All you need to know about AI-driven WFM

Updated by Leigh Hutchens

How can AI benefit you?

AI (artificial intelligence) has been around for some time now, but lately, it’s been a topic discussed even more intensely than before, and for a lot of businesses, it has taken a firm position high up on the agenda. Many are exploring how to leverage the technology for new, smart ways of working.

There’s a lot of excitement around AI and maybe some question marks too, but what we do know is that AI-powered WFM is a huge force for good. At Quinyx, we’ve been making AI a part of our DNA, developing solutions to aid in better decision-making and seeing patterns the naked eye can’t compute while relieving us from time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks. Ultimately, AI has the ability to improve the work-life of millions of workers across the globe, stretching from frontline to HQ.

Given the many benefits AI can generate for both your business and your employees, it is safe to say that if you haven’t already, it’s time to start making the transition toward an AI-powered WFM. Because one thing is for sure - it will change how we work forever.

Save time and headaches with AI-driven scheduling

At its core, AI helps you work smarter. But what are the opportunities AI creates in the WFM space? What do we actually mean by AI-driven workforce management? Save time and headaches with AI-driven scheduling. The profitability of your business and the happiness of your employees are completely linked to how you create your schedules.

At the heart of it, AI helps you to automatically create a schedule and assign shifts to available employees with the press of a button. In Quinyx, this is done based on your business objectives, which include cost savings and employee fairness, as well as better customer-facing service.

If you’ve set the technology up to optimize for cost savings, it will create shifts that tightly hug peak hours to avoid overstaffing, and vice versa when optimizing for superior customer service. Regardless of which objective it has been set up for, AI will never ignore the command to be compliant with labor laws, but we’ll get to that later on!

And if you thought it couldn’t get any better, it will also try to be as humane and fair as possible—only scheduling based on employee skills, contracts, and availability and distributing shifts evenly across the workforce.

Essentially, it will make everything that would cause scheduling to take hours seem easy as can be. If there’s ever a need to re-optimize to account for sick leave, unexpected demand changes, or simply because life has taken a different turn, AI has your back and pumps out a new schedule just as quickly.

Though it may look simple, it can still sound scary. But not to worry! Repeat after us: “AI is here to simplify our work and to support us in the process”. Schedules may be squeezed out in minutes, but you are still in control. Tweak and adapt along the way and give it the final go when you are certain schedules never looked better.

Hyper-precision with next-level forecasting

How do you know how busy you will be at any given time? How can you see what the future holds? The answer is AI. In Quinyx, demand forecasting is a solution that takes the context of each demand driver within each individual location into account, allowing for more accurate demand forecasts on the most granular level. It uses AI-driven algorithms to predict future customer demand that will help capture different demand drivers like transactions, footfall, and revenue per location and department, making forecasts more accurate than ever before.

The best examples of demand forecasts combine historical data with events, public holidays, or promotions - basically anything that could affect your business demand. You can even identify peak and dull periods on a 15-minute, daily, and weekly level. Using demand forecasting algorithms equipped with machine learning methods to crunch all existing historical data will always give you more accurate results than simply looking at, for example, average sales figures from the past three months.

Always compliant with labor regulations

Failure to keep up with changing labor laws can quickly create a perfect storm of non-compliance and financial nightmares for your business.

Manual solutions to manage your workforce or outdated WFM solutions can easily see you break labor laws, leading to compliance issues, lawsuits, and the prospect of hefty fines. This is where AI-driven WFM comes to the rescue.

Quinyx’s AI-driven scheduling solution helps you stay compliant by accounting for scheduling rules, legislation changes, contractual requirements, union limits, breaks, and rest periods. Schedules are created only based on the skills and certifications required to perform each role, and schedules are published well in advance. Say goodbye to the constant worry of becoming non-compliant. AI’s got you covered!

AI-enabled flexibility in the scheduling process

Many frontline employees - more specifically 45% - say their work schedule caused them to miss out on special moments, like social events or holiday celebrations. When working 9-5 in an office Monday to Friday, being there for these kinds of events can feel like a given. But, for frontline workers, the reality is different. A good workforce management tool allows employees to set their availability and planners to simply schedule based on their availability, AI-driven scheduling or not. What matters is that despite constant changes, automated scheduling can help you iterate on those changes and quickly create new schedules.

Even after the availability period has been locked, it’s good to offer employees the possibility to swap shifts with peers to maximize that sense of flexibility.

Fairer schedules as a standard

Typically, the businesses we work with want to optimize their schedules in relation to three key areas—fairness, performance, and cost. Quinyx’s AI works alongside our WFM solution to do this to benefit both employees and the business.

One of the rules recently added to Quinyx to create fairer schedules is to fulfill contract hours relatively equally between employees. This means that several people will get 80% contract hour fulfillment, instead of some getting 100% while others get 60%. So no more feelings of shortcomings or being overworked due to unfair scheduled shifts.

On top of that, there will always be what’s considered favorable and less favorable types of shifts. With this in mind, Quinyx AI is not only equally distributing shift types, but also doing the same for types of shifts, so those less favorable shifts (like nights and weekends) are balanced and distributed equally between employees.

Wrap up

When putting the frontline needs first, businesses avoid facing consequences like higher staff turnover, lower productivity, and higher sick percentages.

An AI-powered WFM solution that takes time rules, schedule stability, predictability, and scheduling fairness into account, gives frontline workers the right working conditions that can make them want to stay longer in the company. And so, thanks to AI, companies can retain top talent and stay attractive in a competitive market.

Of course, we know that it may seem like we’re only trying to paint a pretty picture of what AI can do, but after seeing our customers’ success, it’s incredibly clear that AI for WFM is here to stay.

By powering up your WFM solution with AI you’ll be able to make better decisions, based on real data. It will also take care of the ‘heavy lifting’ for you, save you hours of admin, help you spark an engaged and motivated workforce, and ensure that work just works for everyone.

Read more about AI-Demand Forecasting here and manually running AI Demand Forecasting here.

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