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We caught up with business coach Tony Ozanne, to continue the conversation about smarter approaches to workforce management. Last time , Tony spoke about the benefits of automation in saving managers’ time, by taking care of everyday admin. But, when you’ve got good data coming through, other benefits flow from that as well. Including useful business intelligence.Tony knows this area inside out: he brings 20 years of corporate management experience, internationally with the KFC and Pizza Hut chain, and nationally with his coaching business.

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EE: Tony, when you start working with a business, what do you see in terms of their HR systems?

Tony: When a business gets more established, they’ll be developing some strategies like their succession planning, but their HR systems haven’t really caught up. The payroll may still be manual, and they may not be using software to track payroll, apart from just the basic accounting package functions.

What they’re missing out on is what else can they get from their payroll process, apart from just paying people.

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EE: Why do you think businesses aren’t doing more with this data?

Tony: A lot of businesses don’t look at their labour line as a cost centre. When I talk to businesses and ask ‘What’s your cost of sales versus your cost of labour?’, they look at you blankly. They don’t really know what the true cost of labour is to their business.

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EE: So where’s a good place to start?

Tony: The first thing would be to have a budget for their payroll. Compare their budget versus their actual outlay. Is that where their business needs to be?

Back when I was a manager of a KFC, we used to run this report called SETWR: the Store Employee Time Work Report. That listed all the employees, the hours that they worked, and all the breaks. The smart managers would look at the cost of that roster each day, and then plug into a daily KPI tracker that linked it to sales. So if I budgeted for 10 hours today and I’ve used 15, why did I use 15?

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EE: So going over could actually be a good thing?

Tony: Yes, potentially. Maybe you did so much business one day that staff needed to stay back to cover it. You should definitely be tracking the labour costs, but also linking it in with other metrics, like turnover.

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EE: What tools can people use to support this?

Tony: Well, the technology has come in leaps and bounds in the last five years. You’ve got products like yours, easyEMPLOYER, which is cool and light, and does all the rostering and integration. The technology these days is much more affordable, accessible, and easy to use, with mobile applications.

So once you’ve got all the systems in place, they’re pretty straightforward to implement.

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