What Is Workforce Management?

July 03, 2023

Discover the importance of workforce management to keep your company organized, increase employee satisfaction, and improve efficiency.

Have you heard of workforce management (WFM) but never found a thorough explanation of what it is? People often explain it as a set of processes, but the definitions don't concisely tell you what the idea behind the concept is. How do you create a solid workforce management system? And what exactly is included in WFM?

Key Takeaways

  • Workforce management (WFM) is a strategy that helps businesses to optimize their workforce and ensure that they have the right number of employees with the right skills in the right place at the right time.
  • Effective WFM helps organizations avoid understaffing and overstaffing, which can improve overall production, efficiency, and labor law compliance.
  • Many organizations use WFM software to streamline and automate key WFM functions, including timekeeping, scheduling, budgeting, and forecasting.

What is Workforce Management?

Workforce management is a human capital strategy and set of integrated solutions that optimizes productivity, increases efficiency, minimizes risk, and ensures compliance with changing labor legislation and regulations. It’s sometimes abbreviated as WFM. As you’ll see below, many of the functions that relate to WFM can be led by HR and people management professionals.

Workforce management originated in call centers. It was a way to improve efficiency and productivity, and it worked well. So well, in fact, that it expanded to every industry and created demand for a new type of technology: "workforce management software”.

What Is Workforce Management Software?

Workforce management software provides all the tools you need to put the right processes in place for better staff management. A great WFM software helps your team increase productivity and eliminate waste by matching the right employees to the right jobs. It offers tools to track time and manage employees.

Just as important, though, it offers the right tools in a user-friendly format to give your employees a convenient way to keep track of their time and responsibilities.

The software solutions and the phrase “workforce management” have become interchangeable because WFM itself uses tools and processes to improve different facets of staff performance. Your workforce management software is that tool. A great WFM software gives you excellent flexibility and a wealth of options to manage, schedule, and facilitate stellar performance.

So, what can you expect from a great workforce management solution? We’ll give you a solid overview of the software and discuss its applications to maximize your team’s efficiency.

What are the Main Workforce Management Processes?

Workforce management is the organized ability to streamline efficiency and improve performance among employees through the implementation of processes designed for your company's workflow.

Workforce management is a method for improvement in all aspects of staff performance. This table outlines the processes involved in WFM:




Automating employee scheduling can make it easier to monitor and manage vacations, absences, shift swapping, availability, and general resourcing

Time and Attendance

Having visibility on time and attendance can help HR professionals and their organizations resource better by identifying gaps in coverage, addressing tardiness, and managing planned and unplanned staff absences.

Performance Management

Connect employee performance and goals to organizational outcomes. Follow employees over the entire employee journey, from hiring to offboarding, all in one system.

Recruiting and Onboarding

HR can systematize recruiting and onboarding through automatic posting, applicant tracking, and simplified onboarding. Having the ability to store potential candidates in a database makes it a snap to send offer letters and reach out again when there are open positions. Identifying right-fit talent is within reach with the right WFM software.

Analytics Tracking

Canned and customizable real-time reporting can provide invaluable data insights such as headcount, cost per hire, retention rates, time to productivity, revenue per employee, time to hire, time to fill, demographics, diversity, and more. Tracking patterns and trends over time can inform people management strategies, including diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.


Seamlessly determine how many employees your organization can afford to hire. Budgeting can enable HR to use resources wisely and intelligently navigate recruiting and hiring efforts to cover skills gap and resourcing challenges.


Forecast workforce needs ahead of the curve through modeling. That way, seasonal fluctuations, holidays, weather, and new product or service launches can be accommodated with the right staffing makeup.


Reducing risk and staying compliant can be intensive and costly. With a compliance dashboard that automatically updates when new regulations go into effect, organizations can minimize costs and potential lawsuits.

Why is Workforce Management Important?

The main goal of WFM is to organize your staff. It gives your management a clear view of every employee so that they can maintain the level of productivity they need for any given task. Your supervisors can see the number of employees in a set department at any time. Know at a moment's notice when you need to increase staff and clearly forecast completion time based on the number of employees you have in attendance.

What does that mean for your company? Increased productivity and decreased spending.

When used properly, WFM gives you the tools you need to make sure that you have the right number of employees in place for the workflow at hand — no more, no less. Your company won't waste money with overstaffing because you'll have reporting features that take the guesswork out of staffing needs.

