Why workforce management faces a daunting post-COVID world

Before the pandemic, workforce and human capital management software and services were mainly used to track employee attendance and work. But with a more hybrid and gig-centric workforce, those tools are now in need of major upgrades.

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Workers using Google Glass can follow step-by-step inspection checklists and standard operating procedures with visual guidance as they perform tasks. Audit trails and alerts help ensure work is done correctly and on time. If further assistance is needed, a trained manager can offer help remotely through a pop-up screen on the AR goggles.

As a result, companies can eliminate paper, improve product and process quality, reduce labor hours required to perform operational and training tasks, and increase transparency while assuring 100% compliance.

“Our digital manufacturing platform takes a lot of unnecessary human interaction out of the loop,” Gallello said. “But when it really comes down to is when humans need to be in the loop, they run better, and this enables that.”

While AI-based workplace management software and remote training can reduce the amount of hands-on supervision needed, automation shouldn't entirely replace management through human interaction, said Amy Loomis, a research director for IDC's worldwide Future of Work market research service.

Jobs and careers are part of a worker's social community, and relying on technology too much can break  down that sense of community, Loomis said.

“The community you build in shift work, meeting with people, knowing the people around you matters,” she said. “As that becomes more and more autonomous, it becomes harder and harder to achieve without without managers as the glue.”

Amazon's Nantel agreed. Because Amazon places a premium on an in-person work environment, it's requiring workers to return to offices, albeit with the option for hybrid work.

"I think what we’ve learned through the pandemic is resiliency and the ability to adapt. Our culture is not unlike every other business, and it was driven around interaction and personal engagement," Nantel said. "I know we all miss that. I think most people around the world miss that engagement."

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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