Most companies today are familiar with the concept of workforce management (WFM), and many understand the benefits of a successful WFM strategy. From increased employee engagement to improved retention, the right WFM strategy can deliver a variety of benefits across the organization. If you haven't implemented a WFM strategy, now's the time to start. But if you've already got one in place, how can you tell if your approach is working or not?
Start by looking for the following signs that your WFM isn't cutting it — any one of which is a clear indicator that you need to rethink your company's approach to WFM.
No matter how well you plan, or how far ahead into the future you forecast, there are always going to be hiccups, bumps in the road and unplanned challenges — minor issues are bound to arise over the course of daily business life. But if you find yourself constantly being asked to create ad hoc solutions off the cuff, your organization is likely suffering from a challenge related to WFM. These should be the exception, rather than the rule.
Where is your company today — and where is it going tomorrow? If you can't say for sure, that's a red flag for a variety of reasons. One of those is the fact that you won't be able to adequately plan to have the talent on hand to effectively support the growth of the business. Lacking a clear sense of organizational priorities, you'll simply always be trapped in reactive mode, rushing to put out one fire after another. And that's no way to work.
drains on efficiency
The underlying goal of any approach to WFM is to improve operational efficiency. So if you're lagging here or noticing areas where operations are at less than full capacity, that's another red flag — and a sure sign that you have an issue with WFM. It may be you simply don't have the right employees in the right place at the right time; alternately, perhaps the departments and teams within your organization aren't connecting in a way that improves efficiency. Repairing any of these through a comprehensive WFM strategy will significantly boost productivity and revenue.
Nobody likes coordinating schedules when multiple stakeholders are involved. And when you're dealing with a large workforce, that increases the magnitude of the headache exponentially.
When it comes to scheduling-related WFM issues, ask yourself if you've experienced any of these:
- daily fluctuations in headcount
- difficulty coordinating schedules with existing staff members
- frequent absenteeism — without employees calling ahead
- highly manual processes for scheduling and tracking shifts
- significant turnover
If you answered yes to any one of these, it's a clear sign that there is work to be done — and that you could drive substantial business and operational improvements by implementing superior WFM practices.
inability to analyze results
You've identified a specific business issue, dedicated time, energy and resources to plan and implement the solution — and now you seem to be seeing results. But how do you really know it's working?
That's why it's so important to have tools and methods of tracking outcomes built into your WFM solution. Ideally, that will include automated reports with actionable insight and real-time monitoring capabilities. The bottom line is that, lacking the ability to drill down into the data points that matter and adjust the levers to see what's delivering results, you won't be able to tie actions to outcomes. And that's more than a short-term strategic deficit. Over the long haul it's going to seriously impair your ability to respond to change and rapidly adapt.
how to get started
If you're unsure about your workforce management strategy, you're not alone. But we're here to help. To learn how to start building a sophisticated workforce management strategy, just click here. It's not easy — but with a little guidance and a lot of hard work, you'll be able to craft a savvier strategy that works for your workforce.