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What is & How to Workforce Management? With Essential Tips.

Workforce Management is a popularising notion in the office. 

What started out as a method of staff scheduling has since grown into a framework that can help businesses improve time management, forecast workloads and required staff, bring employees into the scheduling process, and offer analytical insights into the workforce.

 But what exactly is workforce management? Why is it important and why should you care? What are some common pitfalls? How is it implemented in modern organisations? 

Fret not, my friend. Here’s everything you need to know. 

The Good, The Bad and the Tips to Workforce Management.

What is Workforce Management?

Workforce management (WFM) is a management approach where employees are managed so that efficiency is met. You can also see it as a set of processes to maximise the performance and competency levels of an organisation. 

Now, workforce management encompasses many elements and activities such as: 

  • Real-time data collection & adjustments – i.e. Collecting data about performance management 
  • Field service management – i.e. Managing the company’s resources located at the client’s property (i.e. inventory, vehicles etc.) 
  • Human Resources management 
  • Training Management – i.e. Carrying out employee training 
  • Performance Management – i.e. Aligning employee activities and their outputs with company’s goals 
  • Recruiting efforts – i.e. Reaching out, shortlisting, selecting candidates suitable for a job 
  • Budgeting effort – i.e. Planning and using the company’s monetary resources
  • Forecasting – i.e. Predicting the future outcomes of current work 
  • Scheduling – i.e. Planning, controlling and optimising work in the organisation
  • Analytics – i.e. Analysing the current situation in the company and providing recommendations to how to make improvements in the future 


Okay, this is an overwhelmingly long list, but that’s because WFM is expanding in rise of a new way to HR – Strategic Human Resources Management. 

But, if we were to boil it down even further: 

Workforce management essentially is a system ensuring that nothing is missed so that you can focus on meeting crucial business needs. Staying on top of these tasks will increase profits and productivity. 


Why is Workforce Management important? What are the benefits of having an efficient WFM strategy?  

As mentioned earlier, workforce management is a management approach that allows you to help with all the important details your business needs. So when it is looked after properly, you can progress further and achieve more as an organiastion

  • It makes sure that you get the right people to do the right tasks, at the right time, in the right place.  ⇒ Increase in profits & productivity 
  • It helps you analyse the current situation in your company. ⇒ So you can maximise resources, lower labour costs without compromising the quality of the work 
  • It helps you stay compliant with national, local and union laws. ⇒ Keep your business fully operational and legally compliant 
  • It helps people providing services with the knowledge of how they can perform their work faster. ⇒ Boosting customer satisfaction! 

Ultimately, you will likely help your company grow in productivity, and professional reputation. 


What are modern companies doing to WFM efficiently?

From its humble beginnings in call-centres, WFM strategies have changed over time to suit other industries and environments. So how are modern companies managing their workforces? 

#1. Crossfunctional collaboration.

One way of seeing  WFM, is a close collaboration between different functions of the organisation in order to achieve visibility, and holistic planning.

That’s why, more often than not, an effective workforce planning & management process requires that HR and Finance work as a team.

When Finance is in charge of managing the costs and HR is in charge of managing talent demand, the two groups together can create a workforce plan that brings together the right talent at the right time and cost to meet the business objectives of the company.

Of course, if your organisation’s operations are more project-based, this planning role (including budgeting, forecasting, recruiting and analytics etc.) will fall on the shoulders of a project manager, or whoever responsible. 


#2. Workforce Management Analysis and Management

Some organisations have seen the need to invite a workforce management analyst onboard. While some retrieve to make a new function with the sole purpose to establish that definitive picture of the work required to complete each task,  keeping efficiency and safety at top of mind. 
Well, a WFH analyst needs to have high analytics and operations skills, as well as strong knowledge in human resources management practices. 
S/he is responsible for: 
  • Collecting data on the company’s workforce
  • Analysing that data to determine trends
  • Create plans and operational goals for the business
  • Look for redundancies in the organisation to find ways to cut costs and reduce budgets


And it is not all number-crunching.

This role is immensely complicated. You will need to crawl through sheets of data, trying to make sense of it all and to curate feasible strategies while balancing internal stakeholder pressures. 

It is a tough job. 


#3. WFM Technologies 

That’s also why, many organisations have turned to utilise WFM technology to synchronise all sides of understanding, to plan and manage their workforce accordingly. 

The Xrosswork team is putting together a guide to ‘What to Look Out For in WFM Technologies’. Bookmark this page for more!