The goal of every business and organization out there is to grow and remain relevant and competitive in the industry they operate. As all entrepreneurs know, in the current business landscape, this is not an easily achievable objective. There are many factors to take into account when it comes to ensuring the success of a company and there’s no one size fits all approach to drive your business towards its glory and guarantee it will outrun the competition. Some strategies work better than others and you must know which path to choose.
However, it seems there’s one thing all thriving organizations have in common and that is effective workforce management. The term workforce management has been widely vehiculated in the business world in recent years, yet it’s far from receiving the attention it deserves. A lot of company owners and managers are still not taking full advantage of modern workforce management methods, without realizing the many benefits they might be missing.
The good news is it’s never too late to change old habits and implement innovative ways to make your company more efficient and increase productivity. It’s obvious that businesses must adapt and evolve if they want to move forward, and right now it seems that at least a part of this evolution is linked to embracing workforce management. Since all roads lead to it, it’s worth taking the time to learn more about workforce management characteristics and find out how it can take your company to the next level.
What is workforce management?
In order to understand how workforce management can help your company, we must first explain what it’s about. Workforce management (WFM) can be defined as a set of tools and processes whose purpose is to improve the efficiency of business operations and increase employee’s productivity. Basically, workforce management is the key towards workforce efficiency. However, there’s not a single strategy that all companies can use to achieve success. There are various techniques and programs that businesses can apply, according to the activities they run and their specific needs, in order to streamline their internal operations.
The concept was first used in call centers as a way to help managers determine the number of employees needed to match the daily workload. From there it spread to other domains and nowadays its popularity is rapidly increasing, encompassing a variety of tasks, from HR activities, to budgeting and forecasting. Workforce management involves a series of activities such as:
- Scheduling – building a schedule from scratch is a very time-consuming task. WFM can reduce the time spent on scheduling by automating the process. This also reduces the risk of dealing with no shows and other staffing issues.
- Forecasting and budgeting – forecasting implies anticipating the staffing needs at any given time. Budgeting refers to planning your financial resources to match your staffing requirements. These two aspects go hand in hand in WFM, allowing businesses to plan ahead based on calculated predictions.
- Timekeeping and attendance – WFM systems offer an overall view of employees’ behavior, by monitoring the time they clock in and clock out, analyzing attendance patterns and keeping track of their day to day activity.
- Employee performance – WFM implies keeping a close eye on employees’ performance levels and understanding what motivates them and keeps them engaged in what they do.
- Compliance – it’s an essential aspect of WFM that focuses on ensuring that a business is compliant with all the laws and regulations in a specific area, and identifying all the necessary certifications.
- Payroll and benefits – WFM makes manual payroll a thing of the past, ensuring a much quicker and easier process.
- Absence and leave planning – absence and leave can me managed much more effectively with WFM digital tools.
How can a WFM software help your business?
All the above-mentioned areas must come together and work in synchronicity towards reaching the common goal of increasing employee productivity and ensuring company growth. Since it’s hard to connect the dots manually and create a coherent process, WFM usually comes in the form of a software that brings everything together under the same umbrella. The advantages of using a WFM software for your business are numerous:
Minimizing the risk of errors – humans are prone to making mistakes. An automated WFM system will eliminate the risk of human errors in key areas by replacing manual data input with system operated data. This will limit human intervention and ensure greater accuracy when it comes to data handling.
Cost reduction – Many of the tasks that were once done manually by workers will become automated. As a result, the number of employees needed in certain areas of activity will decrease. The obvious outcome is that the company will pay less wages to workers whose role was to perform repetitive administrative tasks. We mentioned there will be a lower risk of dealing with data-based errors which will also contribute to cost reduction as there will be less money spent on fixing mistakes or covering inaccuracies.
Time saving – since the WFM software will handle a lot of the administrative tasks that previously fell under the responsibility of HR team members, they will now have a lot more time to take care of more important activities that require human input and can’t be performed by a program such as employee training or strategic planning.
Better decision-making – all the data that a WFM software can gather and process gives managers the possibility to have a clear overview of the company’s situation and a deeper understanding of all the activities it involves. This allows them to make informed and calculated decisions and adapt as things change.
Optimized process – a WFM software eliminates a lot of unnecessary steps in the management process and simplifies numerous tasks, putting the focus on essential elements that require special attention. This obviously makes for a much smoother management process and allows both employees and managers to run their activities in a more effective manner.