Do It

Briefing your workers is an important process. It can help them get up to speed quicker and even ensure their safety and security. From an agency perspective, briefing your staff makes you compliant with regulations and increase your employee engagement. It also increases client satisfaction.

Put together, all of these actions translate into higher revenues, lower compliance issues, and better lower compliance violations, and better employee engagement. However, it takes a great deal of time and effort, if like most employers, you rely on pen and paper. So, if you want to streamline this process with technology, you need to remember three key things:

  • Briefing results need to be available in context with employee data
  • Placing workers in your schedule should reflect briefing compliance, just as it does your other compliance rules
  • All briefings should be fully audited

It goes without saying that being in the cloud and mobile-friendly are key to adoption and data availability.

For more information, please visit our Briefings page.

 

August 29, 2018

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Does my Agency Need an App for Workers?

Who isn’t glued to their mobile phone all the time? We are attached to our smartphones and they have become the primary tool we use to entertain ourselves, to book appointments, meet friends and more and more, to organise our work. Recent studies show that the Britons spends almost 2.5 hours a day on their smartphones. And the proliferation of productivity apps is transforming the way the white collar workforce gets things done. So it makes sense that your dynamic workers can also benefit from their smartphone to significantly improve productivity and engagement with your company. Do you know how an app for your dynamic workers can actually make your business more profitable?

Managing availability

It’s time you offer your temp workers some quality of life. Managing their availability within a mobile app offers your dynamic workers the ability to better organise their own lives. This way, they can let you know when they want to work, or whether they need to take days off. What’s in for you? This valuable information will save you from reaching out to candidates that are not ready, willing, or able to work, and will clue you in on eager workers.

Seeing upcoming shifts

“What’s my schedule look like?” It’s a typical question among dynamic workers. No wonder why, working at different times or locations every week or even every day can be confusing, and no one should have to remember that information by heart. Having such information at their fingertips and using handy push up notifications or reminders–just like we all do with our personal day-to-day schedule!–can help your dynamic workers put their minds to better use, like excelling at their jobs. This will also significantly reduce the number of calls and texts your teams will have to field, so that your consultants can focus on operations.

Dynamic worker using smartphone

Reducing time to fill

Time to fill is the amount of time spent by an agency from the moment they receive a staffing request from a client until they allocate those positions to candidates in their pool. Obviously, the shorter this time the better, as time spent on the phone by consultants could be put to better use. The latest generation of mobile apps for dynamic workers can help you fulfil your requirements in as little as eight (8!) seconds, with no phone calls involved. Only suitable candidates receive a notification about a shift opening, and the fastest ones can accept the shift with just one tap.

Enabling mobile time and attendance

Time and attendance can be easy with dynamic worker apps. Enabled with GPS technology, these apps allow the worker to clock in and out of their work location, instantly and with just a simple tap. A perfect alternative to the expensive time and attendance devices that require upkeep and cooperation among venues, agencies, and end client employers.

Woman clocking in and out

Engaging your workers with your business

As the brilliant communication tools they are, dynamic worker apps also provide useful information to your workers like their timesheet data and their previous shifts. All in all, these tools allow your dynamic workers to gain control over their work life, making them feel more engaged with your agency. And of course, a happy employee is a more profitable and efficient employee.

But wait… Do I need to develop my own app?

Why would you do that? Some of the biggest staffing agencies in the world trust the experts to do this. No need to reinvent the wheel! Leveraging tools like MySirenum offers your company the advantages of years of experience and support, plus a broad understanding of the entire employment market, which has allowed us to build an app that can handle just about every employment scenario.

July 27, 2018

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Using Philosophy to Resolve the Lack of Candidates

King Cheung

King Cheung, Director of Sales

In my role here at Sirenum, I speak to temporary staffing agencies across the UK and Continental Europe every day. I ask them about their operational issues, and almost without exception, they trot out the issue of it being a candidate’s market. They say that particularly in the hourly temping market, there is a real dearth of candidates willing to sign up, turn up, and put in a shift. This lack, they say, is reflected in their declining order fulfilment rates. And, of course, the biggest shame is agencies being offered business and being unable to engage candidates in order to fulfil it. Money left on the (empty) table.

no workers

And the more people say it, the truer it becomes.

But it’s a strange thing. Because I also regularly talk to the people who are candidates–who sign up, show up, and put in shifts for agencies. And although for some, it is indeed a lifestyle choice, and they are happy to get work here and there, the vast majority say they would like more work than they get from the agency.  Many of them even sign up to multiple agencies in order to get more work. Even many people who work full-time want extra hours from agencies. There is evidently no lack of purpose or drive in the temping population to get out there and put the hours in, wherever they can.

