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Workforce Management: Orchestrating Productivity, Compliance, and Success

Workforce Management: Building and Bolstering Productivity

Orchestrating productivity, compliance, and success

Workforce Management

Have you ever stopped, sat silently, and listened to the sounds of your workplace surroundings? 

Those working in an office may be inundated with the clacking of keyboards, cubicle conversations, and ringing phones. On construction sites, the rhythmic beep of reversing trucks, the hum of hydraulic lifts, and the hammering of steel pins often fill the air. Restauranteurs may encounter casual chatter, the tapping of silverware, clanking glasses, etc.

While each occupation sings a different tune, these unique soundtracks help differentiate one job from another. 

And while that background noise may seemingly exist without direction, believe it or not, someone is responsible for orchestrating who makes those sounds, when they’re made, and why. This maestro of operations is conducting the symphony known as workforce management, ensuring the business’s productivity is executed on time, in rhythm, and at the right speed. 

But, wait, workforce management… What’s that? How is it best measured and executed? Does a company have to assign someone to this role to be productive? This article will answer those questions and more, giving real-life examples and statistics that show how and why strong operational leadership is imperative to success. 

Defining Workforce Management

According to ADP, workforce management is the way in which employers strategically allocate people and resources, track attendance, and comply with constantly changing workplace laws and regulations. 

This strategy is akin to a football team’s game plan. In football, coaches select the players whose skills best fit the needs of each position, from quarterback to running back, linemen, wide receivers, etc. From there, the coach diagrams a strategy and draws up plays that he or she believes best fit the personnel and gives the team the best chance to win. After the game, the coaches review statistics and results to decipher what worked, what didn’t, and identify any areas for improvement. 

In the professional realm, business leaders utilize workforce management to minimize labor costs, improve operational efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and maintain compliance with labor laws and regulations. 

Successful businesses tend to prioritize workforce management. According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, organizations using workforce management solutions experienced a 12% increase in productivity. Additionally, research by SHRM indicates that companies with strong workforce management practices have 23% lower turnover rates.

In summary, workforce management is the recipe that defines results, serving as the determining catalyst to how well a service or product is delivered.

Tip: Use a digital time clock to better manage labor costs. It helps make sure everyone's work aligns with what the business needs, avoiding unnecessary overtime.

Benefits and Importance of Workforce Management 

An optimal workforce management plan enables a company to record, assemble, and organize business metrics to determine the exact number of employees needed to complete a particular job at a given time of the day, week, or month. 

For example, on a construction site, workforce management may help a foreman schedule the appropriate number of laborers necessary to build a home’s foundation by using data collected on previous jobs of a similar magnitude. 

While every employer and occupation differs, most companies implement workforce management plans to optimize their outfit’s efficiency and productivity, ensuring alignment with strategic business objectives. Here are some of the benefits a well-developed workforce management plan can bring to a company.

Optimizing Productivity: Workforce management aims to ensure employees are effectively utilized to maximize output and efficiency. A well-executed workforce management plan aims to reduce idle time and improve overall productivity.

Cost Control: By accurately forecasting labor requirements, scheduling employees efficiently, and minimizing overtime, workforce management helps control labor costs and improve budgeting accuracy.

Enhancing Employee Satisfaction: By providing employees with clear expectations, fair scheduling practices, and opportunities for development and growth, workforce management contributes to higher job satisfaction and employee morale.

Ensuring Compliance: Workforce management systems help organizations adhere to labor laws, regulations, and internal policies regarding work hours, breaks, overtime, and other labor-related matters, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

Improving Customer Service: By aligning staffing levels with customer demand and ensuring employees are adequately trained and available to serve customers, workforce management helps enhance the quality of service and customer satisfaction.

Forecasting and Planning: Workforce management involves forecasting future labor needs based on historical data, business trends, and seasonal variations, enabling organizations to proactively plan staffing levels and avoid shortages or surpluses.

Developing Talent: Through performance management processes, workforce management aims to identify and develop employee skills and competencies, fostering talent retention and succession planning within the organization.

