Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly leveraged across a variety of industries, programs, systems and machines to improve performance. This technology has the potential to automate and streamline many business applications, but these systems vary greatly in their abilities.
Narrow AI is built to complete a simple task whereas strong AI is built to be self-aware. Narrow AI systems, also called weak AI systems, are built by humans and can thus be limited by our own biases and shortsightedness. And while there are many benefits to implementing AI to streamline workforce management processes, there are some major issues to keep in mind as well.
Amazon recently made headlines for its use of AI in employee tracking and termination. A document obtained by The Verge illustrates how the company uses AI to track fulfillment center employees and manage firings. This automated system tracks employees’ “time off task” (TOT) and can generate warnings and terminations without seeking the approval or opinion of a supervisor (read: “human”).
This system tracks “gaps in scanning” and uses that data to generate reports. Supervisors take these reports back to the employee to discuss any TOTs. If the employee has a “reasonable excuse” such as taking a bathroom break, the supervisor can remove the warning. TOT warnings accrue accordingly:
Although managers have no say in the rates that result in warnings, they can override the automatically generated notices. Amazon claims that a human supervisor can override the determination for the automated system or an employee can appeal the automatic firing.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has found itself in hot water around misguided attempts at incorporating AI into its HR processes. In 2017, Amazon reportedly stopped using an AI recruitment tool for its apparent discrimination against female candidates. In an attempt to program an AI-powered system to scan resumes for top talent, Amazon wrote into this system a decade’s worth of candidates’ resumes. Unfortunately, the system became inherently biased because the majority of the candidates’ resumes included male names, thus it began to favor men over women. Furthermore, it downgraded resumes with the word “women” in them and assigned lower scores to graduates from women-only colleges.
AI-based technologies are undoubtedly at the height of 2019 HR trends. Although these solutions are sure to transform HR processes, productivity and work as we know it, they cannot replace the human touch when it comes to workforce management solutions if not used properly. When AI is programmed to treat people as robots, well, then we have a problem.
Automating workforce management solutions does not have to result in a lack of care, empathy, and consideration for the workforce it manages. As highlighted recently in our collection of HR statistics, 92 percent of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention. There are over 20 types of HR software that help HR departments focus on their workforce by engaging employees, improving corporate wellness, and managing employees in a considerate manner.
Workforce management software can help organizations, management and HR departments focus on their people, so their employees have the resources, support and tools they need to be successful.
Companies employ workforce management processes to improve the efficiency and productivity of their workforce. These operations involve accurately forecasting labor requirements to quantify the correct number of employees needed to complete a particular task or job at any given hour, day, week or month. They also manage employee schedules and performance, including time and attendance tracking.
Organizations in sectors like retail, hospitality, health care, banking, insurance and transportation rely on workforce management software. These solutions help employers, HR departments and managers oversee hourly employees who conduct time-sensitive tasks.
Workforce management software helps businesses forecast labor demands, manage employee schedules, track employee attendance and optimize workforce competencies. These tools often integrate with core HR, time tracking and benefits administration solutions and provide the following features.
Workforce management features:
These solutions often provide self-service options so employees can manage time off requests without having to go through their company’s HR department. This eases the workload for HR team members (allowing them to focus on other tasks), reduces paperwork, and provides transparency across all departments including HR, payroll and scheduling, to name a few.
Companies have been using automated workforce management solutions for decades. But only recently has artificial intelligence been integrated for complete monitoring in an effort to improve employee productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. Only perhaps putting checks and balances in the hands of robots is shortsighted and, well, not pro-human.
The original benefit of workforce management software was to provide employees with self-service options that offer them the freedom to bid on or swap shifts, request time off and maintain their schedule eligibility. This enables companies to determine the number of employees they need per shift, while also empowering employees to select the shifts they desire.
Benefits of workforce management software
Beyond availability, another benefit of employing workforce management software is in incentivizing productivity through motivation and competition. When productivity data is made available to employees and a bar is set for achievement and success, a monetary incentive in the form of a gift card can inspire healthy competition among coworkers. Unfortunately, Amazon’s use of AI in workforce management technology is all stick and no carrot.
Workforce management products have well over 2,000 validated user reviews on G2 as of May 1, 2019, and only represent a small portion of the 300-plus workforce management software offerings listed on our platform. The products must have at least 10 reviews and are ranked by user Satisfaction score, which is calculated by a proprietary algorithm that factors in real-user satisfaction ratings from review data.
For each product we provide:
Product Name: Deputy
User Satisfaction: 96%
G2 Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0 stars
Deputy is a cloud-based solution that provides employee time and performance management solutions. Features include a drag-and-drop schedule builder, auto-scheduling, digital time clock, task visibility, team messaging, facial recognition clock in and out, performance management, shift swapping and more.
“I love how user friendly Deputy is. I have had no issues learning how to use it, and it is very intuitive. Both the web version and the mobile version are great. I am happy that it is easy to send messages to anyone/everyone using it. I also like that I can see everyone's schedule, switch shifts around, etc. This is very easy to use in comparison to other scheduling methods I've used in the past.”
— Deputy review by Natalie T.
Product Name: BambooHR
User Satisfaction: 95%
G2 Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0 stars
BambooHR is a flexible core human resources information system (HRIS), also known as core HR. Features include job board posting, candidate filtering, employee onboarding, time off management, employee database and records, performance reviews, HR reporting, customized workflows, electronic signatures and more.
“I love the UX, the customization and the simple flow of data. There are great reports already set up and you have the option of customizing your own for any field that gets tracked.”
— BambooHR review by Carla M.
