FAQ: A Guide to enterprise workforce management software

In this FAQ, learn more about recent trends in workforce management software and what that means for your business.

What is enterprise workforce management software?

The term workforce management (WFM) software encompasses desktop and mobile programs that help a business improve staff scheduling. It began in contact centers and other service-oriented businesses that employ a large number of paid-by-the-hour workers.

WFM software is meant to provide visibility into business metrics, for example, the fewest number of employees needed at a specific time of day to produce a product.

While WFM is becoming more popular, its similarities to other kinds of human resources (HR) and business software can make it a little complex.

How does WFM fit into the broader HR landscape?

Large corporations are tasked with managing a huge workforce, including staff scheduling, payroll and other responsibilities. Fortunately, the five core capabilities of WFM assist with these challenges:

Labor scheduling helps catalog employees' skills and compliance requirements more effectively.

Time and work data collection captures and reports highly detailed information about labor use.

Leave management helps to manage paid time-off requests with full visibility into the staffing and liability implications.

Task and activity management provides a detailed view of labor requirements to help with decision making required for responsibilities of the employees.

Time and attendance records employees' actual work hours and helps to enforce the company's requirements.

How can WFM directly benefit a contact center?

Contact centers of all sizes are likely to find a WFM system to meet their needs.  The tools are used by contact center managers to forecast inbound and outbound volumes and then schedule the right number of employees to manage the service. By scheduling the right amount of agents, call centers can maximize their productivity.

Do employee attitudes contribute to the need for workforce management software?

Younger employees are entering the workforce, and as a result, they are altering workplace structures. Millennials are said to value work-life balance and aren't willing to give up their personal lives for their organization because they don't see the benefit the way Baby Boomers and Generation X once did.

Previously, organizations would ask workers to change their schedules to meet the needs of the business. This is no longer widely accepted by employees, so companies need a different approach.

WFM software enables organizations to find a way to optimize departmental performance without altering their staff's personal lives. It provides functionality that helps to balance worker preferences with optimal staffing. It also allows employees to request vacation times and change work hours, and gives management the ability to approve the changes on an automated basis.

How can WFM contribute to the customer experience?

While one of the main drivers behind WFM is productivity, it can also improve the customer experience. Customers value a personalized approach today more than ever, and with WFM, call center managers can try to optimize both the quality and quantity of calls.

How do you select the right WFM software?

B efore selecting WFM software, it's important for organizations to identify their core objectives and industry requirements. One of the most essential points is deciding between adding WFM through add-ons to existing platforms -- like enterprise resource planning, manufacturing execution systems or customer relationship management software – or buying or developing specialized software. Experts say that if your payroll environment is even moderately complex, then you should go with a so-called best-of-breed, special-purpose system.

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