Driving Business Agility: By quickly adapting staffing levels and resource allocation in response to changing market conditions, workforce management helps organizations maintain agility and competitiveness in dynamic business environments.

Components of a Workforce Management Plan

So, how does one build an effective workforce management plan? While each occupation and industry has unique needs and layers to consider, a typical workforce management plan should focus on finding and retaining talented workers, scheduling these individuals appropriately, and reviewing and revising each job to ensure productivity is optimized. Before crafting a workforce management plan, consider these strategic objectives: 

Finding the Right People

Workforce Planning: This involves assessing the current and future needs of the company's workforce based on various factors, such as business growth projections, anticipated changes in demand, and workforce demographics. It includes forecasting staffing requirements and identifying potential skill gaps. Staffing too many employees at the wrong time could result in wasted labor budgets, while having too few workers may negatively impact productivity and customer service. Appropriate employee counts are especially important for seasonal businesses or those that operate through peaks and valleys. To ensure the proper number of people are present, a company should consider data and analytics gathered over time. 

Recruitment and Selection: Attracting, sourcing, and selecting qualified candidates to fill vacant positions is critical to a company’s success. To ensure the right people are brought in, a company may incorporate third-party assistance for sourcing candidates, screening resumes, conducting interviews, and making hiring decisions. If a company hires poor-performing talent, productivity may stall, resulting in a reduction in quality and an overworked, exhausted staff. 

Talent Management: Talent management encompasses strategies for developing and retaining employees to ensure the company retains a skilled and engaged workforce. This may include performance management, career development initiatives, succession planning, and employee engagement programs.

Training and Development: This component involves providing employees with the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to perform their jobs effectively. It may include orientation programs for new hires, ongoing training and development initiatives, and opportunities for continuous learning.

Scheduling the Right People at the Right Time

Workforce Scheduling: Workforce scheduling involves creating and managing employees’ schedules to ensure the right number of employees with the necessary skills are available to meet operational demands. It may involve shift planning, managing time-off requests, and optimizing staffing levels based on workload and demand fluctuations.

Time and Attendance Management: Time and attendance management encompasses processes for tracking and recording employee work hours, including clocking in and out, managing breaks and meal periods, and tracking overtime hours. It may involve the use of time tracking software or time clock systems to automate these processes.

Performance Management: Performance management involves setting performance expectations, providing feedback and coaching to employees, and evaluating their performance against established goals and objectives. It may include performance appraisals, goal setting, and performance improvement plans.

Review, Analyze, and Improve

Data Analytics and Reporting: Data analytics and reporting involve collecting and analyzing workforce data to gain insights into workforce trends, identifying areas for improvement, and informed decision-making. It may include generating reports on key workforce metrics, such as turnover rates, absenteeism, and labor costs.

Compliance and Legal Considerations: Compliance and legal considerations involve ensuring the organization's workforce management practices comply with relevant labor laws, regulations, and industry standards. This may include adhering to minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations, and workplace safety standards.

Continuous Improvement: Continuous improvement involves monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of workforce management practices and making adjustments as needed to optimize performance. It may involve soliciting feedback from employees, benchmarking against industry best practices, and implementing process improvements.

Workforce management continues to evolve, driven by technological advancements, changes in demographics, evolving workplace cultures, and shifting employee expectations. Some of the trends driving this evolution that you should consider adding to your plan are listed here. 

Remote Work and Hybrid Models: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work. Even as things return to normal, many companies are likely to continue offering remote or hybrid work options. Workforce management must adapt to support distributed teams, ensuring productivity, collaboration, and employee well-being.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation: AI and automation will continue to transform workforce management. This includes using AI for recruitment, employee scheduling, performance management, and predictive analytics to anticipate staffing needs and optimize workflows.

Skills-Based Workforce Planning: As job roles evolve rapidly due to technological advancements, companies will focus more on skills-based workforce planning rather than traditional job descriptions. This approach allows organizations to match employees’ skills with the tasks at hand, fostering agility and innovation.

Data-Driven Decision-Making: Workforce management will increasingly rely on data analytics to make informed decisions. This includes analyzing employee performance, engagement, and sentiment to improve retention, productivity, and overall organizational performance.

