What is Workforce Management (WFM) ?

Workforce management (WFM) is an integrated set of processes that a company uses to optimize the productivity of its employees. WFM involves effectively forecasting labor requirements and creating and managing staff schedules to accomplish a particular task on a day-to-day and hour-to-hour basis.

Compliance violations

Staffing shortages

Workplace safety incidents

Choosing a workforce management solution

Industry, location, workforce characteristics and strategic goals generally determine which workforce management solution is right for a business. Despite these variables, many employers follow these steps when evaluating providers:

Define the existing state of processes

Outline the WFM processes that are in place today and who’s responsible for them.

Gather feedback

Talk to key stakeholders about their current pain points and where they’d like to see improvements.

Create a wish list

Prioritize the requirements of a new WFM system and begin to evaluate potential providers based on those points.

What are the benefits of workforce management?

The right workforce management solution, when implemented and used effectively, can help employers:

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Control costs

Overstaffing, excessive overtime and other costly expenses can be minimized by using technology to forecast labor needs. With some advanced WFM solutions, employers can even see how budgets are impacted by schedules as they’re created.

Run payroll with greater accuracy

Workforce management software makes payroll more reliable because it automatically analyzes hourly labor and identifies patterns of overtime.

Minimize compliance risk

Overlapping FMLA and state leave laws are more easily managed with automated workflows that track employee eligibility and leave balances. In addition, the online recordkeeping available with WFM software is helpful if there’s ever an audit by a government agency.

What are the functions and features of a workforce management solution?

A workforce management solution should be capable of the following:

Labor forecasting

Fluctuations in consumer demand, holidays and even the weather can make it difficult to maximize or even stay within labor budgets. But by modeling these scenarios, employers can anticipate factors that may lead to over or understaffing.


When creating schedules, employers have the ability select employees based on a number of criteria, including experience, skills, preference, etc. Workers can also exchange shifts amongst one another or share their availability in advance to avoid gaps in coverage.

Time tracking

WFM solutions capture data at the source – time clocks, kiosks, mobile apps, web-based timesheets and points of sale (POS) devices – and automatically apply specific business rules to help ensure accurate and efficient payroll processing.

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