What is workforce management (and the role of WFM software)?

Workforce management is a core process for businesses in every sector and of every size.

But what is it exactly? And where does workforce management software fit into the picture? Let’s dive in.

What is workforce management?

Workforce management (WFM) is a set of processes that optimise a business’s deployment of employees. In other words, it’s about making sure the right people, with the right skills, are in the right place, at the right time!

These are some of the processes involved:

  • Employee scheduling
  • Absence management
  • Time and attendance
  • HR management and reporting
  • Forecasting and cost simulation
  • Employee communication
  • Payroll preparation

Workforce management as a unified concept gained traction in the late '80s and early '90s, in parallel with the emergence of the PC.

As computers became integral to business operations, it’s no surprise that one of Microsoft’s bundled programs Excel became the go-to place to track employees’ hours and performance.

Now in 2022, workforce management is a key tenant for any business growth strategy. Market Research Future valued the WFM market at EUR 6 billion in 2019. And that trend is set to continue. The value of the market is estimated to reach EUR 19 billion by 2026.

And what about Excel? It certainly still has its uses, but businesses can no longer rely on it as their primary workforce management tool (but more on that later).

Beauty store assistant and customer_LR

What can better workforce management achieve?

So why do companies focus on their workforce management?

Fundamentally, optimised workforce management can be a key driver in your long-term success.

It can:

  • Reduce labour costs by avoiding over or understaffing
  • Increase employee retention through clearer communication and flexible scheduling
  • Save resources by streamlining countless administrative tasks 
  • Generate new insights into business performance
  • Enable a new level of company-wide transparency around daily operations.

In highly competitive sectors like retail and hospitality, it can make all the difference.

This is especially true in today’s landscape, with businesses across Europe facing rising rents, supply chain and wholesale costs and a critical labour shortage.

Let's look at a concrete example: ALDI Denmark.

Back in 2021, the supermarket chain put its workforce management under the microscope in 200 stores nationwide. Their aim was to increase operational efficiency and reduce their staff turnover rate.

One year later and the results are in. Among other achievements, they saved every store manager an estimated 30 minutes a day on admin. In the words of Project Manager Thomas Sørensen, "That's huge!"

You can read more about ALDI Denmark's workforce management story here

What is workforce management (WFM) software?

Workforce management software gathers all your workforce touchpoints into a single solution. As a reminder, these touchpoints include:

  • Employee scheduling
  • Absence management
  • Time and attendance
  • HR management reporting
  • Forecasting and cost simulation
  • Employee communication
  • Payroll preparation

Some software, like tamigo, are cloud-based – available in both web and app versions, with nothing to install.

That means they’re accessible company-wide for every single stakeholder, from employees behind the counter to the Head of Finance in HQ. Everyone is using the same system, working in the same way, and has access (depending on permissions) to the same data.

All the information about planned shifts, actual worked hours, in-store productivity and employee data is in the cloud. HR, operations, area managers and store managers can instantly see when information is missing. Or when something doesn’t look right from a performance or productivity viewpoint. 

Jakob Toftgaard, CEO and founder, tamigo

Furthermore, you can easily integrate your existing IT systems too, creating a seamless flow of operations data. tamigo can easily integrate your payroll, HR, POS or ERP software — through ready-made plugins or our open API.

<https://cta-redirect.hubspot.com/cta/redirect/7551280/fd2ca947-0e3d-4895-8ae8-d2ce6249b85e>What are the benefits of workforce management software?

We’ve talked about what WFM software is. But what are the actual concrete benefits? Here’s five to get started with:

1. Put an end to scheduling chaos 

Staff schedules written in Excel or with pen and paper quickly become outdated. All it takes is for one employee to call in sick or swap shifts with someone else, and the whole puzzle starts all over again. Cloud-based schedules ensure that the most up-to-date information and personnel data are always available in one place and to all employees.

2. Digitise processes and empower employees with self-service

With a digital and smart WFM, tedious planning and approval processes are a thing of the past. This is because employees can access their schedule themselves in a WFM solution, swap shifts with each other and request absences.

3. Communicate in real time

Are you planning a store event at short notice? The next sale is coming up? The new product line will be delivered a day later after all? You had to write numerous emails or call all employees to share information in the past. WFM Software enables you to communicate directly via the platform. This allows you to make relevant decisions transparent and increase employee engagement.

4. Monitor and maximise KPIs 

Foot traffic is subject to daily and seasonal fluctuations. Your operational planning should reflect this. After all, higher visitor frequency opens greater revenue potential. Optimise operations with intelligent benchmarking across departments and locations. Simply import your existing footfall data and see in advance if there are any gaps in staffing. 

5. Break data out of silos

Using a range of different systems means that data is scattered. Anyone in charge of analysing company-wide performance endures the time-consuming process of requesting and checking information from each team. With WFM software, it’s all in one place, leading to easier collaboration and smarter, data-backed decisions.

Further reading: Learn more about WFM software benefits in our article 3 reasons to automate your workforce management.

Clothing retail store managers_LR

Retail and hospitality workforce management software

Every type and size of business benefit from enhancing their modern workforce-related processes. But WFM solutions are especially indispensable for companies which have the following:

  • Multiple locations (national or international)
  • A shift-based workforce
  • Experience fluctuating demand throughout the year

According to consulting firm Gartner, "45% of large companies with hourly paid employees and varying workforce needs will use automation [by 2025] to improve workforce planning decisions."

That’s why tamigo was designed for larger retail and hospitality businesses.

Our first ever customer was the restaurant chain Sticks’n’Sushi, and since then we’ve expanded to customers across Europe. Brands like Intersport, Coop, Triumph and Sorvino Brands use tamigo every day to grow their business. 

Learn more about WFM software

Is your company considering a solution? We’ve got just the guide for you.

Inside you’ll find:

  • The benefits businesses are reaping from workforce management systems. Optimised staff costs, higher employee engagement and more.
  • What your company needs to look for when shopping different vendors.
  • A detailed look at implementation. How long does it take, and which stakeholders need to be involved?

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