As much as 70% of businesses are moving towards flexible work schedules and remote work. Do you have a workforce management system in place? And if so, is it ready to keep up?
Workforce management can help you maintain both internal and external communication, assign tasks, keep up with scheduling, review performance metrics and more to help you stay on top of the day-to-day, whether your team is in-house full time, working from home, working in the field or on the go.
But what is workforce management exactly? And what does it entail?
In this article, we’ll define workforce management, explain the benefits, and share our expert tools and tips on how to implement this vital aide to your business!
Table of Contents
What Is Workforce Management?
The term “workforce management” (WFM) is the act of managing, regulating and directing the use of labor in the workforce.
Specifically, this occurs through the managing of human resources, including recruitment, staffing, training, compensation, performance management and more.
The main goal of workforce management is to maintain control over labor costs, by predicting future demand, then forecasting how many workers will be needed on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis.
This usually involves planning for peak periods, scheduling employees accordingly and assigning work to the right person with the right skillset.
And in the time of COVID-19, the need for workforce management has never been greater.
For example, in a construction company, this means making certain that there are enough workers and resources at the site and that any work delays can be swiftly addressed.
This type of management also revolves around optimizing employee performance. It’s a two-way-street: These practices should be implemented in a way that will not only benefit the company, but also empower the employees.
This is done by making the best use of their skills, understanding their capacities (such as workloads), and the “how, when, and where’s” for each employee to create better work-life balance.
Why Is Workforce Management Important?
Workforce management is important because it ensures that the employees are aligned with your business goals. Effective workforce management cuts costs, improves productivity and helps build a sustainable business that’s set to scale.
An organization achieves its goals through its workforce, so it’s important to have a defined strategy for how to staff the organization, in order to meet these goals.
Here are the four main benefits of workforce management:
1. It Gives You A Strategic Edge
Having systems in place to manage your workforce can help you respond to new trends or developments and plan for long-term changes. It becomes much easier to manage your labor pool, find a balance between permanent employees and flex workers, and to optimize inflow and outflow percentages when you have a system in place.
2. It Closes The Gap Between Strategy And The Labor Market
Integrating workforce management into your operational strategy empowers your business to be more resistant to shock due to changes in the labor market, whether in technological innovation, customer requirements or other areas — all of which can affect your organizational strategy and workforce.
3. It Turns Inflexible Workforces Into Flexible Ones
Experts suggest that leaning on a flexible workforce moving forward will be key in order for businesses to stay competitive. Managing your workforce can improve productivity with flex pools or multidisciplinary, self-managing teams.
4. It Helps You Make Data-informed Decisions
Analyzing workforce trends with data is a powerful tool for making well-informed decisions.
Workforce management allows you to plan, organize, and evaluate your workforce in a variety of ways in order to predict future staffing level requirements.
Employees can be viewed in relation to their skills and experience, in relation to availability, or in relation to the time they have been employed.
4 Key Elements Of Workforce Management
Workforce management is made up of moving parts or “elements” that must be managed in order for your organization to operate smoothly.
Here are the four main elements of workforce management:
1. Labor-force Forecasting
It takes a careful analysis of the labor supply and demand in order to predict future staffing needs.
Forecasting is the act of predicting future developments and challenges based on historical data and customer requirements.
You can use trends or other data to forecast future workloads — weekly, daily, hourly or monthly — so you can make informed staffing decisions.
2. Capacity management
Capacity management involves figuring out how many employees and types of employees (e.g., full-time, flex, etc.) are needed to complete the workload.
This is also called matching “workload to workforce,” factoring in budget cycles and targeted pool management, as well as ad hoc projects, toolbox meetings, absenteeism and vacations.
Scheduling revolves around managing capacity so your workforce is distributed efficiently across your workload.
The aim is to create a work schedule that places the right people and right number of people for the workload in the right place at the right time.
Scheduling employees for their optimal time slot makes for more engaged and productive workers, which helps ensure quality work for better customer satisfaction.
4. Traffic management
The last element is that of supply and demand. You’ll be able to quickly deal with discrepancies if they form due to shifts in staff availability or resources, by maintaining the balance between demand levels and resources.
Tools For Workforce Management
Using tools to better manage your workforce can help you allocate resources appropriately and identify areas that are being underutilized.
Below, we will share two valuable tools to help you implement a workforce management system:
1. Skills matrix
A skills matrix is a document that contains the knowledge and skills that employees possess, and is often used in workforce management.
The purpose of a skills matrix is to assess an organization’s needs and match those needs with the skills and knowledge of individual employees.