The real truth is that for agencies, it is almost impossible to identify availability and then provide enough work for everyone in their worker pool, in a timely manner, with the tools available to them (telephone, rolodex, e-mail, text message, etc.). And for workers, they are just not visible enough to the agencies to get shifts quickly without tools that offer direct engagement and a window into their own availability.

So clearly, we are talking about two opposing truths–or perceptions–here, and each one is equally valid. So, using the Hegelian principle of dialectical synthesis, the philosophical acceptance of these two opposing truths enables us to bring them together, to reach a greater truth. Which is that if both agencies and workers had better tools to interact and communicate more effectively, there would be a higher fulfilment rate of jobs to workers. This would deliver a wide variety of benefits to all parties: more hours a week for the worker by being more visible; a higher fulfilment rate for agencies through better mining of their existing resources better; and better delivery of service for clients, by increasing coverage rates.

Agencies have an active pool of workers, but they also have a passive pool of people whom they may not have used recently or who, for some reason, have fallen out of favour. But, the passive pool notwithstanding, even the active pool is underutilised – the average worker does only 18-22 hours a week for many agencies. And if you believe when they say they would love more hours, that leaves a vast amount of capacity sitting in the agency’s active pool of workers.  If an agency could somehow unlock the capacity just of their active pool, the whole problem of the lack of candidates goes away.

This is where a dynamic workforce management platform like Sirenum comes in. Sirenum offers a number of powerful features that unlock the latent capacity of a pool of workers in a rapid and easy-to-use way. Let me offer you a case study in how this works in a real-life scenario. One of our customers is a staffing agency, providing ancillary staff to the rail industry. A few weeks ago, one of their customers, a Train Operating Company, announced that there would be strike action from their drivers, and that they needed the agency to provide 58 (!) support staff for the following morning (!!).

Staffing trainThe agency used a feature in Sirenum called Open Shift, to broadcast this shift offer to a mass of workers simultaneously – over a hundred, in fact – and, within 10 minutes, the agency had fulfilled 29 of the 58 shifts. Ten. Whole. Minutes. To fill 29 shifts. And, before long, all the shifts were filled. This operation has moved on from believing–like everyone else–that there is a dearth of candidates, to instead optimising the capacity of its pool of workers – and it’s a situation where everyone wins.

I didn’t think learning Hegel at University was going to help me much in my career–unless I was intending to enter left-wing politics, which I had no intention of doing–but how wrong I was. The answer to the issue of a lack of workers is dialectical synthesis.

 

May 8, 2018

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Sirenum Slays Dragons at SIA Gig Economy Event

Dynamic Workforce Management vendor takes both audience and dragons’ prizes at Staffing Industry Analysts’ Collaboration in the Gig Economy Dragons’ Den competition

London, UK–Sirenum, the leading provider of dynamic workforce management technology to the temporary staffing industry, is proud to announce that it was the audience and dragon favorite at the Dragons’ Den competition during SIA’s Collaboration in the Gig Economy, held in London in late April. The conference, the first such event from SIA in Europe after multiple successful years in the US, brought together hundreds of executives from across the gig economy supply and value chains: workforce solutions enterprise buyers, staffing firms, RPOs, VMSs, MSPs, suppliers to staffing, gig economy, and human cloud companies.

“The SIA has long been an organisation we have admired,” said Sirenum founder and CEO Benjamin Rubin. “That we were able to win the Dragons’ Den in the first SIA conference we’ve ever attended is truly thrilling, but it’s also a great testament to the effort our team has put in to get here.”

The Dragons’ Den competition, the capstone session of the conference, featured industry leaders Viktor Calabro, CEO and Founder, Coople; Kevin Green, CEO, What’s Next Consultancy; Kelly Griffith, Head of AGX UK&I, The Adecco Group; and Bryan Peña, SVP, Contingent Workforce Strategies, CCWP, Staffing Industry Analysts playing the roles of the dragons first made famous on the Japanese TV show entitled, “Money Tigers” and later in the US as “Shark Tank” and in the UK as “Dragons’ Den.”

SIA Collaboration in the Gig Economy Dragons' Den Judges sandwiched around Sirenum executives Joshua Pines and Benjamin Rubin.

SIA Collaboration in the Gig Economy Dragons’ Den Judges sandwiched around Sirenum executives Joshua Pines and Benjamin Rubin.

