Workforce Management: What is macro management?

Workforce management includes any and all things that pertain to ensuring productivity in a business. How this is handled varies business to business, but in the end usually swings toward one of two sides; one side being the realm of micro management while the other is that of macro management. Lets talk about the latter. Macro management is — No, not that macro management. There isn’t enough time in the day to talk about Warcraft. (That’s really just micro management on a larger scale anyway)… The one we’re talking about is a workforce management system that focuses on leading decision makers and generalized systems so that company targets are approached in a more natural and spontaneous way.

Managing workforce in this manner heavily relies on having faith in your employees and having faith that they possess effective leadership skills to take on certain roles and responsibilities without having to be provoked. The philosophy of this type of workforce management is more carrot than stick. That is, employers hope the laissez-fare style of overseeing work gives way to creative solutions that workers can feel a particular ownership over that they wouldn’t have previously had. Ownership of work can then lead to a greater deal of thought and care being put in to the day-to-day.

Turns out that in practice, this isn’t the case. Yeah, go figure. You may argue that the interview process is the culling of such personality types so that if it is done correctly, they should be ready to make company magic after its gauntlet.  The thing is, even if you do have the right people, they still need structure otherwise they will try and create their own and it turns into chaos and wasted time. Such was discussed in a recent Harvard Business Review podcast with Tanya Menon, associate professor at Fisher College of Management, Ohio State University. Menon uses a band analogy to demonstrate,

[If] you bring together a whole bunch of musical instruments and say, now play. You’re going to get noise. You’re going to get chaos. It’s going to be cacophonous. And that’s what you end up seeing in these kinds of environments. And so you have to help people know what is the instrument they should play, what is the right time to play it in, and how they can do all of this.

To go further with the analogy, in that disharmony the same louder instruments (people) are heard and the same old tunes (ideas) are played, lost to the din, then played again. Menon calls this Jim March’s garbage can model because people, problems, and solutions are just sort of randomly mixing, remixing, and so on without a clear causal mock-up to ultimately end up just forming different combinations of waste.

In order to avoid this, workforce management, well, effective workforce management, needs to be treated as a tightrope walk. You have to be sure not to lean too far to either extreme or you risk a greater chance of falling. Fortunately, managing workforce is getting easier by the day with more and more businesses putting a greater focus into the digital workspace and where it’s going. With this ubiquitous shift, digital workforce management systems such as LiveTiles are more valuable than ever and can really help you keep that balance by providing more than one straight and narrow avenue for success.

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