Employee relationship management gains new space: analyst

If you’re an employee who can’t work a certain shift, chances are it’s tough for you to find a replacement or even inform your bosses. You don’t show up and you get slapped with an attendance demerit point. The company then has to call in somebody to work overtime, which can be expensive.

According to David Ossip, founder and CEO of Toronto-based Workbrain Inc., the employee relationship management services offered by his organization allow employees in the above situation to post their shift to a corporate exchange board.

“Other employees who are qualified to work that particular shift can elect to work it. Thereby the first employee doesn’t get the demerit point, the second employee gets the extra money, and the company doesn’t have to call in someone to work overtime,” Ossip said.

According to the vendor, Workbrain provides self-service and workplace features that enhance productivity and connect employees to each other.

“We [help] large enterprises service their employees by delivering information that is very relevant to those employees’ lives. Things that help them increase the flexibility of their work schedule, access the ability to their supervisors and their managers,” Ossip said. “We help companies manage their employees by capturing a lot of metric information, and providing different types of tools that analyze those particular types of data.”

Workbrain runs on any Web browser. “The system is also accessible from any mobile browser. It’s completely Internet and wireless.”

The automation of time reporting, employee scheduling and labour allocation functions, according to Ossip, generate significant cost savings by reducing payroll and processing costs, eliminating input errors, and saving employee and supervisor time.

Research director Paul Hamerman at Virginia-based Giga Information Group said the scope of Workbrain is unique.

“You would need to cobble together several products to address the scope of the business process and functions that this one addresses,” Hamerman said. “I don’t think there is another product out there that combines in-depth time and attendance functionality with self-service.”

Hamerman said Workbrain has differentiated itself in its space, calling it’s product employee relationship management.

“Workbrain is focusing on high-volume, high-frequency transactions.”

According to Hamerman, Workbrain’s architecture is well-thought out. “It’s a thin, Web-based client deployment, which will work well in a large organization because it is scaleable.”

British Airways was the first large organization to take on Workbrain’s solution, according to Georgia LaBarge, who said the airline wanted to automate its employee information systems.

“We wanted to improve them for the benefit of our employees,” said LaBarge, manager of employee services at British Airways in Jackson Heights, N.Y. “The main advantage is that it gives British Airways timely and accurate information.”

LaBarge explained that because the airline has widely-dispersed employees, the time-card system they presently use isn’t considered top notch.

“Those time cards need to be sent in and processed. So there are exceptions in their overtime. There’s a week delay just because they have to be mailed. As a result of (now) automating this process, that will be current,” LaBarge said. “It’s all about giving employees secure access to their information. Anytime they need to, from their home or work, (they can) access vacation time, sick leave, trades, bidding of schedules or vacations.”

British Airways is planning to roll out the system to the first airport, in Atlanta, by the end of November.