Sirenum’s presentation given by company co-founder Joshua Pines, director of marketing and corporate development. Competition was fierce from the three finalists: e-staffing agency Jobandtalent, consulting project management tool Deployed, and cryptocurrency provider GigEcoin. After each competitor finished a five minute presentation followed by five minutes of Q&A, votes were solicited from both the audience and dragons based on the innovative nature of the business idea, its market potential, and the quality of presentation, and Sirenum was the top choice for both groups.

“We were thrilled to be mentioned alongside industry leaders,” said Pines. “But it really was a blast to get up in front of hundreds of industry leaders and help them understand how Sirenum is changing the paradigm for dynamic workers,”

About Sirenum: Sirenum powers the dynamic workforce. As the leading global provider of cloud-based workforce management technology to temporary staffing agencies, Sirenum provides transformational technology to innovative employers, streamlining the management of tens of thousands of workers across the UK, Europe, and the USA, including organisations in the government, transport and logistics, care, and security and events verticals. To learn more about Sirenum technology for dynamic workforce management, please visit www.sirenum.com/solutions.
Contact: Joshua Pines, Director of Marketing and Corporate Development, josh.pines+PR@sirenum.com

April 19, 2018

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Six Reasons Why Temps Prefer Agencies with Great Workforce Management Software

Temp turnover can be brutal on an agency’s business–our analysis shows that roughly half the temps in a traditionally run staffing agency work fewer than 80 hours before departing. The best way to decrease turnover, and to increase those hours, is to manage temps how they want to be managed–allowing them to work when and where they want and paying them on time, for example. Temp agencies are looking to new technology for this not just to manage costs, but to grow. Rosters are a big part of the challenge, and while there are vendors out there that promise to manage your worker rosters, leading agencies know off-the-shelf or standalone tools don’t cut it for complex workforces. Let’s see some of the reasons why temps choose to work with their agencies and how workforce management software can help.

1) Knowing what they need to know about their workers

When workers join a temporary staffing agency, they are required to bring loads of documentation. Passport, Social Security or National Insurance numbers, addresses, bank accounts, certificates and permits, the list goes on. This data capture needs to be straightforward and the maintenance of the information should be seamless and transparent. The best workforce management solutions allow agencies to manage this information in a single database, with availability across multiple processes: scheduling, compliance, payroll, human resources, and more.

Agencies and their workers need to be able to rely on the accuracy and availability of this information. For example, relevant teams can get automated reminders when a permit is about to expire, simplifying things for everyone involved. This frees in-house staff to focus on higher value tasks, which allow agencies to grow, while increasing trust and transparency with temps.

Temps bring documentation at inteviews

2) Empowering their temps

Temps like to feel that they have a say in their schedule and are more than just a cog in the system. Workforce management solutions like Sirenum allow agencies to empower workers with mobile calendar management. Requesting time off–or communicating availability–can be accomplished in just a few clicks. Empowered workers are happier and more engaged.

Temps want to manage their schedule

3) Working when and where they want

Dynamic workers want to work when and where they prefer–that’s one of the advantages of working in a temporary staffing agency. Some like working at different locations and for different clients throughout the week, some don’t. Regardless, today’s dynamic worker wants their work schedule to be compatible with their life outside of work. By integrating HR records, payment terms, qualifications and event locations, schedules are fulfilled faster than even before, without even having to pick up the phone. This not only saves agency teams time trying to find the best candidates, but it also gives your workers time to plan and be prepared, increasing client and worker satisfaction.

Temps deciding when they work

4) Easily clocking in and out

Regardless of the industry or location, virtually all temp agencies are challenged with how the check in and out process is going to look like for your workers. Too many clients are still reliant (sometimes even insistent!) on paper for capturing time and attendance, with all the inconveniences that entails: lack of accuracy and more time spent on payroll processing.

Clocking in and out with a mobile app drastically increases accuracy without impacting existing workflows. Doing so also opens up the door to new capabilities, such as improved security, GPS verification, or site manager approval. This increases client and worker trust in the process and helps avoid disputes over hours worked.

Temps time and attendance

5) Getting the right amount in their account at the right time

Everybody wants to be paid on time, and getting that right is a big reason why dynamic workers choose to stay with an agency. Faster and more accurate payroll is a reality with systems that integrate scheduling and actual hours worked with payment terms. Getting paid accurately and on time, increases worker satisfaction and engagement with an agency.

Temps payslip in a mobile app

6) Feeling valued by their employers

One of the big ideas that has transformed how people work–think of Uber!–is the use of rating systems for both clients and workers. Having a preference for working somewhere is typical, and this can already be properly measured with a workforce management platform like Sirenum. Workers can rate their clients, and vice-versa. This information can enable agencies to increase satisfaction for both workers and clients.