A skills matrix can help you identify how many highly-skilled employees you need for specific positions, what type of work needs to be done, and what type of training may be needed for different positions.
2. Workforce management software
Workforce management software is a tool that provides information about the operations and activities of an organization.
It gives managers and employees the ability to manage the employment process by providing opportunities for strategic staffing, work allocation, and workload distribution.
An example of this software? Our very own doForms.
Our doForms mobile app enables you to capture and send information to and from the field via smartphones and other mobile devices — and seamlessly integrate this data into your existing systems such as Salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle, QuickBooks, Microsoft, Google Suite and more.
doForms saves your company time and money by streamlining processes. It can be used to create, edit and send out forms to clients, and even track how often each form is used.
Forms management software is an excellent way to ensure that all your forms are up-to-date with current information, from employee records and company policies to client agreements, invoice templates and more.
How to Implement Workforce Management In Your Company
Implementing workforce management can help you track labor demand patterns and allocate resources appropriately.
Here are some ways you can implement workforce management within your company:
An agent scheduling software helps you determine the scheduling needs of your employees. You can use this to prioritize and manage company workloads and ensure that employee schedules match operational parameters and requirements.
This software can also provide a comprehensive overview of your workforce’s needs and allows for projections on future staffing needs.
Tip: doForms automatically syncs timesheets to your payroll processes!
Forecasting & Budgeting
Workforce management forecasting and budgeting is the process of predicting and forecasting how many resources will be needed for a particular time span.
This prediction should be done in accordance with the forecasted business plan and should consider any external factors that may affect workforce availability or costs.
When you are looking to forecast future staffing needs, the forecast should take into account immediate needs in relation to long-term strategic objectives.
Lastly, forecasting and budgeting for a workforce management strategy requires you to be clear about business objectives, which will affect your staff requirements in the years to come.
Tip: doForms acts as your database for all your business cashflows so you can make plan better, and forecast with more accuracy.
Performance management is a process that helps managers and employees establish goals, measure progress, and identify training needs.
The goal of performance management is for employers to provide employees with the tools they need to succeed.
Performance reviews are necessary for employee feedback and coaching. One of the most important parts of performance management is accurately documenting an employee’s progress before any discussion about performance can take place.
Performance management programs are a great way to evaluate employees and give them the opportunity to improve. These programs also make it clear who is excelling in their role and can lead to recognition from managers or higher-ups in the company.
In order to have a successful performance management program, you must:
- Establish goals for performance. What does success look like?
- Communicate expectations and guidelines for work and behavior, including consequences of not meeting expectations.
Tip: Keep track of your performance through forms like this Self-Scoring Survey with doForms.
Companies that have higher levels of employee engagement experience improved productivity, lower turnover rates, better recruiting success, and improved customer experience.
Studies show that high turnover rates are correlated with low levels of employee engagement.
One of the most effective ways to improve employee engagement is to make sure your employees feel like an important part of the company. You can do this by recognizing their contributions and giving them opportunities for career advancement or adding new responsibilities.
Tip: Receive instant feedback on holiday requests and view remaining allowances with doForms.
Payroll, Time and Attendance Records
Automation and standardizing routine recurring tasks whenever possible is key to your workforce management strategy.
Tip: doForms automates payroll and HR processes with audit-ready custom reports.
It saves time and effort for you and your employees by syncing timesheets to payroll, reducing paperwork and employee errors drastically and ensuring accuracy.
By automatically synchronizing hours worked to your payroll process, employees have access to instant payment options and the overall payment process becomes more efficient, and that’s not all doForms can do to optimize your workforce management.
Our features include:
- Calendar-Based Job Scheduling
- Device-Based GPS Tracking
- Automated PDF Emails
- Mobile Form Editing
- Calculations Performance
- Logic Application – If/Then/Else, Relevance & Skip
Key Takeaways On Workforce Management
Workforce management is an important part of running a productive and efficient organization that’s prepared for twists and turns along the way.
It is the process of strategically planning, assigning, directing and controlling the actions of human resources in order to achieve organizational objectives.
In addition to implementing a better workforce management system for your business to satisfy clients or customers, concern for your employees is at its core.
It’s about learning and utilizing your employees’ strengths and capacities as well as optimizing business processes so that your employees can perform their best.
At doForms, our mobile forms help businesses manage, simplify and improve every aspect of the form process, from creation to storage and more.
doForms eliminates the need for staff to manually manage forms and saves you time and money by giving you a centralized platform to securely store your most sensitive documents.
It’s easy to deploy, edit and store any type of form, without needing an IT team or expensive hardware. It can even generate workflows to reduce redundancy and play a key role in the overall management of your workforce.