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Chris Barbour

Chris Barbour

Back to Business With Work.Com: Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Reward

An important part of our charter as a company is to help our customers get back to business, with a current focus on minimizing workforce risk and keeping teams healthy and productive. We are excited about the ideas being launched in the market by Salesforce around Work.com, and helping businesses start their journey toward recovery. As Work.com is introduced, our team has identified key use cases that will enable companies to expand Work.com beyond a system of engagement to a system of intelligence.

In this two-part series, we’ll discuss expanding the possibilities around workforce scheduling and optimization, employee sentiment with Einstein, and intelligent contact tracing.

Balancing the Need to Return to Work With Predictive, Preventive Safety Measures

Over the last three months, we’ve seen how Covid-19 has forced the majority of the workforce to their homes, through telework, furloughs, or in the worst cases, involuntary unemployment. As restrictions on business begin to ease across the economy, a pent-up demand for getting individuals back to work is mounting. However, returning too soon could lead to an additional wave of infections, resulting in reimposing restrictions on the workforce once again, driving even further negative economic and social effects. Fortunately, the risk of this resurgence could be tempered with data-driven strategies that inform the return of the on-premise workforce.

But how do we determine an effective solution for safely bringing employees back to work? When employees are back at work, should we stagger particular units/shifts to decrease the risk of spreading the virus? How do we determine the appropriate mix of a remote workforce and an on-premise workforce?

Workforce Scheduling and Optimization

Prior to the outbreak, determining an optimal schedule to balance workloads, skill sets, and capacity was already a challenging task. These firm-specific problems seek to determine which allocation of company resources under constraints provides a balance of efficiency and profitability. This tended to be a difficult optimization procedure, one that searches for the most favorable inputs around staffing, capacity, and scheduling for maximizing a business-defined objective function, such as balancing cost vs. efficiency, with constraints on the inputs (e.g., matching skill sets to tasks, accounting for regulations). These are common problems in industries such as supply chain management, contract work, logistics, services, and airline staffing. However, these same solutions can be adapted for a broader world of industries to determine scheduling solutions in the post-virus workplace.

For these extensions, additional considerations must be balanced when selecting the on-premise work schedule. Individuals in business units that are active throughout various areas of the organization could spread the virus more quickly if infected, and this “corporate connectivity” could be a risk factor that is accounted for in the solution. Business units performing similar tasks (e.g., shifts in a manufacturing facility) should remain cohesive and offset in the event that an infection occurs in one unit, and this could be a constraint in the solution. Realistic distance that can be expected between employees working in the same physical space can be used to determine the feasibility of specific units returning to on-premise employment.

This information could be captured by images, providing a rich source of data to be included in the problem formulation. Additionally, these solutions can leverage Salesforce and Work.com to incorporate data from online command centers, contact tracing, and easily accessible Covid-19 data.

Easily Integrating Highly Customizable Machine Learning Solutions With Salesforce and Work.com

The machine learning methods used to solve these customized solutions are currently not available in the Einstein suite and require outside data science platforms. Developing these solutions outside of the CRM platform would traditionally require the development of custom integration tools for referencing the model insights.

To combat this pain point, we have developed our Machine Learning Model Broker Service, an intermediary solution allowing for seamless integration between custom machine learning solutions and CRM users with little technical overhead. Using Model Broker, these highly customizable machine learning solutions can be seamlessly integrated with Salesforce and Work.com to provide powerful insights that maximize scheduling efficiency while minimizing risk of resurgence.

Employee Sentiment Made Simple With Einstein

I spoke with Eric Loftsgaarden, VP of Data Science and Atrium Co-Founder, about the relationship between employee effectiveness and state of mind, and how Einstein can help identify and support the correlation between the two.

Assessing Employee Mental Health and Engagement Levels

“We can use Einstein intent to assess state of mind, proactively rather than reactively, using analytics to examine trends and identify hot spots through surveys, group chats, social, and Salesforce Chatter data sources,” said Eric.

“As companies work to support the blended remote/in-office workstyle driven by social distancing requirements, assessing employee mental health and engagement levels will be critically important. Companies that can proactively monitor and react to low or declining employee engagement will see increased employee happiness and productivity.”

“Unstructured employee comment data can be sourced from wellness surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, Salesforce Work.com Chatter feeds, or even internal chat groups. All of this data can be assessed using the Einstein Sentiment classification engine. By using Einstein analytics on top of the sentiment data,” said Eric, “companies can monitor employee sentiment trends and identify negative trends or areas of potential trouble within different groups or organizations. Early identification can be used to proactively respond to areas of the organization that are struggling with changes in the post-Covid work environment.”

Help Getting Back to Business With Atrium

How are you preparing to move from survival mode to recovery mode in new market conditions? We have developed a Business Resilience Workshop designed to help your team create a framework to optimize existing IT investments, understand recent business patterns, and develop tactical plans for your next steps forward.

Get more information and schedule your Business Resilience Workshop with us now.

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