June 16, 2022
What are Workforce Management Tools?
Workforce management tools are software designed to boost the efficiency and productivity of employees. They can do this in many different ways, from tracking how they use their time to planning career development and providing learning resources. Workforce management tools have been around almost as long as business itself has been. The first time clocks date back to the late 1800s, and we’ve been finding new ways to better manage the workforce ever since. Employees are one of the most important resources a business has, so it makes sense to give them all the tools they need to thrive. Whether that means accurately tracking their hours to make sure they get paid correctly, or a bot checking in with them to find out how they’re feeling, workforce management tools offer lots of options.
Why is Workforce Management Important?
Your workforce powers your business, so how you manage it makes a huge difference
You want to give your employees everything they need to succeed because when they do, your business succeeds as well. The most obvious example of this is giving them the equipment they need to do their jobs, but it also extends to the systems you put in place.
- Managing employees’ workloads
- Putting systems in place to deal with complaints
- Ensuring accuracy and timeliness in payroll
- Allowing employees to easily track time off
- Offering scheduling flexibility
Workforce management is about efficiency, but it extends much further than this. It’s also about employee morale, wellbeing, and compliance. The right workforce management tools will help your workforce to become more efficient but in a sustainable way. Happy, healthy employees are good for business, but if this is to be the case in your business, you need oversight, and this is where workforce management tools come in. With software as a service making software more accessible for businesses, there’s been a huge boom in the number and scope of workforce management tools, so it’s important for businesses to do their research and find the ones that are the best fit for them.
Here’s a look at four workforce management tools you need to know about.
Workforce Management Tools to Know About
You’ll find lots of different workforce management tools with a variety of different functions. Most of these can be broken down into four main categories:
- Human Resources
- Employee Time and Attendance
- Scheduling and Absence Management
- Payroll processing
When brought together, these categories can give you complete oversight over how your manage your workforce. However, different businesses have different needs, and many might only need a solution for one or two of these elements.
Human resources is like a central hub that looks after everything to do with the workforce. They’re responsible for finding, screening, and recruiting new employees, training the workforce, and looking after employee-benefit programs, but often they also take on additional duties.
Workforce management tools can help with every aspect of human resources, providing an online hub where employees can easily engage with HR. This can allow HR to communicate with prospective employees, administer training programs, and much more.
Having streamlined HR processes is vital for your business because they’re a good way to resolve issues. They allow employees to be immersed in your company culture, get the training they need to improve their performance, and get the added motivation they need to succeed. The big advantage of workforce management tools is that they bring all these functions together in one easy-to-access platform.
Employee Time and Attendance System
Most businesses require predictability and stability. You need to know your staff are going to be where they say they’re going to be when they say they’re going to be, and your staff need to know they’re going to receive swift, accurate compensation.
This is fairly simple when you work with salaried employees, but when you employ staff at an hourly rate, it becomes a lot more complicated. People work different schedules at different rates, and you’ve got to be able to track the hours everyone is working.
Luckily, modern workforce management software makes this straightforward.
Employees can clock in and out online or through a time clock kiosk, and the information automatically syncs to an editable timesheet. Once approved, the timesheet can be synced to payroll with the click of a button.
This means you get accurate timekeeping with minimal hassle, freeing HR and managers up to take care of other important tasks.
Scheduling and Absence Management
For many businesses, scheduling can be extremely challenging. You’ve got to juggle time off requests, sick days, high turnover rates, and employee unavailability, all while trying to predict future demand.
It can take managers hours each week to perfect their schedules, only for all that work to be undone by unforeseen circumstances. Good workforce management tools mean it doesn’t have to be this way though.
Modern technology eliminates the need for messy spreadsheets, with scheduling taking place online. This brings everything into one central platform (time-off requests, overtime, PTO), giving managers instant access to all the information they need.
It also adds centralized communication, instant notifications, and the ability for employees to swap shifts in a controlled way. Getting scheduling right is vital, and workforce management tools can help you do this.
Simply by having more accurate timekeeping and scheduling, your payroll processing is going to become more efficient. However, workforce management tools also improve payroll by syncing the three functions.
Employee clock-ins are automatically synced to timesheets that can be compared to schedules and edited as needed. Once approved they’re sent to your payroll software so that your employees get paid for their hours.
There’s no need to enter data manually because everything is done for you making processing employee time for payroll easier.
Your payroll software will keep track of payments and help keep you compliant, and there’s a lot less for you to worry about. All of this means happy employees, happy managers, and a more efficient workforce.
5 Key Elements of Workforce Planning
Workforce management tools can become an essential part of your workforce planning.
Most workforce planning is broken down into five steps, and your workforce management apps can help you in each one:
- Set your strategic planning
- Analyze your current workplace profile
- Develop an action plan
- Implement the action plan
- Monitor, evaluate, and revise your plan
Workforce management tools are essential to this planning because they provide you with data to inform your decisions, and a platform to initiate change. For example, in your strategic planning, you might set a goal of reducing overtime. Using your time and attendance data, you can identify why your overtime hours are higher than they should be and implement strategies to reduce them.
Without access to detailed data, it’s very hard to understand what’s holding your workforce back and where improvements are needed. Workforce management tools provide you with this data, allowing you to make changes and track developments.
Your strategic planning might even highlight the need to update or upgrade your tools. If this is the case, then identify the most important areas of workforce management and find the software that best fits your exact needs.
The Best Workforce Management Software
Workforce management is a huge discipline, and you can find software that covers all kinds of needs. When choosing any software, it’s important not to get carried away with the gimmicky bits you don’t need, and focus on the processes that are most likely to transform your business.
This is why we’ve broken down the tools into four distinct categories. It’s likely that some will apply to your business and others won’t, so it’s best to find a bespoke solution for your needs
When it comes to time and attendance, and absence management, the best time clock software system is Lathem’s PayClock Online. This provides you with an advanced platform to track and manage your employees' time, and unlock greater efficiency.
With mobile clock-in, benefit time accruals, employee time-off requests, remote location options, and many more features, it’s a simple, yet effective solution.
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