What is Workforce Management and Why Should You Care?

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A restaurant manager is using workforce management software on a tablet.

What is workforce management? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds—the process of managing your workforce.  But what does that mean, and why should you care?

Consider this: as a business expands, so does the size of its staff. The more staff, the more difficult it is to ensure adequate and effective human resource management—hence the need for workforce management (WFM).

From staff recruitment to scheduling and time tracking, companies need a system that simplifies the work of managing staff, while increasing efficiency.

Although corporate industries routinely use software to navigate human resource management, companies who employ hourly labor employees—such as retail, restaurants, and construction—require workforce management even more, as they traditionally have high turnover, shiftwork schedules, and require employees to clock in using time tracking technology.  

In this article, we will cover what workforce management is, explore the processes, tools, and software that make for better WFM, then we sum up how deploying workforce management in your company can save you time and money.

What is workforce management?

Workforce management is a set of actions and processes employers must take to manage their workforce and optimize their labor.

Workforce management is seen across the entire employee life cycle, including HR management tasks like recruiting, hiring, onboarding and skill management right through to scheduling your workforce and managing employee clock-ins with time tracking.
When companies do not take adequate care to plan or optimize their workforce, the consequence of such laxity is seen in the cost of mismanaged resources, and the dissatisfaction of staff and customers.

A pinwheel graphic of Push, a workforce management software.

What are workforce management tools?

Workforce management tools are tools that companies employ to assist in the process of maximizing employee productivity in a company. The goal is to ensure employees have the right skills to perform the desired tasks whenever required, with minimal administrative effort.

Without WFM tools, managing a large workforce would prove laborious and metrics would be vulnerable to human error from manual implementation. These tools simplify tedious processes thereby saving time and resources.

Most of these tools integrate two or more programs used for WFM. What this means is that the presence of these tools creates a more flexible, easy and manageable approach to the way employees and employers handle their activities. 

Integrated workforce management tools may include:

  1. Applicant tracking tools: To streamline the process of recruiting and hiring new workforce.

  2. Self-serve onboarding: To streamline the process of onboarding.

  3. Human resource information systems: To keep track of important employee information and documents. 
  4. Performance management tools: To assist employees to perform their jobs more efficiently.
  5. Retain resource planning: Helping employers match tasks to employees according to an employee's skill set. 
  6. Employee time tracking: Allowing employees to clock into their shifts on their own,  using time tracking technology.
  7. Scheduling: Scheduling forecasting, scheduling templates, and automated schedules.
  8. Integrations with payroll software: Workforce management with integrated payroll means you can streamline employee hours directly from time clocks to payroll.
  9. Integrations with POS software: Integrations with POS systems mean you can measure employee labor against sales, improving labor effectiveness. 

A cartoon of a tablet using workforce management software.

What is workforce management software?

Workforce management software can be cloud-based or desktop-based software program(s) that help companies with all the aforementioned workforce management tasks, using digitized and sometimes automated or integrated versions of workforce management tools listed above.

Companies engage these mobile or desktop programs to stay on track with the processes of workforce management and to increase productivity and engagement. They are often integrated with already existing HR management programs but can also be used as sole, stand-alone programs, depending on what features, or modules, the software offers. 

An integrated solution that allows an employer or manager to manage their entire employee life cycle and integrate with payroll and their POS is truly ideal, as it provides the business with the opportunity to streamline their operations while providing transparency and metrics that can be easily measured with reporting tools.

The top 10 workforce management software systems include:

