The last two years saw global workforces struggle to keep afloat. The pandemic highlighted the importance of workforce management as companies adapted new work models. In all the chaos, the responsibilities of HR professionals were significantly changed as they have to ensure good workforce management.
A lot has to be done to ensure that employees are managed to keep business operations up and running. Workforce management (WFM) systems existed before the pandemic, but they became much more evident, prompting companies and organizations to focus on effective workforce management.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the importance of workforce management and how to improve it.
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What is workforce management?
Workforce management is a set of processes and procedures used within an organization to increase the productivity and efficiency of the workers. All software firms in manufacturing industries employ WFM to optimize their business processes.
Workforce management is a broad term that encompasses many other activities. Its primary focus is to enable all possible opportunities to maintain a productive workforce. There are several workforce processes involved in WFM, including:
- Human resource management (HRM)
- Human capital management (HCM)
- Performance management
- Data collection and analytics
- Manpower budgeting and forecasting
Workforce management largely resembles human capital management’s tasks, where employee recruitment, management, and development are concentrated. The difference lies in the focus of WFM activities on maximizing employee performance and productivity while HCM is solely focused on ROI.
For any company, workforce management is essential. It ensures workers are performing at an optimum pace without strenuous work shifts. Companies that employ workforce management tools to track work in real-time can increase production and revenue multifold.
How does workforce management work?
Workforce management starts with employee hiring and ends with forecasting, including everything in between. A successful workforce management process is made up of several processes.
HR managers are responsible for managing all the tasks related to workforce management. However, it might not be possible to perform all the workforce management tasks alone. You might have to partner with department leaders and the analytics team to ensure critical initiatives run smoothly.
To ensure that you are meeting the workforce management targets, you must understand the key elements and create solutions to implement them for your workforce. Here are the most important task involved in workforce management.
1.Forecasting the employees and budgeting
Workforce management provides a lot of historical data that can be used to forecast when labor demands will change. Such employee forecasting can help optimize deployment and balance workload. Every business has peak hours when there is a requirement for much more workers than at other times.
For retail stores, this is the time during the holidays, and for manufacturing companies, it is when a large number of orders are to be processed. Workforce management processes can forecast high turnover rates, drop productivity or profits, prepare for events when the workload is significantly impacted, and examine past data for accurate labor and resource estimates.
Human capital is the most costly and variable expense for almost every company. You can budget the employees’ hiring, retention, and management with workforce planning. As WFM automates scheduling, it helps organizations adhere to labor laws and ensures that too much is not spent on overtime costs. Several studies show that workforce management offers the highest return on all HR investments.
2. Staff scheduling according to availability
Besides automatic time and attendance tracking, workforce management also helps correctly forecast and schedule staffing needs. Whether an organization has multiple staffing levels or fewer employees, shift scheduling can be complex, requiring many resources.
Staff scheduling ensures that all the variables such as vacation, availability, workload, and absences are considered when shift schedules are made. The primary responsibilities included in workforce management scheduling are managing the number of workers available, resolving overstaffing or understaffing issues, and forecasting for team growth.
For any organization, a reliable scheduling system must be in place to ensure an understaffed workforce does not affect productivity during critical times. It also provides opportunities to discover the overstaffing in the workforce to ensure revenue is not lost in hiring more than required workers.
3. Tracking time and attendance
Time tracking might seem simple enough, but there is a lot involved than just managing timesheets. Manual time and attendance recording are highly cumbersome. For efficiency, you require reliable employee time tracking software.
When you use an automated attendance system like Truein, you can access analytics that helps identify absenteeism, overtime, and undertime patterns.
By ensuring a reliable time and attendance tracking process in your organization, you provide:
- Future workload forecasting
- An appropriate number of workers are available at all times
- Delegate tasks correctly
Effective employee time tracking is also helpful in time management and boosting workforce productivity.
4. Vacation and leave planning of employees
As part of WFM, HR managers must perform payroll duties and leave management. Any workforce management plan largely depends on the employees’ availability, including their day-to-day availability. Maintaining a proper record of vacation and leave is essential for workforce management.
