In business, there always seems to be those words that everyone uses but nobody explains, from buzzwords like “synergy” to concepts like “the cloud”. Workforce management is a little like this – because there are so many types of workplaces, this term is used in a variety of ways. If you do a quick search online, the result is a range of different definitions that can make it seem like you still don’t know what the term really means:
“Workforce Management, which is sometimes referred to as Human Resources Management, is the process of balancing work needs with available resources. It is a planning and accountability framework enabling organizations to ensure that strategic objectives are met in an efficient, cost effective manner, while also balancing fairness in human resource management practices.” – Tenrox
“Workforce management (WFM) is an integrated set of processes that an institution uses to optimize the productivity of its employees on the individual, departmental, and entity-wide levels.” – Tech Target
“Workforce management (WFM) is the application of information technologies in business, or the use of applications and other products to analyze, evaluate, and optimize workforce systems.” – Techopedia
What does workforce management mean to us?
To us, this term has a clear definition. Workforce management is the use of a system to increase workforce productivity by optimizing the balance of customer, employee, organizational, and regulatory needs. This means managing employees effectively through scheduling, time and attendance, absence management, payroll, and forecasting. Workforce management blends together both qualitative and quantitative data to automate processes and improve decision making and planning with analytics.
Though it falls under the umbrella of human resource management, workforce management touches all aspects of your business, from operations to finance. Successful workforce management can improve customer service and provide the right people, at the right place, at the right time. It is optimizing scheduling levels to reduce overscheduling so you aren’t sending people home, and under scheduling so you aren’t missing out on sales or asking employees to work overtime at a higher pay rate. Workforce management also includes using the power of analytics to gain insight into labour cost allocations, productivity, what is driving profits, monitor the impact of changes, and view trends.
What tools are available to help me manage my people?
Workforce management systems can be as simple or complex and powerful tools. Available options are:
- Spread sheets
- Software solution
- Human resources management system (HRMS) program
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
Factors such as the internal complexity of your organization, company size, and regulatory environment determine which solution is the best fit for your organization. There a lot of great tools to help you manage your people better, but the key to success workforce management is to use the right tool for your business that addresses all your business needs.
To learn about the metrics for successful workforce management, view the white paper here.
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