Focus on Employee Well-being: Companies will prioritize employee well-being to attract and retain talent. This involves offering flexible work arrangements, mental health support, and resources for work-life balance. Workforce management will play a crucial role in implementing policies and programs that support employee well-being.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives: Workforce management will place greater emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This includes implementing DEI initiatives throughout the employee life cycle, from recruitment and hiring to career development and promotion to create a more inclusive workplace culture.

Gig Economy Integration: The gig economy is expected to continue to grow, and companies will need to incorporate gig workers into their workforce management strategies. This involves developing processes for onboarding, managing, and integrating gig workers alongside traditional employees.

Continuous Learning and Development: Lifelong learning will become essential as job roles evolve and new skills emerge. Workforce management will focus on providing opportunities for continuous learning and development to upskill and reskill employees, ensuring they remain competitive in the rapidly changing job market.

Flexible Workforce Models: Traditional full-time employment models may give way to more flexible workforce models, such as part-time, freelance, or project-based arrangements. Workforce management will need to adapt to accommodate these different employment structures while maintaining productivity and engagement.

Ethical AI and Human-Centric Approach: With the increasing use of AI in workforce management, there will be a greater emphasis on ethical AI practices and ensuring a human-centric approach. This involves addressing concerns around bias, privacy, and transparency to build trust among employees and stakeholders.

Manage Your Workforce with OnTheClock

OnTheClock offers a range of features and functionalities that can help streamline workforce management processes for businesses of all sizes, Many of these optimizations are listed here. 

Track Employees’ Hours: OnTheClock provides a user-friendly platform for tracking employee work hours, including clocking in and out, managing breaks and meal periods, and tracking overtime hours. This helps ensure accurate and reliable timekeeping, reducing the risk of errors and compliance issues. OnTheClock offers mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, granting employees the ability to clock in and out, view their schedules, and request time off from anywhere, at anytime, with an internet connection.

Track Employees’ Schedules: The software also offers tools for creating and managing employee schedules, allowing managers to easily create shifts, assign employees to specific shifts, and communicate schedule changes. This feature helps optimize staffing levels, reduce scheduling conflicts, and ensure adequate coverage during peak periods.

Paid Time Off (PTO) Management: OnTheClock includes features for managing PTO, allowing employees to request time off, managers to approve or deny requests, and automatically adjust employee accrual balances. This simplifies the process of tracking and managing vacation time, sick leave, and other types of PTO.

Compliance Monitoring: OnTheClock helps businesses stay compliant with labor laws and regulations by automatically calculating overtime hours, applying relevant wage rates, and generating reports to ensure compliance with minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations, and other legal obligations.

Reporting and Analytics: OnTheClock provides robust reporting and analytics tools that allow businesses to track key workforce metrics, such as labor costs, employee attendance patterns, and overtime expenses. This data-driven insights help businesses identify trends, make informed decisions, and optimize workforce management strategies.

Integration Capabilities: OnTheClock integrates with popular payroll and accounting software, such as QuickBooks, ADP, and Gusto, streamlining the process of transferring time and attendance data for payroll processing. This integration reduces manual data entry, minimizes errors, and improves payroll accuracy.

Try OnTheClock for free for 30 days today to see why 18,000 companies are using digital time management tools to manage their workforces.

Frequently asked questions


From tracking time and attendance to help with scheduling or absence management, workforce management creates clarity for employees while simplifying (and sometimes automating) administrative tasks for managers.


Technology plays a crucial role in modern workforce management practices by providing tools and solutions to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance decision-making. How can workforce management help businesses comply with labor laws and regulations? Workforce management can help by providing automated compliance checks, scheduling compliance, accurate recordkeeping, customized reporting, employee notifications, and more.


Workforce management strategies can be differentiated by considering various factors such as industry-specific requirements, organizational goals, workforce demographics, and operational challenges.

OnTheClock Employee Time Tracking

Written by

Herb Woerpel

Herb Woerpel is a copywriter with OnTheClock. He has 17-plus years of professional journalism experience working for community and national media outlets.

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