How to Effectively Use Position Management for Flexible Employees


Remember that old baseball routine, Who’s On First? In it, comedians Abbott and Costello try to have a conversation about which baseball player is in which position. Costello is completely confused, and Abbott gets increasingly frustrated trying to explain what should be obvious. This classic routine is hilarious and has drawn laughs for decades.


But it’s not so funny when organizations are trying to figure out who’s on first — or rather, where people are in the organization.


Increased need for flexibility short-term fix; long-term reality

Organization leaders know that to be successful, their companies must be flexible and change direction as needed. For that to work, their employees also need to be flexible--a need the pandemic brought to painful light. 


During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across industries were forced to change their business models overnight just to survive. When retail stores shut down, they leaned on e-commerce and delivering purchases through curbside pickup. When restaurants couldn’t serve customers indoors, they set up outdoor seating and expanded food delivery.


Just as the services companies changed, in many cases, the jobs that employees performed changed too. Employers invested in cross-skilling and upskilling employees so they would have the skills needed for the new responsibilities. 


Even though companies made these functional changes because of the pandemic, these moves created a more efficient and agile workforce. Now that businesses have seen the benefits, they won’t want to go back to the traditional ways. However, for many organizations, maintaining that agility can bring new problems.


Challenges to gaining that flexibility 

Just as Costello struggled to know what baseball player was where, employers may struggle to know what employee is in which position. That struggle can be even more complicated when employees shift around, which makes tracking that movement and the data associated with such moves nearly impossible without transparency and proper visibility.


Often, companies use manual data processes to note how many hours an employee worked in a department or job, but this system is prone to error. Imagine, for example, that a retail employee alternates between several functions in the store. Each role may have a different department code and budget, and the functions themselves may have different pay rates. Multiply that by numerous employees, and the flexibility that is supposed to create efficiency becomes an HR nightmare.


Difficulty keeping track of changes 

Sometimes companies need employees to work different functions in a day, but sometimes, they need them to work another assignment long-term —like the sales associates who worked in a contact center instead of the sales floor. 


Organizations may use human capital management systems (HCMs) to keep track of their employees — or, who’s on first. But many HCMs use organization charts that are set up in a static way, based on the employee in that position, rather than the position itself. If the person in that position goes to work in a new function, historical data for that position is lost. This results in rebuilding or duplicating position data--steps that require manual processes and increase the likelihood of payroll and paycheck inaccuracies. 


Most HCMs also fail to capture moments in time. Org charts may change daily — or even more frequently, but most systems record people and positions as of a specific date — often a pay date. This makes it difficult for a manager to see who was in a job on a specific date or time. 


Keeping track of who’s on first 

An HCM should enhance a company’s efforts to be flexible, not hinder them. Cloud-based HCMs with position-based architecture help companies accurately track where people and positions are. When a person leaves a position, the data tied to that position remains available, which ensures accurate insights for reporting capabilities like budget versus actual comparisons. 


With frequent shifts to meet fluctuations, tools like SyncHR’s position-based software ensure leaders can see what the organization looks like at any point. This insight helps leaders make budgeting and headcount decisions, enabling them to meet short and long-term needs. 


With SyncHR, instead of worrying about who’s on first, companies can know where everyone is on the baseball field at any point in the game.


Contact SyncHR to find out how position-based management can provide a more accurate view of your company.



Back To Resources

Pamela DeLoatch

Pamela DeLoatch

Pamela is a freelance marketing writer who specializes in Human Resources and HR technology. With 16 years of HR and writing experience, combined with a journalism degree and an MBA, Pamela delivers compelling content that engages the audience and effectively conveys the marketing message.

Get the latest resources from SyncHR right in your inbox.

You might also like

Ready for a SyncHR demo?

Get a one-on-one demo of our platform and take your business to the next level.

Get Started

SyncHR Platform Overview

Our patented, enterprise-class technology is redefining and simplifying HCM

Learn More