Furthermore, it helps with analyzing labor costs, tracking paid time off, offering incentives to employees like happy hours, and ensuring the number of workers available during shifts. Vacation and leave planning go beyond deciding the paychecks; it greatly benefits employee performance and morale.
5. Check employee performance and reports
Another process involved in workforce management is employee performance and report reviews. Generating performance reports is time-consuming, but it is essential for evaluating performance, productivity, and overall employee experience. As part of WFM, HR managers perform several evaluations by tracking employee timing, measuring employee activity, and gauging customer experience and satisfaction.
Every company and team has a different way of managing team performance, but quarterly performance reviews are the best way to achieve results. Performance reviews help employers keep the work quality high and allow employees to evaluate their performance and improve under-constructive environments.
What are the benefits of workforce management?
By implementing a comprehensive workforce management system, you can empower your workforce to impact productivity and profits.
But by successfully putting the workforce management processes in place, HR managers can drastically impact a wide range of business operations. Here are some of the benefits of workforce management for a company.
1. Improves productivity
There is no better way to put productivity at its peak than to delegate and communicate the work to the employees effectively. By tracking time, forecasting workload, reviewing performance, paying fairly, and enabling efficient communication, workforce management can help the team to boost productivity.
This improved productivity affects the amount of work delivered and positively impacts the quality of work. Effective workforce management creates a productivity win-win for employees and employers. Such productivity comes without stressing out workers to work overtime or disturbing their work-life balance.
2. Reduce overstaffing and overtime
By automating employee time tracking, scheduling, and payroll, companies save work hours, make life easier for managers, and also help reduce overstaffing and overtime. Workforce management processes can provide you with definitive data that you need to adjust staffing levels per the situation.
When a company can forecast the ebbs and flows of the workload, it can drastically reduce staffing costs and micromanage overtime expenditure. It helps save essential resources and invest them in the growth of the business.
3. Payroll with better accurate data
One of the benefits of workforce management is that it entirely automates the payroll and increases its efficiency by providing accurate data. It also eliminates costly human errors and compliance risks. Managers can minimize the time spent on tedious payroll processes and better focus on more productive activities.
This automation ultimately shows that workers are paid accurately for the number of hours they work. It boosts their morale and builds trust in the employer. All these outcomes significantly improve the quality of work and pump up the revenue stream.
4. Automation of HR process
An efficient workforce management results in the automation of HR processes. It improves communication and encourages managers to make independent decisions regarding their teams that can help streamline the workforce. With HR workflows being automated, it helps keep the quality standards high at all levels.
It also helps maximize resource utilization, and managers can increase the amount of work without increasing labor costs. Automation of HR also ensures that there is no wastage of resources, tangible or intangible. It also improves the efficiency of managers and supervisors, making them much more productive.
How to choose a workforce management solution?
The most efficient way to handle workforce management is to adopt workforce management software. It provides the necessary automation to boost productivity, eliminate redundancies, and lower the margin of human error.
Several workforce management solutions are available, but your choice must depend on its features. In workforce management, you must conduct time tracking and shift scheduling, ensure open communication, manage human capital, and do talent acquisition and employee engagement.
Choose a solution that enables automation of all workforce management processes. You might have to invest in more than one software solution if your business operations are highly diversified or your target customers belong to several industries.
Truein is an AI-empowered face recognition time and attendance management software that you can use to automate some of the workforce management processes. It is a complete employee time tracking solution that creates timesheets, shifts schedules, overtime policies, overtime calculation, leave management, and much more.
This cloud-based attendance system requires no additional hardware and can be accessed by employees on their smartphones. It can also generate reports and analyze the data to identify productivity issues such as absenteeism, excess overtime, and time theft.
With workforce management, companies can improve internal processes and automate business operations where possible. It also helps create a more enjoyable place to work. Some of the largest organizations in the world utilize workforce management processes to ensure teams are productive and workers are satisfied in their roles.
We hope this guide will help you understand how to improve workforce management and how software tools like Truein can help automate workforce management processes. Ultimately, WFM is focused on maximizing the efficiency of the two most essential resources – employees and time.