Imagine that you own a sandwich shop and much of your revenue is generated from the sale of footlong sandwiches and sandwich platters for lunch or office events. To handle the increased traffic during lunchtime, you schedule an additional employee to work. However, on a busy day like Super Bowl Sunday, a surge in local customers arrives just after lunch. You didn’t anticipate the situation and now you are in a bit of a dilemma.
To handle such situations in professional business and personal life, you must know how o reiterate your workforce and allocate it in such a manner that productivity and efficiency remain intact. Workforce management (WFM) refers to the processes and practices organizations use to manage and optimize the performance of their employees. It encompasses a range of activities. Let us unveil them one by one.
Scheduling: Creating and maintaining schedules for employees to ensure that adequate staffing levels are maintained and that labor costs are kept within budget. We will be discovering the hidden aspects of scheduling in the upcoming sections.
Basically, scheduling helps us to ascertain that we have placed enough staff for handling the workflow adequately. The complexity of scheduling depends on the vastness of your business. Therefore, you need to evaluate a lot about your inbound customers first.
Time and Attendance: Even if you have complete conviction of the staffing strength, sometimes, your business might face uncalled situations like bulk employees' absence. That could be completely counterproductive and devastating too (in some cases).
Something nobody can really foresee unless you have a proper employee roaster system in your company. Tracking and recording the time that employees work, including time off and leave. This is to ensure you have enough employees at all times no matter what.
Forecasting: The process of forecasting involves estimating future staffing requirements based on historical data, and adjusting schedules accordingly to meet changing demand. To be precise in the forecasting process you need to have a clear idea about your business.
Documenting finances and accounts can help for reference purposes, but you must have been in the historical situations and experienced the crucial situations yourself. Only then you will be able to attain a clear vision of the past so that you can shape the future.
Performance Management: Then comes the part where you are measuring and evaluating employee performance, and providing feedback and coaching to improve their skills and productivity. This is the most basic and constant process that needs to do regularly.
Employees determine the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of your business and their strength and weakness will directly reflect in your business performance. Therefore, it is utterly necessary to allocate some time to employee training and skill development.
Talent Management: Probably the most important maneuver you would be doing in your business is talent management. Essentially, it involves Identifying and developing employees with high potential and creating career paths and succession plans for key positions.
Being a leader, you need to be quite vigilant and specific about assigning tasks to your employees based on their skill set and talent. If are able to manage talents efficiently, half of your business performance can ramp up easily.
The ultimate goal of WFM is to balance the needs of employees with those of the organization, ensuring that staffing levels are optimized, costs are controlled, and service levels are maintained. To achieve this, organizations use a range of tools, including software systems, to automate and streamline WFM processes.
Explaining Workforce Management in Detail
Workforce Management (WFM) is a set of practices that companies use to optimize their labor costs and boost efficiency by overseeing their workforce. This includes creating and updating staff schedules, tracking paid time off, and reconciling time with payroll.
WFM provides valuable insight into the daily activities of employees and can help identify patterns such as punctuality. The system is comprehensive, combining various components to create a thriving and productive workforce.
Workforce Management (WFM) can significantly impact business performance by streamlining operations and maximizing the use of available resources. Here are some specific ways that WFM can improve business performance:
Increased Productivity: WFM helps organizations optimize their staffing levels by ensuring that the right number of employees are available at the right times to meet demand. This reduces downtime, increases output, and ultimately, boosts productivity.
Improved Scheduling Accuracy: WFM systems can accurately track employee schedules and time off requests, reducing the chances of over- or under-staffing. This ensures that operations are adequately covered and eliminates the need for manual scheduling efforts.
Better Time Tracking: WFM systems can integrate with payroll systems to provide real-time, accurate information on employee time and attendance. This helps to avoid disputes and ensures that payroll data is accurate and up-to-date.
Improved Employee Satisfaction: WFM can help organizations create fairer schedules that allow employees to have a better work-life balance. This, in turn, leads to improved employee satisfaction, reducing turnover and absenteeism.
Enhanced Customer Service: By having the right number of employees on hand at the right times, businesses can better meet customer demand and provide higher-quality service. This can improve customer satisfaction and help drive repeat business.
