What is Workforce Management?
The success of any business does not only lie in its ability to manage and execute projects. It is also greatly dependent on the employees that make up its workforce. However, ensuring a smoothly running workforce is easier said than done. This is where workforce management (WFM) comes into play.
Workforce management can be defined as a set of processes designed to maximize performance and competency levels of employees in an organization. While it evolved out of the traditional approach towards resource scheduling and time management, workforce management now encompasses Workload forecasting, time and attendance tracking, budgeting, performance management, labor law compliance, and more. Organizations can use WFM software to drive these processes and maximize workforce productivity.
Workforce Management vs. Project Management
A clear distinction must be made between workforce management and project management. While both have a degree of overlap in that they involve resource scheduling and time management, these have two separate goals.
Project management is all about managing projects and bringing them to a successful conclusion. It helps in tracking all the moving parts involved in project planning and execution. Workforce management, on the other hand, involves developing strategies to get the most out of the employees across the organization. It helps the organization as a whole to become more efficient and productive.
Workforce Management vs. Human Capital Management
Human capital management deals with the strategies around the management of people resources in an organization. Workforce management is a piece of this broader concept. In addition to WFM, human capital management also includes core HR functions such as talent acquisition, employee administration, payroll, and talent management etc.
Importance of Workforce Management
There is no getting around the fact that workforces are changing. The concept of a permanent office-based workforce has been on the decline. In its place, employers are looking for contingent workers, flexible scheduling, and remote working. An increasing number of employees are working from home and even setting their own hours for work to better meet their lifestyles.
This is important because it is a well-known fact that employees are the biggest asset for any organization. They are not only vital for normal operations but can also be the biggest competitive advantage for the company. Having the best employees working at maximum productivity levels can go a long way in ensuring the company’s profitability not only today but also tomorrow.
As modern workforces keep changing, it is becoming more difficult to effectively manage all employees. The challenges around scheduling and staffing are becoming increasingly complex. Considering their importance in your business, it is critical that employees are managed properly. To do that, you will need workforce management.
Workforce management not only improves productivity and reduces costs, it also ensures increased morale and trust among employees. With WFM software, you can easily manage performance levels and bring about significant improvements through feedback, rewards and training to keep the most important asset of your business as effective as possible.
Benefits of Workforce Management
Workforce management brings several benefits to an organization. Here are some of the gains made with better WFM.
Improved Productivity Levels
WFM ensures that the right people are assigned to the right tasks. It achieves this by combining time, costs, resource allocation, progress tracking, and resource scheduling to give managers all the data they need. Managers face fewer unknowns and the bigger picture is clearer to them, allowing them to ensure every task is completed as efficiently as possible. Apart from better efficiency, there are fewer missed deadlines and revisions. All of these help contribute to higher productivity which, in turn, supports organizational growth.
Increased Operational Agility
With workforce management, managers get more information and context, enabling them to make better decisions. They can not only allocate the right person with the right set of skills at the right time but also do it at the right cost. This supports the organization’s ability to be agile in responding to fluctuating production targets without having to compromise on quality.
Lower Non-Compliance Risks
Compliance is a major challenge for any organization. In addition to national and state labor laws, there are union rules, employment contracts, local ordinances, and company policies to track and comply with it. Any gap in compliance can lead to costly litigation. Even a lack of transparency around compliance records can result in litigation. With workforce management, it is possible to effectively manage compliance across the entire organization and mitigate risks and resulting costs.
Better Employee Morale
The increased transparency and communication brought about by WFM allows for an improvement in employee engagement and morale. Higher morale equates to increased performance levels and reduced absenteeism. It also helps increase the overall profitability of the company as satisfied employees are more likely to be more productive.
What Does the Workforce Management Process Look Like?
WFM involves a set of activities to help in building and maintaining a productive workforce. Here is a short guide to the WFM process.
