Workforce Management Tools | 4 mins read

The Best Workforce Management Tools

the best workforce management tools
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Effectively managing your workforce is critical to the success and stability of your organization. Every business, department, and team is unique and has its own workforce management needs. As such, keeping track of employees' timeliness and trends can amount to organizational headaches, particularly in industries where demand can fluctuate irregularly.

When it comes to managment systems, HR managment, and management software, as a whole, the culture of many industries and organizations has changed rapidly in recent years, which presents additional challenges to business owners and managers who must keep up with these changes. Few will deny that the pace of business has increased, with aspects of digitization, globalization, and the emergence of a mobile workforce further complicating the mix of factors that impact workforce management.

WFM Tools Overview

Generally speaking, workforce management software (WFM) is a broad reference encompassing digital tools for desktop and mobile programs that help businesses schedule and track employees. The goal is to improve efficiency in workforce management, with objectives covering areas such as the efficient allocation of personnel, accountability, and compliance.

Some of the specific capabilities and features of the top workforce management software include

  • Scheduling of personnel
  • Tracking of workers' time and attendance
  • Tracking of vacation, sick and other leave time
  • Task management
  • Optimizing staff allocation
  • Ensuring compliance with labor laws
  • Employee utilities (shift trading functions, time off requests, etc.)
  • Payroll integration

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Comparing WFM Tools

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While the digital age has given rise to innumerable utilities that have revolutionized nearly every area of business, the downside is that the sheer number of available tools (onboarding software, management suites, etc.) can make the process of choosing the right one quite confusing. Workforce optimization software is no exception in this regard.

In order to demystify the process of evaluating the available workforce management tools, it's a good idea to base your analysis on key aspects of the products as they relate to your organizational objectives. Question the details and benefits and consider

Point solution or HCM suite
HCM suites are a more comprehensive workforce management solution, as they typically include a wide range of HR capabilities. If your organization is looking to supplement an existing suite or software bundle, a point solution that can be integrated with the former might be a better choice.

A general or industry-specific solution
Core scheduling and attendance functions that can be used across a wide range of industries are standard features in most WFM tools. Some industries and organizations require functions that are customized to their workforces. These can include teams that perform time-sensitive tasks, or organizations with a high rate of turnover.

Ease of use
This pertains to the learning curve, and it's an important qualifier. Any WFM solution has to be easy to use for managers and employees. While supplemental (and often expensive) training programs that get users up to speed may be unavoidable with custom suites that serve certain industries, these are definitely the exception to the rule. If the objective is to make the process easier and more efficient, then ease of use cannot be overlooked.

The Top 5 Workforce Tools

Advertised as a unified HR and payroll system, the Datis suite combines HR functions with several WFM requirements. It is a comprehensive WFM platform that allows managers to view, manage, and improve the entire employee lifecycle within an organization.

Tailored to the needs of upper-level management, operations, and HR, Datis also integrates with payroll functions (not all WFM suites do), which makes it a singularly attractive, one-stop solution for both small and large organizations.

Retain International (formerly Retain Resource Planning) offers a solution for managers who have more intensive employee evaluation or cross-training programs. It contains tools to aid managers in finding functional workplace gaps and skills deficiencies.

Retain features an instant onscreen view of the availability of resources over time, with powerful filtering and an intuitive user-friendly design. This allows owners and managers to quickly allocate time and resources to specific areas of the business.

The utility also boasts an easy-to-use, attractive reports area that features drag and drops functionality, duplication tools, variable time scales, and the ability to assign colors to your reports.

Tailored to larger businesses, Zenefits handles HR functions, benefits tracking, areas of compliance, communications, and payroll as well as scheduling and employee time tracking. A big time saver (as well as a selling point) is the platform's employee onboarding feature, whereby new hires can onboard themselves, with their information is immediately synced to benefits and payroll functions, saving managers and HR personnel time in the onboarding process.

Zenefits integrates with a wide range of other online workflow platforms (such as Slack and Google), so there are no problems with duplication or cross-communication. Zenefits also incorporates organizational charts and company directories that make it easier to manage your workforce. Employees even have the ability to update their own personal records (online or via mobile devices) to ensure that their information is always up-to-date.

Another solution that's geared primarily to larger organizations, Namely incorporates scheduling, onboarding, employee engagement, talent management, benefits administration, payroll, a compliance database, analytics, and a host of other functions. An intuitive, powerful applicant tracking solution helps to optimize the hiring process.

You can also sign up for enhanced benefits and payroll management features; Namely provides a live HR advisor feature, an OSHA database and educational utilities for managers as well.

A complete scheduling and time management solution, ZipClock's biometric time clock focuses on accuracy and accountability in scheduling and performance.

Biometrics eliminates the phenomenon of buddy punching because employees can only clock in and out for themselves. Special codes prevent employees from clocking into positions they're not scheduled for while allowing those with multiple assignments to clock in for thembut only at scheduled times.

A shift management function displays employee profile information so that when replacements are needed during crunch time, all available employees are listed with their weekly hours, hours worked, and skillsets. Finally, Zip Clock lets you track labor laws in real-time so that nasty compliance issues don't arise.

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