WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT (WFM): Definition and How It Works

workforce management

Want to cut costs, boost productivity, automate processes, and boost team morale? It turns out that many firms have been looking for this unicorn of a solution, and many of them have found it by embracing workforce management (WFM). Workforce management refers to a collection of approaches for allocating resources, improving efficiency, forecasting workloads, and managing schedules. Here is everything you need to know about the processes of a workforce management system.

What is Workforce Management?

Workforce management (WFM) is a system that assists firms in streamlining and automating the processes that manage time, organize an efficient labor force, protect employee safety, and build a productive, cost-effective workforce.

How Does Workforce Management Work

The best WFM system achieves the best balance between the quantity of work necessary and the number of people needed to handle that job. Creating an effective system takes time, so don’t anticipate instant gratification. While establishing a WFM plan, most businesses must take the following steps:

  • Strategic Direction: Leadership establishes both short- and long-term goals, then determines how the workforce must be aligned to achieve those goals.
  • Analysis: Organizations can identify overlaps and gaps in processes by gathering data and assessing their current workforce.
  • Identify Solutions: There are numerous tools and software that may be utilized to implement WFM principles, and the best ones will ultimately rely on both the current workforce and future goals.
  • Standardize Procedures: After implementing the appropriate WFM solutions, develop standardized procedures for the entire workforce.
  • Employ Automation: Incorporating automation wherever possible results in a more simplified WFM process that maximizes production while decreasing expenses over time.
  • Monitor Progress: When objectives change, so will WFM systems, so be ready to monitor progress, evaluate performance, and make adjustments as needed.

Who Benefits the Most from Workforce Management?

Most firms can profit from workforce management solutions, however, within a company, human resources departments that also handle payroll, middle management who deal with operational tasks, and senior management leaders who require real-time monitoring can benefit the most.

Components of the Workforce Management Solution

A typical WFM solution will contain tools for tracking time and labor, scheduling employees, and managing absences. Workforce management systems can be expanded to incorporate workforce health and safety in addition to these essential processes.

#1. Time and effort

A time management system gives you visibility and control over your most expensive and valuable resource—your workers. It also assures compliance with labor regulations and labor union agreements.

#2. Absence Management

An application for managing employee absence and adhering to global leave requirements. An absence management program allows you to limit the effects of absenteeism, such as higher costs and risk, as well as decreased production.

#3. Health and Safety of the Workforce

This program enables enterprises to manage environmental health and safety problems in a simple and effective manner. It increases your company’s overall safety by simplifying and automating the entire process, including reporting, recording crucial information, and determining the root causes of events.

What are the Challenges with Workforce Management Solutions?

Every company is distinct and faces its own set of obstacles. Your workforce management solution should solve these issues. The following are some of the most common workforce management (WFM) challenges:

#1. Time tracking

Almost every employee in an organization is affected by time monitoring. The delay, or lack of integrity, of the data flowing from their master HR system is one of the most significant issues consumers have with their current specialty time and labor systems. Traditionally, time tracking has been difficult, slow, and error-prone, resulting in extra payroll costs and administrative strain. Even worse, erroneous paychecks have a negative impact on employee morale. No business wants to end up in court or in the news because they paid their employees incorrectly or did not obey the law.

#2. Workers who were represented

In general, represented workers earn significantly higher earnings and have greater benefits than unrepresented workers. Because of the complexities of the requirements governing seniority, tenure, eligibility, benefits, absence, and pay entitlements, some businesses may find it difficult to comply with these regulations. Without a complete workforce management solution, managing contract rules might become tough.

#3. Absence Management System

The lack of a dependable absence management system can lead to greater costs, risk, and poorer production. Companies must manage the different and complex requirements that come from managing absence policies around the world. The diverse laws and user interfaces necessary for different countries and regions frequently present challenges for absence management systems.

Many businesses find it challenging to get a timely notice about health and safety incidents. Employees are unsure if they should report near misses or risky conditions to their employer. Many firms lack simple, user-friendly tools that encourage reporting and remove barriers to employees reporting on previous or foreseeable occurrences. Organizations are ultimately held accountable for health and safety rules, therefore implementing contemporary, effective health and safety management processes is in their best interests.

The Top Ten Benefits of Workforce Management

#1. Automated attendance monitoring

Attendance tracking is automated by workforce management software, which improves data accuracy and reduces payroll errors. With a comprehensive workforce management solution, firms can provide diverse worker types with an easy, intuitive way to accurately report hours worked and absences in real-time.

#2. Increased workforce productivity

A workforce management system minimizes manual processes and allows you to better manage a wide range of time and attendance standards. Overall workforce productivity improves with increased visibility into hours worked, worker availability, and safety events, and managers can guarantee that staffing needs are met and respond promptly if things change.

#3. A safer workplace

A workforce management system can assist you in promoting a culture of workforce safety and compliance while also assisting you in more effectively managing environmental health and safety events. Organizations may assure the accuracy of the information and encourage employees to report health and safety issues by streamlining and automating health and safety protocols—from reporting occurrences to gathering essential information.

#4. Cost savings

As the efficiency of your workforce rises, workforce management expenditures may fall as a result of more efficient processes, which means less time spent on administrative chores. Increased visibility into employee availability and budgeted hours improves the accuracy and authenticity of time worked and absences taken, lowering personnel costs due to things like added overtime or labor overages.

#5. Employee Engagement

Workforce management tools can promote employee engagement by assisting individuals in feeling more productive at work and achieving a better work-life balance through more scheduling flexibility. Organizations can also give their employees a voice and promote employee empowerment by gathering employee sentiment in the moment and leveraging employee input and preferences to affect workforce management activities such as scheduling.

