What Is Workforce Management?

The meaning behind workforce management

Workforce Management (or WFM) solutions acknowledge the fact that businesses are complex, and in order for operations to run smoothly and efficiently, proper WFM solutions need to be put in place to ensure all of the aspects of the business that contribute to operations, including workforce planning, forecasting, scheduling, etc., are running smoothly and efficiently as well.

How workforce management and operational efficiency intersect

The operational efficiency definition describes “the ratio between an output gained from the business and an input to run a business operation. When improving operational efficiency, the output to input ratio improves.” On the other hand, the workforce management definition states that WFM is “an integrated set of processes that an institution uses to optimize the productivity of its employees on the individual, departmental, and entity-wide levels.” How do these intersect? Optimizing workforce management solutions means optimizing the efficiency of your workforce, and that, in turn, optimizes the overall efficiency of business Operations by ensuring that no time or resources (members of the workforce included) are being wasted, and that all are being utilized to their maximum potential.

What is embraced by the workforce management system?

The WFM system focuses on optimizing your current workforce by managing its skills, training, and distribution. That means training, hiring a balanced workforce that combines skill levels, leaders with learners, balances the workload across teams, and adapts to incorporate the skills of the workers into operations to create unique pathways for maximizing success-but the workforce management system isn’t just about managing operations efficiency for the present; it is also focused on ensuring optimal performance into the future, and that involves prioritizing WFM forecasting, too.

How is workforce management forecasting incorporated into the workforce management system? By acknowledging that no two “seasons” within your operations are alike. Your business goes through cycles where some team members are going to be busier than others, and WFM forecasting ensures the proper cross-training of staff members to allow the workload to be balanced among your resources all year long. By cross-training employees, you can ensure that there is always someone to pick up the slack, cover holidays, and take on extra work. This balance ensures some employees aren’t being overworked and becoming dissatisfied while others aren’t being productively or efficiently utilized. However, while this type of management can optimize operations throughout the year, it can also help with future planning, ensuring there are always a variety of skill levels available to step into whatever position may need to be filled in the future.

Why workforce management is necessary

Workforce management is crucial to business success because it helps to balance out operations, ensuring that the people who are managing each aspect of operations have the skill levels necessary to perform their tasks safely and efficiently, minimizing mistakes and optimizing output. It also ensures the right number of resources and the right mix of skills are always on site to boost output and efficiency; however, when it comes to WFM for the inexperienced, there are a few tips that can help you to overcome the challenges of managing workforce diversity:

1. Cross-train your employees to ensure transferring heavy workloads to maximize overall resource efficiency can be managed.

2. Train, coach, and create a balance of skill levels and leadership among workforce teams.

3. Forecast to ensure resources aren’t being overworked or wasted during seasonal fluctuations.

4. Ensure flexible, real-time WFM to balance the extremes that take place within the day as well as the season-and take advantage of employees who want to take unpaid hours off (this can help minimize wasted resources and keep employee moral up).

5. Use meeting times wisely to maximize motivation, performance, and to help capture and leverage key learnings into future operations planning.

6. Spend time on the operations floor to monitor leadership, productivity, trends, time management, costs, etc. This can help you resolve issues, but it can also help you to observe skills that may be being overlooked, and that could help boost productivity elsewhere.

Conclusion

In short, the best business can only operate as well as its workforce. If workforce management solutions are being applied smoothly and efficiently, the productivity and output of your entire operations can benefit.