Product Name: Paycom
User Satisfaction: 91%
G2 Star Rating: 4.1 out of 5.0 stars
Paycom is a cloud-based human capital management software that helps businesses manage the employment lifecycle from recruitment through retirement. Features include candidate tracking, ATS, background checks, onboarding, time and labor management, expense management, payroll and tax management, performance management, benefits administration, analytics and more.
“Paycom is user-friendly. It is easy for employees and HR professionals to navigate the system. The reporting features are great. The benefits module is getting better every year. It allows our employees to have a seamless online enrollment. The employee self service is easy to use. There is always a dedicated representative who I know can answer my tough questions. My favorite feature is that you can make development requests that Paycom may implement. Paycom is always improving and getting better.”
— Paycom review by Jasmin G.
Product Name: Humanity
User Satisfaction: 90%
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars
Humanity is a workforce management software that provides solutions for a variety of industries including health care, education, restaurants, retail and call centers. Features include employee scheduling, attendance tracking, staff leave management, data-driven scheduler, staff communication, employee budgeting, onboarding and training, and data analysis.
"Humanity allows us to quickly and easily manage over 100 employees. Mobile alerts and clock-in for quick access to schedules allow our staff to focus more on their tasks and not worrying about whether or not they are in the right place at the right time. Tracking skills and certifications for the variety of different positions we have at our conference center makes life so much easier. Gone is the Excel spreadsheet of schedules for quick, easy and powerful management.”
— Humanity review by Alex S.
Product Name: APS Core HR Solutions
User Satisfaction: 89%
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars
APS Core HR Solution provides small- and mid-size businesses with HR solutions. Features include benefits, performance reviews, employee event and activity tracking, HR analytics and more.
“I love how easy it is to keep records, pull reports, and run payroll. Also the staff is always there to help with questions. I also love how easy it is to manage employee garnishments. Garnishments can be time consuming but not with APS. They make the process easy!”
— APS Core HR Solution review by an administrator
Product Name: Ceridian Dayforce
User Satisfaction: 87%
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars
Dayforce is a human capital management (HCM) solution that provides a single platform for a variety of employee management solutions. Features include HR, payroll, talent and workforce management, benefits and more.
“While I am very new to Dayforce and use only a small corner of the system, I have been very impressed. I use a different time management tool for my employer, but as a supervisor I oversee individuals who are employed by affiliates. For this I have access to the Dayforce system to approve timecards. I must say it is very sleek and easy to manage. As an approver, I do very little aside from logging in to make less than five clicks and my employee’s time is approved for the respective period – simple! For the employee, they can designate their intended work hours ahead of time and backtrack changes as needed. It gives them peace of mind, able to focus on their work, rather than constantly swiping in and out to avoid overtime, etc. With this comes accountability of hours worked of course.”
— Dayforce review by John P.
Product Name: UltiPro
User Satisfaction: 86%
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars
UltiPro is Ultimate Software’s cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution. Features include employee information and history, payroll administration, tax management and compliance, recruiting, employee onboarding and training, AI and machine learning, employee surveys, career development, compensation management and more.
“Ultimate Software has allowed our company to do more with our HR information in a shorter amount of time. We are able to create reports to give to upper management, department heads and supervisors in a timely fashion. We have the ability to onboard employees with little worry and the software is cloud based. There is so much we can do that I wonder why we waited so long to upgrade systems!”
— UltiPro review by Allison B.
Product Name: Zenefits
User Satisfaction: 84%
G2 Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Zenefits People Platform provides small- to mid-sized companies with HR solutions, with a specialty in health care. Features include payroll, time and attendance, self-service benefits administration, hiring and onboarding, performance management, ACA compliance, mobile app and more.
“I like the fact that Zenefits is always improving. I was with the company when it was a free platform and [still] now that it is paid. I am waiting for full scheduling functionality before I move on to transferring all of my human resources programs.”
— Zenefits review by Christopher W.
Product Name: Jibble
User Satisfaction: 83%
G2 Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 stars
Jibble is a productivity solution that provides a variety of industries including construction, hospitality, startups, education, legal, and more. Features include time and attendance, time tracking, and time sheets, and the Jibble app provides connections across Slack, Microsoft Teams, iPad, iPhone, Android and Chrome.
“I love that Jibble allows my team to work from anywhere in the world, track their progress, and make sure they're not working themselves too hard.”
— Jibble review by Cydney I.
Product Name: Kronos Workforce Ready
User Satisfaction: 78%
G2 Star Rating: 3.9 out of 5.0 stars
Kronos Workforce Ready combines workforce management and human capital management (HCM) solutions in one cloud platform. This solution helps companies manage salaried, hourly, full-time, or part-time employees. Features include scheduling, leave management, time keeping, compensation management, performance management, talent acquisition and more.
“We have recently updated to version 8.0.13 and I like the ‘Gantt View’ option in the schedule view. It is nice being able to quickly see upcoming vacations and know how much labor is available on a given day. The Exception Alerts are also very useful, highlighting any discrepancies in time cards without having to dig through each individual's time card and look for missed/late punches, etc.”
— Kronos Workforce Ready review by Joshua R.
Workforce management is an essential part of any successful business. There are a variety of workforce management solutions that can provide HR departments, management, and employees the insight they need to maintain productivity.
For free solutions to keep your employees organized and on track, be sure to check out the 21 Best Free Project Management Software Solutions for 2019.
Courtney is G2's senior research analyst for HR technologies, whose coverage areas include recruiting, employee engagement, and talent management. She maintains the integrity of the HR technology space by consulting directly with HR vendors and analyzing authenticated review data. Her comprehensive research on employee engagement and HR trends have been quoted in TechRepublic, among other publications.
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