When a business is just starting up, it’s not really a complicated task for leaders to manage their employees. After all, when there are only three or four workers to keep track of, managers can take the time to speak with each person individually on a regular basis, letting the employee report back on their workload and any successes or failures they have faced, study their metrics, and deliver feedback.; On the other hand, as the business grows and more employees join the company, the process becomes a bit more complicated. Suddenly, each employee’s workload becomes a drop in a much bigger bucket. Managers have neither the time nor the capacity to pay attention to each individual employee, or to track the endless list of variables that can impact the company’s productivity and revenue. Without another solution, the burden of managing a rapidly growing workforce can quickly become overwhelming and spiral out of control.; Fortunately, there is a broad range of workforce-management solutions available that companies can implement to streamline and automate the entire process. Organizations can compare several different workforce-management solution vendors and determine which products best suit their needs. These software solutions handle tracking and organizing data, then compile that data into a simple dashboard view which company leaders can access to make informed decisions for the future of the organization.

Of course, given that the term workforce management can entail a very broad spectrum of tasks, it’s no surprise that there is also a broad range of tools available on the market. As such, finding a workforce-management solution that perfectly fits your organization can be a daunting undertaking.

To make sure that you end up with a solution you can rely on, you should first take the time to inventory exactly what you hope to get out of it. Are you trying to cut back on wasted company time? Would you like to increase staff productivity? Do you want a better overview of what is happening with different projects? Are you interested in ensuring that your business is operating in full compliance with state and federal laws (such as the Affordable Care Act)? Most business leaders would answer a resounding yes to each of these questions, but that is really not enough. Take a personal look at each of these issues — time management, staff productivity, project logistics, legal compliance — and try to identify where your business is lagging behind. If you can identify the root causes behind the big issues, then you’ll have a more-focused idea of what you need your workforce management systems to do.

That said, there are certain benefits of workforce management that have become an accepted standard:

One of the chief benefits of a software solution is how granular it allows managers to be as they search for inefficiencies in the work process. Workforce management software provides a wealth of data that leaders can use to trim away the fat and streamline the process their workers use. Much like basic CRM systems, the best workforce management solutions can capture and analyze data that might otherwise be overlooked, and present findings in a way that is easily digestible.
Speaking of data, with job tracking tools, employees and managers have access to data which allows them to sort out inefficiencies that might otherwise cause work delays. These tools provide this data in real time, showing decision makers exactly when and where problems are arising. With performance metrics available at their fingertips, managers are able to know what employees are doing at any given time, then use that information to adjust predictions on when products and information will be available to clients.
Many management suites also provide mobile workforce management solutions, giving workers the option to do their jobs from anywhere, depending on the task at hand. Not only is this more convenient for mobile workers, it simplifies the process for workers who use multiple devices to get their work done. A mobile solution keeps information synchronized between all devices, so should one workstation become available, the worker can easily transition to another, with little-to-no interruption. Meanwhile, both workers and managers have on-demand access to all the data they need to make better decisions, no matter where they are.
Ideally, the best workforce management solutions will be easy to customize and integrate with other aspects of your business. For example, a study by the Aberdeen Group found that more than 85% of companies who had shown themselves through a variety of metrics to be “best in class” would integrate their time and attendance systems with their payroll systems into a single, convenient interface . This kept all records in a single place and allowed employees and leaders to view this information without having to open several different solutions.
The most desirable solutions are also scalable, so that as the company grows, the system will still be able to handle all of the information that goes through it. Make sure that your company is prepared for growth by implementing a solution that can grow with you. This means handling more users and a larger amount of data, while also providing access and functionality across a variety of different devices and platforms. This way, if your company decides it wants to evolve its infrastructure down the line, you’re not trapped using platforms you don’t want.

At the end of the day, business is about making money, and all of these benefits work together to boost a company’s bottom line. According to Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), workforce management software can decrease the costs of internal communications between the workers and their managers by as much as 40%. Not only that, but it’s more convenient for workers and leadership alike; a 2010 study by Axsium showed that after implementing integrated workforce management solutions, more than 80% of managers were either satisfied or very satisfied with the results they saw.

By implementing workforce management software into your department, you can reap these savings, which convert directly to profit for your business. So, whether your business is large, medium, or small, an effective workforce management solution — custom fit to the unique needs of your organization — can help you keep a closer eye on the people, tasks, and data that define success.

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