One of the most important assets a business has is its workforce. Whatever sector or industry you’re in, it’s crucial that you have a good team of people to complete projects, meet deadlines and help run your business.
Merely having the right people isn’t enough, though: to truly succeed, you need strong, confident workforce management. Without this, even the best personnel will struggle to achieve peak productivity.
In this article, we’ll explain what workforce management is and how it can benefit your company and then cover some tips to ensure you’re doing it right.
What is workforce management?
Workforce management (WFM) can be defined as the set of processes a company uses to maximise employee productivity and performance. It includes elements such as:
- Forecasting and budgeting
- Creating and managing staff schedules
- Tracking time and attendance
- Analysing and reviewing employee performance
Forecasting, scheduling, analysis and improvement are all elements of good workforce management. Your business should be able to plan what work it needs to do and when, and assign workers to do it. This scheduling can work on a variety of levels, from the biggest of big pictures to the finest details.
Benefits of workforce management
Done properly, WFM allows you to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
If you can accurately forecast your future workload, for instance, you’ll be able to ensure you have the right number of workers on hand to meet demand. This means you’ll be far less likely to get overwhelmed with work and see important projects delayed.
At the same time, it also means you’re unlikely to find yourself paying for workers who have little to do. Properly managing your workforce is also crucial to ensuring your team members remain happy and engaged.
With a clear distribution of responsibilities and tight schedules, employees will know what work they need to do and be able to plan ahead. This will reduce their stress and frustration, as they’ll be less likely to find themselves asked to take on additional work that they didn’t plan for.
How to improve your workforce management
1) Invest in a workforce management system
The most important aspect of ensuring good workforce management is using the right tools. It’s increasingly standard practice across a range of industries and sectors to use dedicated software to manage employees, and companies like Indeed Flex offer packages with a range of useful features.
WFM software can help managers fulfil responsibilities such as:
- Data collection
- Real-time adjustments of open tasks and budgets
- Longer-term forecasting
- Assigning workers to key tasks
Using specialist software to manage your workforce allows you to automate tedious tasks, view worker availability and in progress tasks easily and communicate with relevant individuals and teams quickly and simply.
2) Set clear goals
A key element of human resource management is knowing what you want to achieve.
This is especially crucial when WFM software offers such a wide range of data options. With so much information at your fingertips, it can be tempting to try to interpret all of it. This is a mistake, as you can quickly find yourself swamped with irrelevant information.
Instead, you should work backwards. What does your business want to achieve in the long term? What is its mission? From this mission, you can derive longer- medium-term goals, as well as more immediate objectives.
Once you’ve set your goals, you can then look for the workforce management data that will best help you achieve them.
3) Analyse results
Setting goals, making schedules and assigning tasks are not the only elements of workforce management. If you want to succeed and grow over the longer term, you also need to make sure that you’re frequently assessing your performance – and, if necessary, assigning your approach.
Things to look out for include:
- Late completion
- Employees reporting dissatisfaction with a task frequently assigned to them
- Too high resource or operational costs
With a good WFM system, you’ll be able to identify any issues and start looking for solutions.
Examples of workforce management solutions include:
- Using a new app or programme to complete tasks
- Changing outdated equipment or practices
- Giving and receiving usable feedback
- Adjusting task distribution and scheduling among employees
Once you’ve done this, you can make new projections and forecasts.
It’s important to remember, though, that this is an iterative process. Don’t expect to be able to solve all your problems once and for all. Instead, continuously analyse and adjust, so you can keep growing and improving.
Workforce management (WFM) is one of the most important keys to business success. To make sure you’re not falling behind and avoid costly mistakes, get the right software and use it to consistently analyse your performance to ensure you’re staying on track to hit your key goals.