#6. Flexible scheduling

Many firms struggle with staff scheduling, specifically aligning labor talents to business demands to enhance productivity and minimize expenses. Workforce management solutions include tools that allow managers to establish schedules that align their workforce with anticipated (forecasted) demand, while also allowing employees to manage their calendars using self-service tools.

#7. Security

Some workforce management solutions use biometric data gathering equipment (for example, fingerprint scanners) to clock employees in and out, which helps minimize “buddy punching”—the practice of one person clocking in for another. Furthermore, location-based access to a web clock helps ensure that employees only clock in from the location where they are to be working. Secure workforce management systems also have inbuilt machine learning, which checks for suspicious activity and anomalies in workforce management data, assisting in the prevention of errors or fraudulent payroll transactions.

#8. Business Insights

Companies can make better business decisions in the future when organizational and departmental data is centralized in a single workforce management system. Organizations may evaluate overall company performance with real-time information thanks to workforce management tools.

#9. Access from anywhere

Workforce management solutions enable firms to meet employees where they are in order to increase productivity. Anytime access enables employees to clock in and out, change shifts, request time off, and access information such as pay stubs and W2s from their mobile devices quickly and effortlessly.

#10. Fewer mistakes

By automated time and attendance capabilities, workforce management systems reduce human errors. Automation ensures accuracy by removing data entry errors caused by self-service time reporting tools. An intelligent system, for example, can listen for retroactive changes that may affect how an employee’s time should have been computed and then automatically recalculate an employee’s time and transmit corrections to payroll via robotic process automation. Intelligent compliance notifications can also help guarantee that an employee’s time is appropriately documented and that they stick to their work plans.

What Functions Does a Workforce Management Solution Perform?

#1. Workforce Productivity Improvement

A workforce management system minimizes manual processes and allows you to better manage a wide range of time and attendance standards. Overall workforce productivity improves with increased visibility into hours worked, worker availability, and safety events, and managers can guarantee that staffing needs are met and respond promptly if things change.

#2. Minimize costs and risks.

As the efficiency of your workforce rises, HR management costs begin to fall as a result of more efficient processes, which means less time spent on administrative activities. Greater transparency into employee availability and allocated hours improves the correctness and authenticity of time spent and absences taken, lowering staffing costs.

#3. Assure accurate and timely data.

You can provide a simple, intuitive way for all sorts of workers to accurately report hours worked and absences with a comprehensive workforce management solution. A comprehensive range of time management tools enables you to automate validations and notify employees of compliance problems.

#4. Make your workplace a safer place to work.

A workforce management system can assist you in promoting a culture of workforce safety and compliance while also assisting you in more effectively managing environmental health and safety events. By streamlining and automating the whole process—from reporting accidents to recording essential information—ensures that the information is correct and motivates employees to report health and safety issues.

The Best Workforce Management Solution: Things to Consider

Organizations should be able to implement the following best practices for the successful adoption of workforce management solutions:

#1. Make things simple for employees.

Offer self-service time entry and management across all employee devices. Minimize errors and free up HR staff by allowing employees to submit their own time and attendance data using time cards or other self-service user processes. Employees may quickly and easily record the time they’ve worked with simple, mobile-responsive time entry or a digital assistant for time and absence input.

A solid leave management solution gives you complete control over the rules and procedures that govern absence in your firm. Create absence plans quickly by configuring period terms, eligibility, accrual, entitlement definitions, and payment requirements. Configure absence validations, carryover rules, administrative activities, and display appearances to define absence types.

#2. Make it simple for managers and HR personnel.

Modern, flexible time and labor and absence management solutions can be designed to meet the demands of the business and workforce, allowing managers to decrease the impact of unanticipated absences and manage time by exceptions. Compliance alerts prevent potential problems from occurring. For quicker notification, you can send them as text messages. Managers may construct time cards for each worker using a flexible rules engine and templates without consulting IT.

#3. Make connecting business employee data simple.

Although a time and labor system has many advantages on its own, the advantages skyrocket when it is connected with scheduling, payroll, general ledger, project management, and core HR systems. Moreover, firms that integrate time and attendance with payroll find a reduction in payroll processing errors as well as a reduction in time-tracking errors. Offer strong connectivity with payroll and time management systems.

A strong leave management solution bridges the dots between changes in leave and pay calculations by relying on data from payroll, time and labor, and core HCM systems. Workers can plan absences using self-service or directly from their time cards. The end effect is the same in either case: comprehensive insight into the time and leave management.

What Will the Future of Workforce Management Look Like?

Shifting markets, a more stringent regulatory environment, and a more diversified and distributed workforce have made workforce management more complex—and more important. Without integrated workforce management systems, firms’ bottom lines would suffer because they will lack access to the strategic insights required to determine where change is required and match HR efforts to business goals.

Effective workforce management includes time and labor management, absence management, and health and safety management—all of which are fully connected with payroll and other key HR processes and financial data to offer accuracy, simplicity, and insight to a once-difficult task. The outcome is an engaged, productive, and connected workforce eager to contribute to organizational success.


WFM is vital because it helps develop a framework for successful scheduling, forecasting, and budgeting in order for firms to conduct their operations properly. Organizations can plan and accomplish strategic goals while also boosting efficiency by utilizing automation and other tools. Finding and implementing the best WFM system for your sector will result in a happy, responsive workforce that is performing at its peak.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like