April 9, 2021

What Is Workforce Management?


Many organizations equate basic time tracking methods to workforce management. However, by understanding the full breadth of workforce management, you can identify gaps in your existing processes and take concrete steps to make sure you have the employees you need when you need them.

When advising potential clients, we often ask, “Are you tracking time, or are you managing your workforce?” Whether you have employees working on-site, at home, or in the field, effective workforce management allows you to take a holistic approach. As a result, you can schedule employees, track their time and attendance and manage labor costs for maximum efficiency.

The 5 Pillars of Workforce Management

Time and attendance are at the heart of workforce management, but you want to do more than just track hours and overtime. Tracking time simply gets you from clock-in and clock-out to payroll, but true workforce management consists of integrated, automated solutions to help you drive efficiency and make more informed decisions about your workforce.

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Here are the five pillars of workforce management that can help you optimize your business operations:


Scheduling is rarely as simple as slotting employees into a shift or making a few minor adjustments for overtime here and there. Instead, employee scheduling is complicated by periods of peak demand, unexpected absences and employees working a combination of full-time and part-time schedules.

To achieve effective workforce management, it is necessary to have an employee scheduling solution with the flexibility to conform to your organization’s needs. With an automated scheduling tool, you can manage employee schedules for greater transparency and efficiency, and take actions such as:

  • Creating work shifts to match your operating schedule
  • Communicating schedule changes to employees in real time
  • Empowering employees to remotely manage their schedules and trade shifts with coworkers
  • Setting notifications that tell you when employees are approaching their overtime limits

Leave and Absence Management

Keeping track of when employees are out sick, on vacation or away on an extended leave is critical to maintaining smooth business operations. You need to plan for absences and adjust employee pay as necessary, and you also need to stay in compliance with federal and state requirements for paid and unpaid leave. Using manual tools to keep track of employee time off will only increase your chances of coverage gaps and paid leave law violations.

According to the CDC Foundation, productivity losses related to absenteeism cost employers about $1,685 per employee each year. By using workforce management tools to track employee leaves and absences, you can gain more insight into how employee time off impacts productivity, and also:

  • Set protocols for requesting and approving time off
  • See employee time off balances and get notifications for exceptions
  • Integrate leaves and absences with employee schedules

Labor Tracking and Costing
Whether you have mobile maintenance employees working out in the community or employees working shifts on a manufacturing shop floor, you need an effective way to keep track of how employees divide their time between different projects, activities and work areas.

Thankfully, labor tracking tools allow you to measure employee time and predict labor costs for specific workforce activities. Using automated workforce management technology, you can establish cost codes and use multiple job costing levels to help you see the labor costs associated with different kinds of work. You can also easily calculate costs related to shift differentials and paid breaks.

Document Management
Effective workforce management requires you to always keep one eye on compliance. Hiring and managing employees generates a lot of documents, and you need an efficient way of storing and organizing this highly sensitive data to keep it secure and provide access to it for those who need it.

Adding document management software to your workforce management toolkit allows you to establish employee profiles, so you can keep documents organized by type, date and other parameters. You can also set permissions for HR, payroll and managers. For example, you can give your payroll staff access to employee W-4s and benefits premium deductions, but not performance reviews or disciplinary warnings. By keeping employee data organized and secure, you can also stay in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recordkeeping requirements.

Mobile Solutions

According to the International Data Corporation, mobile workers will account for nearly 60 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2024. As technology makes it easier for employees to work from anywhere, the tools used for workforce management should do the same. With the aid of mobile solutions, you can manage your workforce no matter where they’re based. Mobile time and attendance solutions allow you to:

  • Provide employees with self-service access to schedules and time-off systems from any device
  • Permit employees to clock in and out using their mobile device
  • Give employees location-based permissions to clock in at worksites and remote locations using their device’s geolocation function

Manage Your Workforce More Productively
Workforce management technology allows you to manage employee schedules, leaves and absences with certainty. It also provides customizable tools to help you stay in compliance with labor laws and manage labor costs across multiple work locations. As your business continues to evolve, you need an integrated solution to help you make informed decisions about your workforce. Contact us to learn how TCP can help you select the solution that works best for your needs.