Workforce management (WM) is the process of optimising and managing an organisation’s workforce to achieve the desired goals and objectives. WM is now an essential part of many businesses across diverse sectors, from healthcare and retail to manufacturing and finance. The significance of workforce management across organisations is apparent following the global workforce management solutions market exhibiting growth at 10.1% CAGR.
Future developments in WM will likely be influenced by the widespread availability of cutting-edge technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and others.
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Let’s explore how workforce management has been an influential aspect of organisational growth!
How does Workforce Management work?
To achieve its goals and objectives, an organisation must have the appropriate people working in the right places at the right times, which is what WM is all about. Workforce management considers the following variables before taking action on the company’s operations:
Real-time Data Collection
Data collection in real-time has been gaining prominence in WM since it enables managers to make better choices. Information on employees’ time spent working, tasks performed, and other similar data helps managers make the correct decision for the company’s business prospects.
Field Service Management
As a subset of WM, field service management (FSM) is crucial for businesses that use a roving staff. In this field, a WM manager coordinates the activities of mobile employees, such as setting up appointments, sending out repair teams, and monitoring the output.
Management of Human Resources
Human resource management (HRM) is an integral element of WM since it encompasses all aspects of an employee’s existence, from hiring to retirement. The administration of personnel files, salary, benefits, and regulations all fall under this category.
Steps to implement workforce management
WM begins with forecasting or the estimation of how many workers will be required to satisfy corporate needs. As a rule, this is determined by looking at past data, current trends in the sector, and other criteria.
After establishing the required workforce size, the WM manager must develop work schedules to keep the workforce accessible whenever clients or customers need them. This entails scheduling shifts, dividing responsibilities, and ensuring that busy times are well covered.
Tracking of time and attendance
When the tasks have been assigned to the staff by the WM manager, the employees are kept accountable through a tracking system that measures time and attendance. This includes the time spent at work, breaks, and staff absences tracked using WM tools.
The tools enable employees to clock in and out of work electronically, eliminating the need for manual timekeeping methods. This helps the management keep tabs on workers to see whether they adhere to time constraints and meet their job responsibilities.
Workforce Analytics to monitor performance
Analysing data to obtain insights into workforce performance, trends, and possibilities for improvement is another key aspect of WM. With data and analytics, scheduling can be optimised, employee engagement and retention rates can be increased, and training needs can be well identified.
Importance of Workforce Management
Let’s say that ‘Company A’ is a retail chain that hasn’t implemented any methods for managing its workforce. They do not engage in workforce planning by modifying their staff numbers depending on the volume of customers. As a consequence, they often run short-handed at their busiest periods, resulting in long lines and unhappy consumers.
‘Company B’, on the other hand, is also in the retail chain, but they use workforce management software to better manage their workers based on client needs. They look at historical data to predict busy times and plan workers appropriately. Thereby meeting the needs of their customers and delivering an improved service.
‘Company B’ is more likely to have a better outcome in business prospects, customer satisfaction and the job satisfaction of employees, all thanks to workforce planning and workforce management.
Advantages of Workforce Management
Boost in productivity
By ensuring that workers are allocated activities within their areas of expertise, workforce management may boost productivity by lowering the amount of time and energy needed to complete each activity. As a result, productivity and production go up.
Enhanced employee engagement
Employees who are given opportunities to expand their knowledge and expertise are more likely to see their company as caring about them as people and their professional growth. This helps them be productive and ensures longer retention periods.
Optimising the number of employees and reducing the charges for overtime are two ways in which effective workforce management can assist in cost reduction. Understaffing causes a decline in production and employee burnout due to greater responsibilities, whereas overstaffing results in idle workers and higher expenditures.
As overtime pay rates are often higher than normal pay rates, businesses can save money by limiting the necessity for overtime through effective workforce management.
Increase in efficiency
By automating scheduling and other administrative activities, WM tools may save time and prevent mistakes. This helps managers and employees concentrate on higher-value activities.
Workforce management tools are software applications or platforms that improve an organisation’s ability to manage its employees. These tools give data and insights that enable managers to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of their employees. The WM tools market is experiencing rapid growth from software to mobile-based workforce applications due to their massive influence on organisational productivity.
The following are common workforce management tools used in today’s corporate world:
- ADP Workforce Now
- Oracle HCM Cloud
- Ceridian Workforce
- SAP SuccessFactors
- Infor Workforce Management
Roles and Responsibilities of WM Manager
Apart from scheduling the workforce to adhere to time constraints. The WM manager has other responsibilities and duties to carry out. Here are a few roles and responsibilities of a WM manager:
The WM manager’s primary role is developing and executing workforce strategies to help the business achieve its goals and objectives. This entails anticipating labour demand, assessing changes in the workforce, and pinpointing knowledge and ability shortages.
The WM manager is in charge of meeting the organisation’s personnel requirements by selecting, employing, and developing a suitable workforce. The process includes drafting job descriptions, advertising positions, reviewing applications, interviewing applicants, hiring and then training competent individuals.
Managing Labour Costs
WM managers need to be sure they are doing a good job of controlling labour expenditures. Since these costs add up to a significant amount of an organisation’s total budget, keeping an eye on labour costs, finding areas for improvement, and enacting solutions to lower those costs without sacrificing output is what a WM manager does.
The WM manager is also responsible for performance management, which includes tracking and reporting on indicators, including worker output, punctuality, and schedule adherence. If necessary, they collaborate with higher-ups to create and execute enhancement strategies.
Communicating With Stakeholders as well as Employees
A WM manager’s communication skills are tested when discussing staffing requirements, schedule adjustments, and expected performance levels with workers, managers, and other stakeholders. As part of this process, a WM manager is expected to make and distribute calendars, hold meetings, and provide frequent reports on personnel and performance indicators.
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It is the WM manager’s duty to ensure that the company complies with all applicable labour laws and regulations in terms of scheduling, pay, and other benefits for employees. As such, it is imperative that the company’s policies and procedures reflect any and all changes to applicable labour laws and regulations.
Top MBA Skills
Organisations can accomplish their missions and stay ahead of the competition if they take the time to plan their operations carefully, hire the right people for the jobs, keep their employees happy, and keep them in full compliance with all labour laws/regulations.
Workforce management is essential for the aforementioned steps and helps reap huge rewards for any business. Using workforce management software and experienced managers helps businesses get the most out of their employees and cut expenses without sacrificing the quality of service.
upGrad’s MBA programme with Deakin Business School
Workforce management considers several complex issues, such as training, scheduling, efficiency, and cost reduction. Given the enormous variety of accessible tools and platforms, it may be quite scary and overwhelming.
But don’t worry, upGrad’s MBA programme with Deakin Business School and IMT(Institute of Management Technology) is here to guide you through this labyrinthine domain. The curriculum and faculty will provide you with the required knowledge and abilities to tackle the difficulties of workforce management.
With additional upGrad benefits and an immersive learning environment, this course is well-equipped to enable learners with the right skills to participate in or lead workforce management with agility!
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What are the skills required to become a WM manager?
To become a successful WM manager, problem-solving skills, leadership and communication skills, organisational and time management skills, knowledge of labour laws and regulations, as well as strategic thinking.
Do I need an MBA degree to become a WM manager?
No, an MBA degree is not a requirement to become a WM manager. However, a person with an MBA degree is more likely to get selected for the job role as MBA provides a valuable educational foundation.
What is the role of technology in workforce management?
Technology plays a critical role in workforce management by automating various manual tasks associated with managing employees. Technology can also help improve employee engagement and communication with tools such as employee self-service portals and mobile apps.