Temps evaluate their clients

Using the right workforce management solution can transform the way an agency operates, incorporating all the relevant information needed to run the business seamlessly–HR, payment terms, contracts, scheduling, monitoring, compliance, payroll, and more–while leveraging mobile and the cloud to keep things in tip-top shape. In short, the business runs smoothly, and temps are more likely to stick with an agency running smoothly.

To see how Sirenum can help your agency meet these six goals, request a live demo today.

March 21, 2018

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SIA

Getting to the Head of the (Enterprise) Class with SIA

From early on here at Sirenum, being enterprise class has been a high priority for our team. It’s core to our mission of powering the global dynamic workforce. So we have not only built our product in a way that leading employers like Impellam, Randstad, and the First Group trust for their mission-critical processes and sensitive employee information, but we have also tried to align ourselves with similarly minded industry leaders every step of the way.

SIAThis focus on building an enterprise-class product and organisation really started with building our platform on Salesforce. It has since continued with our partnerships with leading software providers like Jobscience, Bullhorn, and Sage. Today, we are excited to share that this strategy has taken the form of joining Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) as a corporate member. SIA is the leading global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, and we are thrilled to collaborate with such an important player in our industry.

SIA is a great source of market analysis on the staffing industry, and our team is very eager to learn more. After no doubt consuming a ton of great research from their team over the next few weeks, the next thing we’ll officially do as SIA members will be to sponsor their upcoming event entitled, Collaboration in the Gig Economy. We’re very excited to be a part of this event. It should be a great opportunity to hear the challenges being faced by both agencies and corporate clients in recruiting and managing a dynamic workforce. We hope to see you there!

Reserve now your space for an in-person demo here!

November 15, 2017

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5 Things You Should Know About Your Dynamic Workers

1. Dynamic workers need to be treated equally

It’s not just that they want it–by law they require it. In the UK, an agency worker is entitled, among others, to receive at least the National Minimum Wage and the statutory minimum length of rest breaks and holidays. Dynamic workers must also be allowed to use the company canteens, transportation pick-up services and other services that permanent workers may use.

workers canteen

2. They are brand ambassadors

Treating your temporary workers with respect is something we shouldn’t be reminding you to do, but going beyond their expectations can be beneficial for your business strategy. If they like working with you, it’s more likely they will talk about your products or services and will recommend them to their friends and their acquaintances.

Dynamic workers with friend

3. Their feedback is precious

Whether you are a staffing agency that send workers to work to your client’s facilities or you manage dynamic workers in-house, you should really value your staff’s feedback. If you are a staffing agency, they can tell you about certain job-related requirements that your client may not communicate but are important to perform the job. This information gives you the opportunity to brief your candidates to excel above competition in the future. If you occasionally hire dynamic workers in-house, you must consider their comments and feedback, since they come with a fresh pair of eyes to quickly detect inefficiencies and improve your operations.

manager hearing feedback from dynamic worker

4. Dynamic workers want to have control

A typical agency worker likes the flexibility they have when it comes to choosing their availability and applying to the jobs or gigs they are interested in. They appreciate being dynamic workers. Empowering them with the ability to have their work-related information accessible at their fingertips will significantly increase their engagement with your business. Leveraging cloud and mobile technology allows your dynamic workers to instantly feel they belong to your team. Some forward-thinking agencies already use modern shift broadcast systems like F3, or allow their candidates to swap shifts in-app with manager approval.

Dynamic worker using phone app

5. They bring new skills to your team

Having new people in your team is always beneficial if you are looking to address a temporary challenge. It’s not only a clever choice to face a seasonal peak demand, but also to quickly incorporate skilled employees for a business transition or arduous temporary projects. Consider the different talents your candidates bring to your team. Leveraging a temporary agency can be a great resource to find permanent hires for your organisation too! Even in the staffing business, you may find a candidate with relevant skills to help your business from the inside.

dynamic workers waitress

These are just some of the things you should know about your dynamic workers. They help you face your operational challenges, so make sure you keep them engaged with your business! Contact Sirenum today if you want to better manage your dynamic workers.

July 26, 2017

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Dynamic Worker Schedule

Why do dynamic workers need to be scheduled?