You also won't run the risk of understaffing — a problem that can decrease your customer satisfaction and send productivity spiraling. You'll have a clear picture of your staff success rate under all circumstances.

It's increasingly important for your workforce management solutions to be flexible. Staff management is quickly changing to incorporate new work environments. Does your staff work better from home? Is there a hybrid solution that will better serve staff and clients?

Key Features of Workforce Management Software

WFM software ties together the different aspects of management that foster productivity, including scheduling, time management, human resource management, forecasting, and geofencing parameters for the emerging remote work and hybrid models.

A comprehensive workforce management software solution should include the following features:



Time Tracking

Company-wide tracking of attendance by employee for easy reference.

Individual Employee Time

This feature gives you a snapshot of an individual employee's break time, attendance, and tardiness to help management identify areas where employees need to improve, as well as to highlight exceptional work ethic.


Scheduling features allow staff to check their own schedule online and gives management a way to easily manage scheduling requests and workflow.


A user-friendly dashboard provides an overview of each aspect of your WFM, from time management to reporting.


Your workforce management software offers robust reporting features to improve overall performance and highlight specific areas where staff excel or need improvement.

Geofencing Parameters

As companies move to remote work and hybrid models, geofencing parameters help you maintain employee efficiency without missing a step.

Time Clock Kiosks

Kiosks offer a streamlined way for employees to punch-in, record hours and breaks, and view messages.

Mobile Apps

A mobile app gives your employees a convenient way to keep track of hours, connect with management, and make scheduling requests.

What Are the Benefits of Workforce Management Software?

Workforce management software offers many benefits for your organization. Here are some of the top improvements:

  • Mitigate Compliance Risks: Compliance is a major concern for companies, and you need recorded data to maintain your regulatory compliance for the Department of Labor. WFM software gives you the tools you need to maintain proper records.
  • Save Money on Labor: Lack of organization can lead to scheduling more staff than necessary for a given shift or task. With efficient workforce management processes in place, you have a better overview of your staffing needs.
  • Streamline the Process for HR: WFM gives HR all the tools they need to manage employee time without all the extensive manual administrative tasks.
  • Improve Employee Performance: With user-friendly tools that allow staff to easily manage their time and put employees in work environments that are better organized, performance improves.
  • Robust Reporting: Workforce management is an ever-evolving practice because your company is constantly growing. Your analytics allow you to better see snapshots and trends over time. This helps you pivot and change protocols as they fit your needs.

How to Choose Workforce Management Software?

It’s important to choose workforce management software that meets your needs. There are a few attributes to keep in mind when shopping for your solution:

  • Scalable: Your organization’s needs will evolve over time, so find a solution that can match your goals. It takes time, effort, and money to change solutions, and you’ll save substantially if you choose one that grows with you.
  • Customizable: Organizations come in all shapes and sizes, so opt for a platform that has a combination of standard and customizable operating features and templates.
  • Responsive: WFM software needs to be flexible and fluid to meet your needs. Look for platforms that transfer data seamlessly, automatically update, and can keep you compliant with an ever-changing regulatory environment.
  • Integrated: Look for WFM solutions with third-party integrations to ensure all relevant people management data feeds into the same system. It will increase accuracy and relevancy, plus make your WFM initiatives more impactful.
  • People-friendly: The best WFM software is designed with people in mind. It should be both simple for HR professionals to use and easy for your employees to engage with. Top-tier solutions offer customer service that’s accessible, human-forward, and focused on meeting your needs. If you request new features or updates, they should be taken into consideration and followed up on.

Level Up Your Workforce Management with Paylocity

You need total workforce management services that keep you organized, increase employee satisfaction, and improve efficiency.

At Paylocity, we make your workforce management responsibilities easy with intuitive solutions at your fingertips. Our all-in-one platform includes workforce management tools that simplify scheduling, time tracking, and employee communication. They help eliminate unplanned labor costs, minimize compliance risks, and deliver a more modern and connected experience for managers and employees.

Schedule a HR and payroll solution demo today to learn more about Paylocity’s Workforce Management tools.


Maximize Productivity the Right Way 

Get out of time-consuming processes while knowing your employees are set up for day-to-day success. The costs - and headaches - of manually scheduling, tracking, and managing your workforce's time adds up fast. Use the right tools to automate where it matters, while delivering a modern, user-friendly experience for employees and their managers.

Manage with Confidence