Workforce management is something you probably think belongs to a traditional HR department. And you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Traditional HR managers and their staff are an absolute must in many businesses. However, with the rise of remote, hybrid, and global workforces, leaders are realizing the conventional HR concept can be inadequate.

Workforce Management beyond HR

After all, how do you manage a team dispersed around the globe from a corner office? And what about remote staff whom an HR rep may never meet or see in person? Cutting-edge workforce management solutions can contain the answers for HR leaders looking to extend their reach. A variety of traditional human resource functions are wrapped up into these alternatives, from hiring international employees to managing departures. Let’s take a look.

1. Employer of Record Services

Say your business wants to hire someone who lives in another country. This person made it onto your radar through your network and would be a perfect fit for an open role. The problem is, your HR department isn’t up to speed on the labor regulations in the candidate’s home country. Consequently, your company has no idea how to manage payroll for this person and ensure you aren’t breaking any laws.

You could set up a subsidiary in the impending new hire’s country. But that could take months or perhaps a year. You’d also have to consult with lawyers and bring an additional local HR point person on board. By then, your ideal employee would be long gone, unable to wait while you figured it out.

Some companies with foreign employees will turn to a professional employer organization to deal with the administrative side of managing a global workforce. But a PEO can’t help you if you don’t have a business presence in the countries where you hire. Nor is it responsible for ensuring you’re complying with international labor laws. An employer of record service is what you need to take care of those vital details. An EOR is a more comprehensive PEO alternative that can streamline benefits administration and payroll and ensure compliance.

2. Employee Engagement Software

Employee engagement is a bit of a buzzword some HR professionals have mixed feelings about. A stroll through social media feeds will show studies showcasing trends in the percentages of engaged workers. You’ll also find opinions about everything from how to boost employee engagement to whether it’s a valid concept at all.

Yet the reality is employees’ performance can be directly related to how connected they feel to their work and the organization they work for. A sense of connection to the company mission or purpose remains low among U.S. workers, particularly those who toil 100% remotely. Gallup survey data from 2023’s second quarter is enlightening. Only 28% of remote workers strongly agreed that their organization’s mission made them feel their job was important.

The numbers weren’t much better for exclusively onsite and hybrid employees, either. The truth is workers are under increased pressure and are feeling the strain. It’s also tough for traditional HR and leadership to foster engagement across scattered teams. Engagement software has the potential to bridge the gap between the idea and actuality of fostering a sense of connection.

These solutions include feedback, recognition, gamification, and benefits capabilities. The platforms help leaders keep a pulse on employee sentiment while reminding remote or hybrid employees that they matter. They’re a way to, at minimum, form stronger virtual connections and reiterate a company’s core cultural values.

3. Predictive Analytics Platforms

Wouldn’t it be great to predict your business’s future talent needs with near total accuracy? These forecasts would consider your current employees’ roles, skill sets, and development potential. In addition, you could play out various “what-if” scenarios to see what your staffing needs might be. Scenario examples might be market expansions, upticks in retirements, and the restructuring of roles.

Workforce predictive analytics platforms have these capabilities, helping companies make HR decisions based on data instead of instinct. With predictive modeling, leaders can discover insights from combined data points they might miss. Yes, traditional HR managers can notice an increase in employee turnover. But there’s a difference between observing what’s happening and determining what could likely happen based on multiple pieces of information.

It can be challenging for conventional HR departments to forecast staffing needs based on sudden changes implemented by new leadership, for example. Other environmental shifts, including global pandemics, could create unforeseen labor challenges, as we’ve seen. An inability to predict what could happen can leave some organizations scrambling for help. Analytics platforms allow companies to achieve optimal workforce planning and augment traditional HR decision-making.

4. Skill Mapping Apps

Skill mapping apps use data related to employee performance and professional qualifications to produce individual as well as aggregate skill profiles. Organizations can use these profiles to determine succession plans for specific roles and forecast upskilling or reskilling needs. Essentially, skill mapping apps allow companies to optimize talent allocation.

With these apps, managers throughout an organization can establish a single source of truth about their HR requirement. Rather than relying on subjectivity, leaders can come together to address skill gaps and plan for the future. With objective data, they’ll see which internal talent might be a good fit for assuming soon-to-be vacated roles.

With proper succession planning, these employees won’t be thrown into new positions without the support required to be successful. Furthermore, managers can address succession planning needs with staff members beforehand. They’ll have enough time to gauge interest in potential horizontal and lateral moves. This information will help determine whether external hiring is necessary or if there are enough internal candidates to fill roles.

Workforce Management Solutions for Today and Tomorrow

The arrival of cutting-edge workforce management solutions doesn’t mean traditional HR is irrelevant. If anything, these solutions extend and enhance the capabilities of conventional HR departments. EORs, employee engagement software, predictive analytics platforms, and skill mapping apps are some of the up-to-the-minute tools at organizations’ disposal. Using them will help your business better manage the evolving landscape of today’s labor market — and tomorrow’s.