Increased Efficiency: WFM systems automate many of the manual processes associated with workforce management, freeing up valuable time and resources for redirecting it to other areas of the business; resulting in increased operational efficiency and reduced costs.
In conclusion, WFM can bring numerous benefits to organizations of all sizes, from increased productivity to improved customer satisfaction, by providing a comprehensive and efficient system for managing the workforce.
Understanding the Importance of Workforce Management with Example
Think back to February 2020 and how the workforce was functioning before the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns. Despite the uncertainty and unpredictability of the pandemic's impact, the significance of workforce management became apparent.
- While forecasting may have been challenging, workforce management provided the ability to keep track of staffing and scheduling. During the pandemic, companies that were able to manage the workforce properly were able to survive better.
- Workforce management allows for real-time adjustments to be made as circumstances change, making your company more flexible and resilient through the creation of a guide for people, processes, procedures, and technology.
- Understaffing can result in frustrated customers and overworked employees prone to errors, but workforce management helps determine the necessary staffing levels, secure the necessary personnel, and monitor performance and productivity.
Business crises come in different sizes and shapes, you can never truly anticipate imminent threats to your business. Businesses that have the best contingency plan are able to sustain better in the future and the step towards creating a top-notch defense system involves creating failproof workforce management, effective enough to withstand any crises.
Dos and Don’ts While Building Workforce Management
While you are onto building a staple business strategy or any strategy for the sake of your company, you have to make sure it works until the foreseeable future, not something that turns out to be a brainchild. Therefore, before getting into the things that need to be done, allow some time to rethink what needs to be avoided while building a strategy. Here are some dos and don'ts while building a workforce management system:
- Clearly define and communicate the goals and objectives of the workforce management system to all stakeholders. Workforce management is a serious phenomenon and everyone’s contribution is critical to the success of workforce management. Therefore, make sure you communicate the necessities of the workforce management strategy. Everyone must properly adhere to their roles and responsibilities
- Begin with evaluating the existing workforce management strategy in play. Track the performance and history of existing workforce management strategy. Identifying the loopholes, limitations, and challenges is going to be the first difficult task while devising workforce management. Analyze and understand the current workforce management processes to identify areas of improvement to the best of your abilities.
- Consider the needs and preferences of employees when designing the system. Don’t make the blunder of making all the critical decisions by yourself. Always make a habit of taking opinions and suggestions from your team. A workforce management strategy would be incomplete without the involvement of every single member of the team. Everyone should be informed of their milestones and things that will help them through the journey.
- Integrate various HR systems and tools to streamline processes and improve efficiency. There are a couple of HR management tools that can help in tracking and allocating people and other resources for sustainable operations. You can leverage these tools to keep track of your workforce and their compliance with the recent change in rules and regulations that came into play after launching the management strategy.
- Lastly, you must regularly review and evaluate the system to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes. Be mindful of possible improvisations during the implementation. Also, train your employees on the use of the system to ensure effective implementation and usage. Your employees would be needing your constant support for delivering their roles and responsibilities diligently.
- Don't neglect the privacy and security concerns of employees' data.
- Don't implement a one-size-fits-all solution without considering the specific needs of the organization.
- Don't neglect the importance of user-friendliness in the design of the system.
- Don't roll out the system without proper testing and debugging.
- Don't neglect the importance of ongoing support and maintenance to ensure the system remains effective.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the created strategy is going to work as a panacea for all your workforce reinforcement needs.
Employee Management For Workforce Management
Employee management is the process of overseeing and directing the work of employees to ensure that organizational goals are met. Workforce management largely depends on your ability to manage your employees and It involves a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Let us go through them one by one.
Hiring and Onboarding: Finding, interviewing, and selecting new employees and helping them to become acclimated to their new roles and the company culture. These are crucial times when an employee ready themselves for delivering the company’s vision and needs.
Performance Management: Evaluating employee performance and providing feedback, setting performance goals and expectations, and addressing performance problems or deficiencies; for ensuring the maximum output from the employees
Compensation and Benefits: Designing and administering employee compensation and benefits packages, including salaries, bonuses, and insurance plans.
