What Is Workforce Management | 3 mins read

What is Workforce Management- The Complete Guide

what is workforce management the complete guide
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Workforce management is a set of applied best practices meant to increase employee productivity. There are a variety of reasons why companies utilize a workforce management solution including hiring and onboarding, scheduling employees, time and attendance tracking, and payroll processing, which is why HR can also utilize this as a great management tool.

With a number of benefits that strategic WFM can offer companies, there is not one specific strategy to guarantee success. Rather, companies can get started by piecing together several policies that tailor to their needs, while also incorporating the use of current systems that are already set in place and effective.

The overall goal to gain from workforce management is to help manage streamline company processes. In doing so, employees can invest more energy in work responsibilities and customer engagement.

Streamlining Operational Practices

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Workforce management systems are most commonly applied to human resources and are used to streamline data intake. By streamlining data, this creates orderliness by resolving discrepancies and saving time. There are several common task-based categories of software workforce management-

  • Scheduling - WFM systems can be used as a schedule builder for hourly employees
  • Absence/leave - Employees and HR professionals work together to request/approve time off
  • Time clocks - WFM systems make punching in/out easier to create accuracy
  • Payroll - By having employees direct deposit information and work hours all in one place, this makes payroll easier
  • Benefits - Easier to track raises, bonuses, or other benefits without excess tracking
  • Employee onboarding tasks - Employees can complete new hire paperwork or sign policies all in one online platform for HR to easily track status and completion
Beyond these common tasks, workforce management also includes workforce tracking, which monitors data over time. Some examples include-

  • Demand forecasting - Management can plan for any gaps or changes in staffing to then reach out to other employees for replacement
  • Labor budgeting - Plan for new projects or assess employee capacity to be sure staffing is meeting the companies growing needs
  • Performance monitoring - Tracks performance details about employees such as productivity or team morale
  • Employee skill matching - By identifying skillsets of employees management can place them in the appropriate team where they'll be the greatest asset
  • Asset tracking - Keeps track of company resources that move around several departments or teams
However a business chooses to implement a WFM system, the goal is to streamline internal processes to maximize productivity.

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Not to be Confused with Workforce Optimization

Workforce optimization is an overall collection of applications that help companies optimize work performance. These applications include call recording, analytics, online coaching, surveys, and more. While workforce management is a component of WFO.

Workforce management software is a system of tools and processes that support scheduling and staff availability, timekeeping and payroll, modules for strategic planning, and budgeting which in turn supports overall workforce optimization. WFM is geared towards managing people whereas WFO is geared towards monitoring and analyzing performance.

How Workforce Management Works

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To introduce a successful workforce management system, it involves several main areas-

Forecasting and Budgeting
To match the right employees with the right resources, companies need to know what type of resources, and how much of the resources they need. Companies also need to keep in mind what their budget is going to be to determine how much or how little staff employers can afford and figure out what customer demands will look like.

For example, if peak season is approaching for business employers need to begin forecasting how many employees the company is expected to need.

Manual employee scheduling can be time-consuming for any management. With WFM, it automates the scheduling process and takes all variables into accounts such as summer vacations or availability, to then create an optimal schedule that works for all employees. With scheduling software, it makes it easier for employees to cover sick days or no-shows, that way no one is left without enough resources.

Timekeeping and Attendance
Time tracking software ensures employees aren't abusing overtime and makes it easier to track employee attendance in real-time to ensure payroll is accurate. By using a time clock it increases the accuracy of clock in and clock out times, increases productivity by eliminating the need to manually re-enter time card data, and increases employee satisfaction by guaranteeing timely and accurate pay.

Employee Performance and Satisfaction
Perhaps one of the most important factors of workforce management is- How employees perform on the clock and how they feel about their job performance. To create employee engagement, companies must have values and employee standards in place.

For better performance and higher employee satisfaction, a company needs to hire people who demonstrate company values. Employee onboarding offers an opportunity to highlight a companies commitment to honoring respect to their employees and to also promote employee advocacy.

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