Workforce management (WFM) is the system of optimizing the productivity of your employees strategically to make sure that all resources are in the right place, at the right time. This framework is focused on elevating employee efficiency and consistency. In most cases, a WFM strategy involves forecasting, scheduling, timekeeping, attendance, employee empowerment, training, budgeting, data collection, and more.
Importance of workforce management
Companies typically leverage WFM tools and processes intending to increase organization performance strategically. This system initially was developed for staff scheduling but has managed to expand into a framework that brings employees into the scheduling procedure and provides analytical insights into the workforce. Proactive workforce management is needed to see to it that employees having the needed skill sets are available to meet the relevant job requirements, whenever necessary.
The entire concept of WFM is similar to workforce planning and optimization. By implementing the correct processes and technologies, you can competently manage your workforce for reduced labor expenses, optimal performance, and greater employee satisfaction. WFM is both a science and an art, and deals with a lot more than just making schedules. It is an extremely automated process that helps you to acquire all the data and information you need to make important decisions. WFM has to be continuously improved and updated to achieve the desired results.
Factors impacting workforce management
● Leadership: How your employees are managed can make or break their work efficiency, and a lot of it depends on how they are led by the manager. How managers set goals, prioritize tasks, conduct performance reviews, deliver feedback, and interact with the team directly impacts the workforce management process. All employees expect the company leadership, no matter whether it is the departmental heads or the CEO, to set a standard, to which they have to adhere.
● Training and development: It is a big mistake to think that training is just needed by managers. Providing proper training and development opportunities to your employees plays a crucial role in WFM. If your employees are not adequately trained, they will spend more time trying to figure out how to efficiently complete a task, as opposed to doing it. This can make them miss deadlines, lead to scheduling problems, and more. Training and development programs can come as a huge help here. After being equipped with all the knowledge and skills needed to complete the tasks assigned to them properly, your employees will be able to level up their work efficiency and make WFM simpler.
● Lack of compliance: Not being compliant with the important standards and guidelines is perhaps one of the most vital factors that influence accurate workforce data. Most companies assume that the procedures are effectively being followed by the employees as they punch in and out, by scheduling coordinators when they staff workers, by managers as they process timecards, and so on. Many organizations even assume that their software applications are properly enforcing compliance. It is not until they end up being fined for an hour and wage violation or an accident occurs that compliance becomes a priority.
Here are two compliance situations:
✔ The department manager says that there is no overtime in their department, but the manager deletes overtime from their timecard or changes to regular pay.
✔ Time and attendance are not calculated based on the required policies. Such a situation might arise due to multiple reasons like department pay practices were incorrect, and the system was configured to the previous practices during the implementation of a time system. This problem could take place even if the system was updated after new policies were put in place.
Compliance tends to have a direct impact on workforce data accuracy, and subsequently influences the ability of a company to manage labor and its associated expenses. It also helps in putting the company at major financial risk of incurring fines and penalties.
● Lack of Tools:
Managers face staffing and labor problems often due to the lack of functional tools needed to help them make decisions. To competently do their jobs, managers will need important insights like:
✔ Who is working in the department?
✔ Are there open shifts?
✔ Which workers are available?
✔ What are the cost implications of certain decisions?
If the information they need to make these decisions are not orderly updated, then it can have a considerable negative impact on the effectiveness of your WFM strategy.
To remain competitive, you need to formulate a comprehensive WFM strategy that takes into consideration multiple core aspects of your organization. WFM systems like scheduling and attendance must be tailored as per the desired operational outcomes, rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach.
Be lean and mean
Business organizations have to become lean and mean if they want to stay successful in this exceedingly competitive business landscape. This implies getting the best possible value while bearing the least expenses. If your workforce is not managed strategically, then you can end up wasting time and money on outdated systems and high payroll costs. On the whole, this can significantly hamper your profitability. Scheduling too few workers on a busy shift can create a bad reputation for your company, make the staff overworked and lower their productivity. Bad hiring decisions can also hurt the morale and productivity of your company, and put the reputation of your brand at risk. On the other hand, overstaffing can prove to be disadvantageous for you in terms of wasted manpower and increased expenses.
Managing the workforce correctly has become more vital than ever today. With the right data, you shall be in the position to gain visibility into any kind of staff or skill shortage, and make improved recruiting decisions on that basis. The significance of real-time workforce data can’t be understated at all. It is extremely critical in making sure that your business activities are more coherent while being less time-consuming. WFM software and tools are needed in any company that wants to streamline its work processes, stay compliant, as well as have satisfied customers and clients.