What Makes WFM Intelligent, and Why Does it Matter?

February 13, 2024

by Malysa O’Connor

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Automation vs. Intelligent Automation

When I started working in workforce management (WFM) in the 1990s, the key value proposition focused on automating manual processes. Taking daily tasks and workflows and automating them to save time and effort while ensuring quality and consistency. Even today, in 2024, if you look at many legacy solutions, you will see product descriptions that focus on “streamlining processes,” “automating tedious tasks that overburden managers,” or “automating calculations”—automation of business processes, pure and simple.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), modern workforce management solutions like Legion are redefining automation and taking it to the next level by adding intelligence.

Until now, the role of enterprise applications has been to provide software tools for users to streamline business processes, but the users have to make most decisions outside the software. However, the advent of intelligent automation marks a significant evolution in this area. It empowers managers by automating critical workforce management aspects, enhancing productivity and business process automation. This innovation relieves managers and employees from routine tasks and integrates intelligence into automating WFM processes, maintaining human oversight for evaluation or adjustments. The shift towards intelligent automation also allows for more efficient use of expertise and time, transforming how businesses operate. This frees managers and employees from daily tasks and applies intelligence to automate WFM processes while allowing for human control.

What is Intelligent Automation?

“Intelligent Automation (IA) is fueling the next wave of digital transformation.”

A new generation of enterprise applications powered by AI is automating decision-making and executing those decisions, easing the burden on managers and allowing them to truly focus on growing employee engagement and top-line revenue. A recent survey conducted by Propeller Research and sponsored by Legion found that investments in technology that enables intelligent automation to reduce administrative burdens are top of mind.

Managers ranked employee scheduling, managing daily administrative tasks, and callouts or no-shows as most important, along with better communication tools.

But, there is a lot of confusion in the market about what AI is and why it’s a critical component of modern workforce management solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the value AI and intelligent automation delivers.

Intelligent Automation in Action

Legacy workforce management solutions were never designed for the workforce. Cutting costs and business efficiency was the focus, with the employee experience just an afterthought. Built on outdated technology, they lack mature data science, are highly customized, costly to maintain, and lack the flexibility you need to adapt to changing business needs.

Workforce management doesn’t have to be so hard. At Legion, we believe that labor efficiency and employee engagement can be improved simultaneously. To do this, workforce management must evolve to be fundamentally intelligent, automated, and employee-centric. Automation is at the foundation of everything we do – reducing the friction that distracts managers and employees from focusing on what is most important – servicing your customers. A few benefits include

Benefits for Managers

Optimize labor through more precise, accurate forecasts

Predict demand across all customer touchpoints and locations. Legion’s fully automated Demand Forecasting is based on mature data science and has been in production for over seven years. Demand Forecasting automatically synthesizes thousands of data points, including historical data, ongoing operations, and future events like weather and local events, to create the optimal labor plan without human intervention. Without intelligent automation, it would be nearly impossible to analyze this volume or granularity of data and make it actionable.

Legion has designed a fully automated infrastructure that handles the end-to-end data ingestion process, model (re-)selection, model (re-)training, and forecast generation to help even the largest organizations achieve new levels of data accuracy. Our unique ML approach provides specific models and forecasts for every driver so you can forecast items, traffic, sales, transactions, and more by channel and location. Legion measures the predictability of each driver to deliver precise forecasts per driver.

Cut scheduling time in half

Automatically match labor needs with employee skills and schedule preferences. Through intelligent automation, automatically generated schedules continuously improve by incorporating and learning from the positive edits managers make and employee preferences to generate the optimal schedule instantly.

Optimized schedules can be created in seconds. Legion uses advanced optimization techniques to match business needs with employees’ skills and preferences 96% of the time. Employees can be automatically scheduled across locations to optimize labor efficiency. With Legion’s Automated Scheduling, managers maintain oversight and control of scheduling creation and maintenance while reducing scheduling time by 50%. Hourly employees get gig-like schedule flexibility and control through powerful self-service tools. Managers can shift their focus to managing the business, increasing sales, and creating a culture that retains employees.

Improve manager productivity

The deep alignment of timesheets and timeclock data with employee schedules ensures alignment at all times, increasing scheduling efficiency with automatic timesheet approvals. If a timesheet is within a certain threshold, such as an employee working a shift as scheduled, it can be automatically approved. And, if an employee swaps a shift minutes before the shift start time, Legion automatically knows whom to expect for the shift.

Delivers end-to-end compliance management

Legion Time and Attendance proactively notifies managers when a schedule edit may cause premium pay. Employees can consent to schedule changes and clopening on the time clock or mobile device. Time and Attendance flags the timesheet and alerts the manager of any assessed compliance premiums based on employee clocks, ensuring that the premiums paid are accurate and necessary. Compliance premium assessments for federal, state, and city labor laws, including overtime, predictive scheduling premiums (for Fair Workweek ordinances), split shifts, and more, are automatically applied.

Empower hourly employees with gig-like flexibility

Automatically fill shifts based on skills, preferences, and rules. Enable self-service shift swaps and shift claims. Automatically respond to employee schedule requests based on rules.

Benefits for Employees

Legion WFM transforms the frontline employee experience so you can attract and retain highly productive employees.

Gig-like flexibility automatically delivered

Employees have more flexibility and control with automated self-service shift swaps and shift claims. They can define when, how much, and where they want to work and update their preferences anytime. Shift offers are automatically curated for best-fit employees based on preferences, skills, and compliance factors.

Maximize Employee Engagement

Build trust and transparency and empower employees with modern communication tools, instant access to earned wages, the ability to view real-time performance metrics, and easy-to-use self-service tools to swap shifts and claim open shifts—all from a highly rated, intuitive mobile app rated 4.8 on the app store by tens of thousands of employees.

By incorporating Legion’s AI-enhanced systems like Demand Forecasting, Labor Optimization, Automated Scheduling, Time and Attendance, you can transform your operations with workforce management powered by intelligent automation.

Join us for a live demo to see Legion WFM powered by intelligent automation. Or, schedule a demo with us today to learn how WFM, enabled by intelligent automation, can maximize labor efficiencies and employee engagement simultaneously.