When you work at a software startup, your friends and family often have a hard time understanding what you do. You get a lot of, “something with computers?” But when I joined forces with Benjamin Rubin as a co-founder of Sirenum, I figured one cool thing about working at Sirenum was that recruitment–as an industry–was not so esoteric as to confuse my friends when I described it–my family is another story! After all, anyone who has ever had a job or been a manager has likely been recruited or done some recruiting in their lives. And many would have worked with an outside agency to help with hiring.

we are hiring

So basically, I would tell my friends about Sirenum…and the blank stares about the need to schedule dynamic workers were impossible to ignore. Most seemed to just assume that people showed up when and where they were expected to show up and that was that. But if you’ve ever worked for or at a temp agency, or at a construction site, a hospital, or any of millions of other work sites where people don’t sit behind a desk, you know that it’s actually a lot harder than you think to get all the right people there on time. The stares get even blanker when I explain that most of these kinds of businesses don’t leverage modern technology to help with this challenge.

blank stare

In fact, we at Sirenum even get blank stares from people who currently work at recruitment agencies. Of all places! But in a way it’s understandable because there’s a pretty clear delineation between the temp and perm parts of recruitment agencies, and most employees on the perm side, as well as anyone in sales on either side, are rarely concerned with the operations of their temp business. The silos in the industry are heavy duty.

schedule industry silos

 

And so, whether those salespeople admit it or not, there are millions of temp workers, in every corner of the globe, who need to be scheduled. In the US alone there are over 11,000 temporary staffing agencies, according to the American Staffing Association. And right now, the vast majority are using whiteboards, spreadsheets, and notepads to figure out who goes where and when. It doesn’t take much thinking to realise that these are not the most efficient tools.

It’s interesting to see how people outside the industry don’t even realise that scheduling is necessary at first. But then they quickly come around to see that software should be there. However, agencies have their own built-in biases. So when we say scheduling to agencies–and corporations that manage dynamic workers–we are talking about leveraging advanced technology to schedule (and manage the schedules of) their workforce. It’s crucial to the success of any business reliant upon dynamic workers. And it’s why our mission hasn’t changed since Benjamin first leveraged modern workforce management technology in his own agency before founding Sirenum–to streamline the management of dynamic workers, putting the right person in the right place at the right time, even in the most complex situations.

March 23, 2017

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What You Need to Know: British PM Pushes for Improved Regulation of Hourly Workers

Earlier this week it was announced that the British Prime Minister Teresa May is pushing for gig economy workers to receive new kinds of protection from being exploited by their employers. The Guardian article highlighted the challenges faced by today’s hourly workers.

As we’ve discussed on this blog, the gig economy is actually just a sliver of all those workers impacted by the seismic shifts in the labour force. What we’ve called the hourly revolution is impacting far more than just those companies most people associate with the gig economy–think AirBnB, Über, Fiverr, etc. Today’s dynamic workforce encompasses doctors, nurses, engineers, cleaners, and more. 2015 data shows that there were over 80m hourly workers in the US alone, and that the hourly workers represented the fastest growing part of the labour force.

As governments look to address these changes through increased and improved regulation, employers need to revisit their technology, people, and processes responsible for managing these workers. To learn more about how Sirenum helps, please visit our Compliance page.

March 17, 2017

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Why Your Staff Needs a Mobile App…and You Do Too

In today’s economy, there is a huge (and growihourly worker mobile appng!) number of hourly workers that need to be better managed and also need to be more engaged. This is what we call the hourly revolution. In the US and UK alone, there are more than 100m hourly workers. And they are the fastest growing segment of the labour market in the western world. They are the dynamic workforce. Our large agency clients know this situation well. They see the opportunity of helping clients manage these hourly workers. They also see the potential threat of the gig economy and know they have to streamline their operations. They need new means of communication and engagement tools. They have to adapt to better engage candidates and workers. This means that these employers now require advanced staff management solutions.

It’s all quite obvious, if you think about how we operate in the information era. We open an app and we get an Über ride in minutes. We talk to our family and friends via any of the messaging apps there are in the market. We hire a place in seconds to stay abroad over the weekend. We can even buy groceries, clothing or gadgets and get them delivered, sometimes in the same day. We have become a quick, impatient society. We want things now, we want to be in charge of what’s going on. That’s why innovative companies are starting to leverage the latest generation of workforce management platforms with mobile apps to better engage with their staff.

It makes sense for workers. They can work how, when and wherever they want. They can request days off or even swap shifts with others. They can have their upcoming schedule and pay slip at their fingertips, getting reminders of when to leave home and maps to the work site. This type of technology increases worker satisfactions, without burdening in-house management. 

And these modern staff management mobile apps are unified with fully automated staff management platforms like Sirenum. This allows management to have full control of key staff management processes, including health and safety compliance and monitoring systems that ensure that staff arrive on time–and management can quickly find replacements if not–to improve client satisfaction. This is the latest generation of workforce management software. It is already helping leading employers save up to 4% of their cost of labour, due to time savings, increased productivity, and decreased employee turnover.