  1. BambooHR: an easy-to-use software package that provides an information system that allows employees to maintain their records, track their time-off earned, and even sign documents electronically. It also eases the monotony that comes with numerous clerical tasks through its applicant tracking system (ATS), payroll processing, and workforce analytics. 
  2. Push Operations: is a cloud-based workforce management platform designed for owners who manage hourly staff, like restaurants or retail stores. The software saves employers lots of time and costs through its quick and easy automated payroll and POS integrations. It features HR tools, scheduling tools, sales forecasting, integrations with automated payroll, staff communication, and camera time-monitored attendance that allows managers to track employees' work hours including rest periods, late starts, and early clock-ins. 
  3. Ceridian Dayforce: provides an excellent scheduling tool for employees and allows them to manage working hours. It features tools such as recruiting and performance management. The Ceridian Education Centre provides valuable support to clients through webinars and yearly conferences giving clients a platform for training and networking.
  4. Rippling: WFM software that helps employers manage the company’s payroll, benefits, HR, and IT in one central space. As an employer, you don’t need to juggle between different programs to address various issues among employees. You can do all that and more from one locus. It simplifies hiring through its streamlined onboarding tool. Rippling gives employees significant control over their data and is easy to use even for those not so tech savvy.
  5. Paycom: provides an online portal and payroll processing, vast report options, and is mobile-device-friendly. Paycom offers payroll technology that can enhance the life cycle of an employee in a single software system. Its self-service tool allows employees to stay accountable for the accuracy of their data and official events. 
  6. Humanity: user-friendly software that allows clients to check their schedule, track working hours, and check available paid time off (PTO) balance. Also called ShiftPlanning, the cloud-based software assists communication between managers and workers across four key modules: scheduling, time clock, payroll, and HR. It also allows for synchronization with third-party calendars. 
  7. Paychex Flex: is a web-based HR management solution created to meet the divergent needs of different industry sizes. Paychex allows employees to set up as users during onboarding and access the site to get their pay stubs, make adjustments to their 401k plans, or even make changes to their direct deposit. They also offer 24/7 support to help clients through programs such as recruiting and applicant tracking and benefits administration.
  8. UKG Workforce Central: is a people-centered leading provider of HMC, HR services, and workforce management solutions. Employees and managers can enjoy the flexibility of managing their time cards online, thereby saving time. UKG also provides a more connected experience for clients and helps organizations drive better business outcomes. 
  9. SAP Workforce Management: software that supports third-party integration and offers training opportunities to users. SAP Workforce Management helps with  major management tasks such as forecasting, risk analysis, workforce planning, and banking strategy. The software gives mobile access with its cloud-based support that allows for on-the-go utilization. You can plan and prepare budgets, create headcount plans, forecast budgets and even identify potential workforce obstacles using the SAP Workforce Management software. 
  10. Oracle Workforce Management: has an easy-on-the-eyes web interface design that can also be customized to meet employees’. The software offers simplified ways to submit, review, track and approve timecards. Its simplicity with budgeting and travel expenses encourages flexibility in analysis. Oracle Workforce management automates time and attendance keeping. It also supports scanning of documents, thus removing the need for paper bills. 
A cartoon depicting a restaurant manager using workforce management software.

Why should you care about workforce management software?

Workforce management is essential to companies of various staff strengths because it assists in maximizing employee productivity and ensures the adequate utilization of resources. It also helps your companies streamline their operations, manage their workforce, and grow their business.

It will help you grow your business.

Using workforce management software can help you grow your business and streamline the backend when you integrate systems such as scheduling, HR, payroll, and time tracking with other systems like POS. Some management software, such as Push Operations, has the functionality that helps you manage chains, employees who work at different locations, and payroll across different platforms. 

It will save you money.

You can use workforce management software as an integrated solution to cut down costs and maximize profit. Save money on schedule, labor costs, staff hours, and onboarding employees while running payroll.

It will save you time.

With workforce management software’s integration and automation features, you can save hundreds of hours.  For example, Push HR provides employees with an automated tracking system for easy recruiting, and self-serve onboarding, so you don’t have to spend the time onboarding a new hire manually. 

Push Scheduling offers scheduling templates and suggestions that provide forecasts to help you make the best choices, while Push Time Tracking provides employees with the ability to clock in on their own with the assurance of facial recognition. Employers can automate clock-in adjustments, so they no longer have to manually adjust clock times. 

Finally, workforce management software that integrates with Payroll can streamline employees’ worked hours to payroll, thus completely eliminating the need for manual payroll calculations or data transfers. 

It will help you streamline and systemize your business.

Workforce management helps in creating a reliable system for the various processes required to ensure employee productivity—including forecasting, scheduling, training management, and HR management.

Using workforce management that integrates with other business processes is the key to streamlining your business, giving you more time to do what you love and invest in growing your business.

If you run multiple locations, utilizing an integration system can be a game-changer for your business.  A client of Push Operations who owns 13 booster juice locations recently saved $60,000 annually on labor when she began managing her workforce remotely using the Push system.

What industries need workforce management software?

Most industries can benefit from the values offered by workforce management software. Nonetheless, WFM software is ideal for industries that need to manage people with a variety of roles and hours. Operations with several variables and costs like food service and retail will also find the integrations of workforce management software of huge benefit.

Workforce management software is ideal for industries that:

  1. Have employees who clock in for shifts
  2. Have employees with flexible or non-set schedules
  3. Have employees with different pay rates
  4. Have 20-2,000 employees
  5. Need to run labor vs sales reports
  6. Need to run any reports
  7. Have complex payroll
  8. Require integration with other systems like POS
  9. Manage or run multiple locations
  10. Want integrated systems
  11. Want to streamline their business and people operations

Final Thoughts on Workforce Management Software

Businesses thrive when employees with the proper skills function at their optimal level to produce maximum productivity when demanded. 

With so many tools and software available, workforce and HR management have become more seamless and results more abundant.

WFM comes with several perks that help companies get ahead in their goals, including saving time and money and better delegation of tasks. In addition to using the best software and tools, business growth is also encouraged when employees are given clear-cut, realistic goals. 

According to the Society of Workforce Planning Professionals, employees are more productive and yield better results when they are equipped and allowed to manage their schedules. Employee empowerment equips them to work at a pace that is beneficial for both themselves and the company. It also enhances retention with the company because a happy employee is a dedicated, efficient and loyal employee.

 With efficient workforce management, companies can be sure to equip their workforce to produce the desired results when due, based on the demands placed on the company.

workforce management software

Table of content

June 2021


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