This is an interview with Rock Regan, Industry Marketing Director for Public Sector at Kronos, from our recent guide, State and Local Technology: What You Need to Know.
Engagement is a hot topic in state and local government. However, most public-sector efforts target constituents. After all, citizen engagement is crucial for agencies to meet their missions of connecting with and serving the public.
However, in a recent interview with GovLoop, Rock Regan, Industry Marketing Director for the Public Sector at Kronos, explained why it’s equally important for agencies and their missions to ensure they’re engaging their own employees. Kronos provides digital workforce management solutions for government agencies at all levels.
According to Regan, employee engagement can have a direct impact on agency operations.
“One of the bigger reasons to pursue employee engagement is that employees who are engaged and happy do a better job, with less sick time and a greater focus on customer service,” he said. “Governments are really trying to up their service game and having engaged employees is really important to providing better services for the public.”
Engagement is also a tool to help curb workforce shortages. “Governments more than ever are in competition for talent,” Regan added. “As we look toward the next generation of millennials, employee engagement is really a key metric in attracting and then retaining those employees.”
Increasingly, Regan said agencies are coming to embrace the connection between employee engagement and organizational performance. However, he also explained that many agencies find it difficult to create an engaged culture because they are tied to manual workforce management processes that can be frustrating and slow for employees to use. Legacy systems are a common barrier to everyday government operations, but it’s easy to overlook how outdated processes can also directly impact frontline employees.
Manual processes for scheduling staff, monitoring performance, and tracking benefits not only put agencies at risk of violating labor regulations, they also place significant burden on employees and managers who have to use outdated processes to get their jobs done. At the same time, these processes are often inefficient, leading to diminished performance and excess resources dedicated to labor management.
In contrast, Regan said the key to engaging employees is making them feel empowered to take ownership of their own workloads and schedules. That can only be achieved by giving them the right tools, consolidated in a single, easy-to-use workforce management platform.
With a platform like Kronos’ workforce management suite, staff can track their own hours, manage their own schedules and submit requests for any additional assistance from a single location. That makes it easier for employees to craft the workday that keeps them engaged and lets them complete their tasks. They also don’t have to worry about manually tracking their own paid time off, family or parental leave or other benefits. And with less time spent on administrative tasks, staff can focus their efforts on furthering the organization’s mission.
In addition to fostering engagement, workforce management tools can directly influence agency operations. Consolidating all labor data in a single place gives managers greater transparency into their team’s operations and performance and allows them to adjust as needed to ensure a consistent level of performance. Plus, agencies don’t run the risk of falling out of compliance with labor laws, union regulations or other policies related to workforce management because they can consistently monitor compliance.
Finally, effective workforce management can help agencies cut costs. With a central management solution, leaders can make better, data-driven decisions about how labor dollars are allocated and spent. “The largest expense that virtually all governments have is their workforce,” Regan said. “But it’s also the largest controllable expense so it’s critical to have a system that specialized in managing any data that contributes to managing that workforce expense.”
For example, a large labor expense at many agencies is overtime pay. Kronos’ management platform can give managers a real-time view of all employees’ hours so that they can make a data-driven decision about who to schedule for upcoming work and still avoid overtime pay.
Workforce management is a critical component to every agency’s operations, but it requires a digital platform to truly optimize labor and engage employees. “The tools and the technology are now here to help agencies be accountable and transparent with their employees,” Regan concluded. “That’s what we focus on at Kronos. We allow employees and their managers to build the best workday to let them get their jobs done.”
To read more about the latest news in public sector innovation, read our latest guide, State and Local Technology: What You Need to Know.