Training and Development: Providing training and development opportunities to help employees improve their skills and advance their careers.
Employee Relations: Building and maintaining positive relationships with employees, addressing and resolving conflicts, and promoting a positive work environment.
Compliance: Ensuring that the organization complies with all relevant laws, regulations, and policies regarding employment practices.
Succession Planning: Planning for the future of the organization by identifying and developing potential future leaders and ensuring smooth transitions in leadership. Effective employee management is essential for the success of an organization and requires strong leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Operations Management: Operations management is the area of management concerned with overseeing, designing, and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations in the production of goods or services. It involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient in terms of using as few resources as needed and effective in terms of meeting customer requirements. The main objectives and activities include.
Efficiency: Bottomline motive behind improving the workforce is to improve efficiency and productivity and that is what entails in operations management too. Maximizing output with minimum input (time, resources, etc.) to minimize cost and increase profitability.
Effectiveness: No matter how good the efficiency and productivity rate are, the end results depend on how effective your strategy was, and the customer satisfaction rate is the only metric for that. Ensuring that the operations meet customer requirements and expectations.
Quality Management: The entire operations management entails front-end and back-end business procedures, but a successful business survives on product quality only. So you must ensure that the final product or service meets the required quality standards.
Flexibility: The best quality of a company is determined by its flexibility in working. Ability to quickly adapt to changes in the market, customer demands, or other factors. The workforce must be able quickly to adapt to new trends and techniques hassle-free.
Aside from the objectives, let us now go through the activities happening inside operations management that help in delivering the objectives sufficiently.
Process Design: Designing and planning the production process to meet customer requirements and minimize costs.
Capacity Planning: Determine the level of resources (people, equipment, etc.) needed to meet demand.
Scheduling: Deciding when to start and finish the production process and when to perform specific operations.
Inventory Management: Deciding the right amount of inventory to carry, when to order more, and when to produce more.
Supply Chain Management: Coordinating activities with suppliers to ensure timely delivery of raw materials and components.
Quality Control: Monitoring and evaluating the production process to ensure that it meets quality standards.
Maintenance: Ensuring that equipment and facilities are in good working condition.
Overall, operations management is critical to the success of any organization, as it plays a vital role in converting inputs (such as raw materials, labor, and energy) into outputs (goods or services) in an efficient and effective manner.
Best Ways to Use Business Resources
Effective utilization of business resources is critical to the success of an organization. The following are steps that can be taken to ensure that business resources are used optimally.
Prioritize Business Resources: Identify all the resources available to your organization, including people, money, technology, and equipment. Prioritize these resources based on their importance to your organization's goals and objectives.
Assess Resource Needs: Determine the resources required for each project or initiative, including the quantity and quality of resources needed. This will help you allocate resources effectively and ensure that you have the right resources available when you need them.
Create a Resource Allocation Plan: Create a plan for how resources will be allocated to different projects or initiatives. This plan should be based on the prioritization of resources and the assessment of resource needs.
Implement Resource Allocation: Once the resource allocation plan has been developed, put it into action. This involves assigning resources to specific projects or initiatives and monitoring their usage to ensure that they are being used effectively.
Monitor Resource Utilization: Regularly monitor and track resource utilization to identify any inefficiencies or areas where resources could be better utilized. This information can be used to make adjustments to the resource allocation plan as needed.
Evaluate Resource Utilization: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of resource utilization and make changes as needed to improve performance. This can be done by conducting performance reviews, analyzing resource utilization data, and considering feedback from employees and stakeholders.
Optimize Resource Utilization: Continuously optimize resource utilization by identifying and implementing best practices and technologies. This may include using resource planning software, automating resource allocation processes, and developing strategies to reduce resource waste.
Overall, workforce management also encompasses the effective utilization of business resources and requires careful planning, monitoring, and evaluation. By taking the time to develop and implement a resource utilization plan, organizations can ensure that their resources are being used optimally to support their goals and objectives.
Believe it or not, if you have strong workforce management and you are adroitly working towards improving your workforce, you are halfway towards achieving your business goals. Having stronger, resilient, and expandable team members is imperative for your business’s success. Using the above pointers, you can devise a perfect workforce management plan.