Without the right data, it becomes impossible to optimize your workforce as you will have no idea of the areas that need improvement. There are different kinds of data that you can collect with WFM software. With time data, for example, you can develop accurate forecasts on future workloads and improve scheduling. It is important to note that real-time data collection is a must to support decision making on the fly.
Forecasting is an essential part of WFM. Organizations can analyze the available data and leverage it for predicting workloads at a given point in time in future. Accurate forecasting enables better planning and scheduling for future work.
Determine Staffing Requirements
The data you gather can help in determining staffing requirements. For example, the time data may indicate that some employees are spending more time on tasks and even missing their deadlines. As a result, you may need to allocate more resources to get similar work done in future. It is also possible that your employees need more training or more staff must be hired with the relevant skill sets.
Plan Staff Schedules
With the data collected and metrics calculated, it becomes easier to plan staff schedules that maximizes the efficiency and productivity of the entire workforce. For example, the data may reveal that certain employees are better suited to certain tasks than others as they need less time to complete them. Therefore, those employees can be scheduled for taking on similar tasks in future.
Workforce management is a continuous process and, therefore, you must regularly calculate the performance levels of all employees. Doing so can give you some invaluable insight into optimizing the workforce. For example, it can help you discover if the allocated resources are working efficiently, if they need more training, or even if they must be reallocated to other tasks.
Tips for Workforce Management
To get the most out of workforce management, here are some tips for you to consider.
Communication must be at the heart of any business. A lack of communication can hold back your workforce and, in turn, your business. Effective communication improves employee morale and satisfaction levels. They are able to thrive as they feel empowered. Frequent communication between managers and employees transform your workforce into a powerhouse.
As with communication, transparency also helps improve employee experience and even loyalty. Keep your workforce informed about your business, whether you are launching a new initiative or have achieved a major milestone. In addition, also be transparent about your employee performance. Let them be aware of their utilization targets and other details around their job. While there is no need to tell them every single detail, they shouldn’t be kept completely in the dark.
Use the Best WFM Software
To make the most of workforce management practices, you need the best software at your fingertips. The right workforce management software can provide invaluable data for making strategic decisions around your workforce. From accurate time tracking to streamlined resource scheduling, workforce management software can be the key piece for taking your teams to the next level.
Features You Need in Workforce Management Software
When choosing WFM software, the priority will be to ensure that it has all the features required for effective workforce planning and management. With that in mind, here are some of the top features to look for.
Modern WFM tools come with advanced analytics to help you get the complete picture of your workforce. It becomes easier to understand scheduling requirements, budgets and staffing levels, enabling better decision making. You can even leverage historical data to understand and forecast future labor requirements and costs.
These tools bring together all data on skills, availability, allocation levels along with historical data and forecasts to support scheduling decisions. All data is provided through configurable dashboards and team calendars to ensure that you always assign the correct resource for any task.
Time and Attendance
As time tracking is a vital part of workforce management, the tool you use should be capable of tracking all time data accurately. It must also capture time against activities and tasks for easier planning. To streamline the process, the tool should automatically notify users of errors and push the correct ones to managers for approvals. Employees should also find it easy to apply for time off as needed. All time off data should be visible to managers for scheduling purposes.
The WFM tool should also be capable of supporting payroll calculations by leveraging time and attendance data. Accuracy is critically important here. The ability to configure business rules and pay codes will also help simplify the payroll process, ensuring faster and accurate pay for all employees, regardless of their location or employment type.
Reduced Labor Costs
Through WFM software, it is possible to automate time and payroll calculations, eliminating errors. They can also ensure the implementation of complex pay rules correctly to prevent litigation and audit. These tools provide a comprehensive view of your workforce utilization allowing for better scheduling and staffing level adjustments as required by current conditions. All of these improvements directly and dramatically reduce the labor costs.
Your workforce management system should support compliance needs in your organization automatically. It must ensure compliance with federal and state labor legislation along with time off policies and other corporate policies you may have.
