Common workforce management staffing challenges and how to fix them

“Insurance company Liberty has published its claim statistics for 2020, showing a significant increase in retrenchment and mortality claims following the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and hard lockdown in April.” BusinessTech 20 May 2021

Employer fired employees. Mass layoff or retrenchment concept.

Anyone who goes to a shopping centre in South Africa today sees evidence of this, with many spaces up for lease, many companies downsizing, more cries for donations than ever before, and a significant increase in the number of people begging at our stop streets.

The impact of these retrenchments is that those in the HSE industry lucky enough to retain their jobs have hugely increased workloads to deal with, in the same amount of time, often for less money. All this with significant increase in compliance requirements, largely driven by Covid-19.
This extremely hard economic climate creates significant challenges for the management of our workforces, and we have some suggestions as to how we can overcome them.

Higher HSE Compliance Requirements with Less Resources

Companies are being forced to retrench, but still have the same, and even more stringent, HSE & WFM requirements. So how are your already stretched employees expected to deliver more with less time and money to deliver with?

Situations like this can be turned into an advantage. It may cause you to review your current process flow and see how things can be done more efficiently and time effectively. This can be done with a simple process flow review with your team. The exercise will also result in significant buy-in from your team and may assist with alleviating concerns regarding their ability to deliver.

Another great tool to assist is using WFM software like the Rapid WFM software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, to assist with automating functions that were previously done manually. Automation of these repetitive processes can increase efficiency and compliance using less resource, thereby enabling your teams to deliver realistically.

An example of this may be using the Rapid Induct software to ensure OHS training is automatically scheduled for staff every year. This way your OHS team only has to review the dashboard and worry about staff that have not completed the training. Saves time and allows them to quickly address non-compliance.

Quality of data, which is relied on to make significant decisions, often becomes a huge problem when employees have restricted time to collect, collate and input data. Streamlining how data is collected, input, stored, available to the relevant personnel and reported is another great way of reducing HSE workforce challenges. If data only needs to be collected once, you will save your employee’s time.

A simple example of this may be the contact details of a supplier that is required to perform services for your company. Many people in the organisation may need to know about that suppliers’ services, when they will be performed, who to contact, the scope of work. Imagine having 1 portal, where you can access all this information centrally, off data that has been input once. Then imagine being able to add the progress of the services as they are performed, again centrally so all concerned can follow progress at the touch of a button on their mobile device! Solutions like this save time and money, while enabling staff to remain compliant. Software solutions like Rapid Service Alert software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, can do all this and more.

The Fast Pace at which Companies are Expected to Change and Adapt

On top of the challenges that most international companies face, which include Covid-19 and the positive move to environmental sustainability, South African companies must also deal with strikes, BBBEE requirements, significant exchange rate fluctuations, exchange rate instability, labour unrest and political unrest. Many of these challenges come hard and fast, and companies are expected to be versant on the requirements, compliant and to achieve this within often very short time frames. All of this with the limited resources discussed above, and often with resources working off-site, which adds to the challenge.

How then do companies achieve this? Any change process will most likely comprise the following basic steps:

  • Highlighting the requirements
  • Understanding the requirements
  • Agreeing how best to execute
  • Drawing up the plan to execute
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities
  • Agreeing how to measure the outcomes
  • Auditing and measuring the outcomes

Effective communication is crucial to ensuring this process is followed, however with many company employees working on multiple sites, and/ or off-site this can be a challenge. Software solutions like Rapid Service Alert software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, can assist with assigning audits and tasks, to both employees and service providers, with the necessary SOP attached and instructions on what to do. Due dates, responsible persons, comments, photos and videos can be added. A convenient dashboard allows you to see tasks or checks that are overdue, by whom and why. All this is easily accessed as the software is cloud based, so working from home employees are as up to date as those on site. Solutions like this improve communication and ensure all are clear on what, when and how actions are required.

Decreased Performance Levels

The high demands and increasing uncertainty of today’s working environment can often result in employees being uncertain about their future, being highly stressed and struggling to remain motivated and energetic in their performance. This results in decreased performance levels, in a time when they are needed more than ever.

Keeping your employees motivated and passionate is hard to do in good economic times, and a huge task in todays economy. Some ways to combat employee fatigue include:

  • Reducing unnecessary workload through improving efficiency
  • Automating repetitive tasks, using WFM solutions like Rapid software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd
  • Conducting one on one meetings to address issues and come up with workable solutions
  • Improving communication and training using solutions like Rapid Induct software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, so staff know where they stand and what to expect

The Brain Drain

With so many people emigrating, the loss of trained and skilled resource is a very real problem for South African companies. How do we overcome this when the economy is at its most vulnerable and the political situation is more uncertain than ever?

  • Be adaptable – The world today is moving at a rapid pace; and you will need to be acquiring and retaining people with new age skills within your company to enable it to progress. WFM software solutions like Rapid software, offered by OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, are the kind of tools that will help you achieve this
  • Have a clear plan – which should be realistic, flexible, and well-communicated so that each employee knows exactly where they fit in in these changing times, minimising any desire for them to want to exit.
  • Embrace change – companies must have the ability to acknowledge and embrace change. This may mean your company needs new talent types within the business. A brain drain is minimised if people clearly understand and appreciate their role towards the bigger picture.
  • Watch out for talent – which is critical in any business. Companies must keep ahead of competitors by attracting the best talent. Transformation is an imperative in South Africa. People must be employed on merit, while knowledge transfer is just as important.


Choosing a WFM Software solution is a great way to deal with the WFM challenges every company in South Africa faces. It allows you to maintain your HSE standards if you need to retrench employees, adapt easily and efficiently to today’s COVID-19 working environments, keep pace with ongoing business and economic changes and communicate effectively to maintain staff morale and retain talent.

Companies like OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the Africa Licensee of the award-winning Rapid Global Software, have been delivering Health & Safety software solutions for over 20 years. Their only business is the continued development and improvement of their software, to make sure that the solutions keep pace with the ever-changing landscape. All their solutions come with mobile apps.

OVS Solutions, the Africa Licensee of Rapid Global, also have a great support team who are available to assist with live or online demonstrations, user guides, and relevant information you may require. They can help you with the expected ROI calculations and can share their tips on how to best maximize user adoption and can help you deliver on your plan!