Header Home

Workforce management

Getting the right employees in the right place at the right time to carry out the right tasks - in theory, workforce planning and the deployment of personnel in a company sounds simple. In practice, many companies face a challenge: reacting quickly and flexibly to constantly changing requirements, seasonal order situations and crises (e.g. corona) despite increasingly complex processes and structures.

Find out more about workforce management

Getting the right employees in the right place at the right time to carry out the right tasks - in theory, workforce planning and the deployment of personnel in a company sounds simple. In practice, many companies are faced with a challenge: reacting quickly and flexibly to constantly changing requirements, seasonal order situations and crises (e.g. corona) despite increasingly complex processes and structures - and of course cost-saving and efficient management is also a must. So how can resources be optimally deployed even in complex organizations? Professional personnel planning based on holistic workforce management offers companies the opportunity to deploy their resources as required, identify optimization needs, create forecasts and optimize their operational performance and flexibility - to the benefit of companies, employees and customers alike.

Time Overview DE 2x

What is workforce management?

Workforce management stands for the optimal use of mobile resources such as employees, machines and work equipment. In many companies, workforce management focuses on the deployment of personnel. In this context, the term workforce management describes a holistic view of personnel deployment, workload and the use of work equipment. The evaluation focuses on the company's requirements and the continuous optimization of resources. The aim is to deploy the right employees in the right place at the right time and in the right number and to complete the right tasks with the right amount of work equipment. Bottlenecks or the overloading of individual departments are identified and avoided by workforce management. Professional workforce management is becoming increasingly important and is now an important component of strategic management consulting and part of modernization processes in companies in numerous sectors, from healthcare to logistics and production.

How does workforce management differ from personnel planning?

The term workforce management comes from the English language and means "labor force management". The term has been used since the 1980s, but business economists, companies and consultants have only really started to pay attention to it in recent years. The use of the "new" term is initially surprising. Workforce management and workforce scheduling - it seems as if the two terms could be used interchangeably. However, workforce scheduling is actually a component of workforce management. The term workforce management is much broader than pure personnel resource planning - in addition to actual personnel resource planning, it also includes determining personnel requirements (or forecasting requirements), specific working time models and time management, as well as supply chain management within the company.

Advantages and disadvantages of operational workforce management

The advantages of professional and holistic workforce management are offset by a number of challenges

Advantages of workforce management

The implementation of workforce management offers numerous advantages on various levels:

  • Workforce management enables increased efficiency and productivity within the company. It enables the company to react quickly to changes of all kinds and to adhere to schedules such as employee time accounts thanks to efficient time management.

  • Demand forecasts can be used to optimize the use of manpower, thereby avoiding production bottlenecks and making better use of existing capacities. Personnel costs are saved. Workforce management makes decisions more transparent, as they are not based on assumptions but on data. Information and correlations between values can be made visible through comprehensive controlling.

  • Companies become more flexible and can react more quickly to changes. Fluctuating order situations or changing customer requirements can be countered by workforce management without the company reaching its capacity limits. (Keyword: working time flexibilization)

  • The capacities and potential of employees are utilized in the best possible way. In the best case scenario, workforce management ensures that employees are deployed according to their qualifications and new skills can be acquired. This increases their motivation.

  • Manpower is deployed where it is actually needed and leads to results. Duty rosters are demand-oriented and flexible and increase productivity.

  • As a consequence of the flexibility gained in terms of working time planning and organization, employee satisfaction and motivation increase - workforce management makes companies attractive employers.

Disadvantages of workforce management

The implementation of workforce management can pose the following challenges:

  • The use of workforce management is particularly worthwhile for large companies that have to coordinate a large number of employees and work equipment. The aim is then to optimize the use of manpower. Whether the use of workforce management is worthwhile for smaller companies depends on the respective company and its individual needs and problems.

  • The implementation of processes, solutions and possibly software requires a certain period of familiarization, which can initially present major challenges.

  • Change can generate resistance - companies that opt for workforce management should therefore prepare employees for the changeover, help them with potential problems and provide professional support throughout the process.

Workforce management in practice

Both customers and employees as well as companies can benefit from workforce management. Workforce management helps to optimize the use of resources in companies and ensures planning reliability and flexible responses to a wide range of requirements.

Workforce management is based on data and its evaluation: the cycle consisting of analysis, personnel requirement forecasting, capacity planning, personnel deployment planning, working time management and controlling creates an ever-increasing amount of data from which the need for optimization can be determined. It provides a solid basis for decisions. With the help of software solutions, workforce management can also be used with large amounts of data and complex company structures.

Basic functions of workforce management software

Professional workforce management software consists of the following basic functions:

  • Work planning based on qualifications

  • Shift planning and working time distribution based on employee requirements, hourly accounts and employee shift requests

  • Recording of work data to describe the scope and quality of the work to be done

  • Documentation of absences and absence times (e.g. for vacation or illness)

  • Task planning to precisely plan the use of manpower and cover fluctuations in demand

  • Time recording and data processing

In addition to the basic functions, workforce management can offer further solutions:

  • Determination of staff requirement forecast and suggestions for recruiting

  • Onboarding plan for new employees

  • Monitoring the performance of teams and individual employees

  • Employee skill matching to deploy employees in the right place Optimal use of machines, work equipment and employees

  • Tracking of company resources in departments or teams

Steps for successful workforce management

The following steps can be taken to ensure a successful workforce management process:

  1. Communication of objectives and professional support for the implementation of workforce management

  2. Continuous analysis of the company's workforce requirements and employee needs

  3. Analysis of the employee structure and employee qualifications

  4. Determination of suitable working time models

  5. Design of personnel deployment planning tailored to all needs

  6. Definition of a concept for determining specific personnel requirements on the basis of meaningful data

  7. Definition of key figures for controlling

  8. Implementation of software to determine the required data

  9. Permanent controlling and demand-oriented adjustment of measures

Workforce management is only successful if it is used holistically and processes are constantly evaluated and optimized, taking into account the needs of employees and the company. No long-term change is possible overnight. The introduction of a new system requires the provision of the necessary resources, patience and a familiarization phase. However, when employees and management are in the same boat and heading in the same direction, both parties benefit equally.

Tips and tricks

For workforce management to succeed, tasks and requirements must be clearly defined and documented. Workforce management is effective when the required data is reliably determined and a constant and ideally automatic evaluation of the processes and the necessary work distribution is carried out.

Workforce management not only affects processes, but also people. Companies that want to implement workforce management should therefore take the needs of their employees seriously and offer solutions that accommodate them. The use of flexible working hours and working time models in the planning process contributes greatly to employee satisfaction. Expanding their skills and qualifications through targeted workforce management within the company also benefits both employees and the company. Companies that understand the needs of their employees and incorporate them into their workforce management create benefits for both parties and become more attractive as an employer.

Performance must be measurable - this is the only way to identify the need for optimization. Appropriate software can be used to simplify the entire process. Workforce management with the help of suitable software solutions is simple, practical and effective.