How Replicon Supports Workforce Management
To ensure your workforce management processes are as effective as possible, you need a tool that directly supports your efforts. This is where Replicon’s platform comes into play.
Replicon’s platform offers a single source of truth for time, allowing you to streamline your workforce management practices. With its intelligent features and easy-to-use interface, Replicon provides robust support in your quest to optimize productivity among your workforce. Here are some of the ways Replicon can prove to be the best choice for your organization.
Configurable Time Tracking
With Replicon’s platform, you not only get accuracy in time data but also the flexibility to leverage it as needed by your organizational needs. Replicon can track all in-out times, breaks and work durations against tasks and activities. In addition, you can customize the timesheets, add custom fields and even apply custom approval workflows to adapt the platform for your specific business requirements.
Comprehensive Schedule Management
Replicon makes it easy to monitor employee availability and make proactive adjustments in response to changing conditions. This helps you prevent overstaffing or understaffing, manage overtime, and deploy the right set of people every time. You gain complete control over the productivity and labor costs of your workforce. Moreover, Replicon automatically communicates shift information to your workforce in real time, ensuring transparency and minimizing confusion.
Intelligent Approvals and Validations
Gain the ability to create dynamic approval workflows and custom validation rules that comply with your business policies with Replicon. You can set up time entries to be automatically validated as per rules that you define to support pay and business requirements. Validation can be performed in real-time for handling exceptions and route them to the relevant people. Real-time notifications and alerts ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed of any changes or exceptions for immediate resolution. This prevents bottlenecks and speeds up payroll processing considerably.
Robust Mobile Capabilities
Replicon’s robust and modern mobile application can empower employees to manage their times and attendance perfectly irrespective of their location. For organizations with remote workers and field-based workers, the mobile app enables easy and accurate time tracking in real-time. Replicon’s mobile app offers the same features as the browser version with options for entering time, managing time off, entering expenses, checking schedules and receiving notifications. In addition, the mobile app leverages GPS tracking capabilities for added benefits such as the ability to track location for applying business policies to time entries. It offers organizations another degree of control over remote and field based teams by leveraging geo-fencing capabilities.
Out-of-the-box Labor Compliance
Leverage Replicon’s preconfigured pay rule library for consistent application of labor laws, overtime, and meal breaks. Replicon also provides a compliance dashboard and resource library to help organizations stay on top of the best practices and the latest news around compliance and labor laws in their relevant jurisdictions. Replicon’s global pay rules library offers support for more than 250 jurisdictions around the world and Replicon constantly and regularly updates its compliance database as per changing federal and state labor laws. As a result, you can ensure compliance with these changes no matter where in the world you operate in, without lifting a finger. Replicon also supports the ability to model labor requirements specific to your business such as collective bargaining agreements or union contracts, making it easier to adhere to those rules as well.
Workforce Metrics at a Glance
With Replicon, accessing your workforce metrics has been made easy. You have the ability to configure a multitude of reports for filtering and viewing all business metrics around time, overtime, gross pay, labor costs, compliance and more. Moreover, you can schedule reports to be mailed to relevant stakeholders and managers at regular intervals to keep everyone informed of the latest data. Replicon also provides a granular level of visibility into data, both real-time and historical, for better forecasting of costs and resources. You can also leverage dynamic dashboards and charts to get a real-time view of the big picture across your workforce.
To help you leverage the data from our platform, Replicon provides turnkey integrations with all major enterprise software systems. Quickly and easily integrate Replicon with your HCM, payroll, ERP, or any other system that you use for your business. Our seamless cloud-based integrations are easy to deploy and upgrade, ensuring that you always have real-time data wherever you need it.
Leverage Replicon for Workforce Management
When choosing workforce management software, your aim should be to get a tool that makes work easier for you and your employees. With the right tools, understanding and managing your workforce becomes vastly easier and streamlined. You will learn more about your people and be able to make smarter and better decisions towards building an optimized workforce that supports your business.
Talk to our experts today to learn more about how Replicon helps you manage your workforce.