Insight Human resources

The complete guide to workforce management

Written by Kayta Hackman on 30 Nov 2021

No matter what kind of business you’re running, you can never underestimate the value and importance of getting your processes right. Having the right systems and software set up to support your people and processes is vital in any environment. This is where workforce management can help.

You might be wondering: what exactly is workforce management? Why is it important and what sort of benefits can it provide? This guide will get you started with everything you need to know.

What is workforce management?

In simple terms, workforce management refers to a range of processes that can be used to maximize employee productivity and efficiency.

It’s all about taking actions to make your workforce the best it can be, getting the highest amount of value out of every member of the team.

So, how does it work in practice? Well, some examples of the processes workforce management covers include:

  • Rostering or scheduling – managing the process of allocating rosters based on things like availability, labor budgets, locations, employee preferences.
  • Tracking time and attendance –  actively monitoring employee clock in/outs.
  • Predicting demand – a keynote element of effective workforce management, demand forecasting helps predict how many staff should be rostered on at any given time.
  • Pay and leave admin – handling timesheets, paying employees based on award rates or agreements, and managing their leave entitlements.
  • HR admin  – onboarding, communicating policy and procedural information with employees or collecting information like qualifications, licenses, or even vaccination status.

Why is workforce management important?

Workforce management can be complex and broad, encompassing a long list of processes and involving a lot of data and analysis. But what’s the point of all of it?

When workforce management is implemented successfully, the benefits can speak for themselves:

  • Money savings – when focusing on optimizing efficiency levels, you get greater value out of your team’s efforts. This can naturally lead to financial savings on labor costs and time saved due to higher productivity levels.
  • Smarter decisions – workforce management provides leaders with the data needed to make smarter decisions. With processes that capture data, you’ll have the insights you need at your fingertips, making it easier than ever to provide direction on system improvements like automating tasks, setting rosters, and fine-tuning your strategies.
  • Employee satisfaction – giving employees the option to engage in processes can spark a sense of value and satisfaction at work. For example, the best workforce management solutions offer self-service options like shift bidding, setting roster availability and easy access to seeing and managing leave, all from one place.

We’ve had a 0.1% reduction in labour cost, reduction of three FTE and been able to better control and manage rosters, which has helped us adhere to contracted hours and limit overtime spend since rolling out Ento.”

David Benjamin Chief Information Officer, Millennium Services Group

How does workforce management software work?

It’s common to see many of these processes sit within a set of fragmented systems or tools across your business. Your current state of play may include a mix of spreadsheets, paper-based processes, online tools and sometimes even whiteboards!

The risk in managing your workforce this way is that you leave the business open to manual errors and loss of productivity. For example, how much time does it take for your managers to review, approve and pass timesheets onto payroll? Or, what steps does it take to create and communicate rosters? What is the process for filling shifts when someone calls in sick?

The purpose of workforce management software is to alleviate your business from the inefficiencies underpinning these processes, giving you the ability to automate and manage them from one centralized platform.

Choosing the best solution for your workforce

Every business is different, and choosing the right solution means you’ll need to carefully review your existing workforce management processes before selecting the software for the job.

To do this, it’s a good idea to take a general overview of your workforce management situation, looking at processes like rostering, payroll processing, onboarding, pay rules and leave management. Our recommendation? Pay careful attention to how these processes work and try to find areas of weakness, as well as spaces for improvement where time or money could be saved.

Interviewing employees, speaking with management, and looking through data to identify room for improvement will help you build a picture of your current maturity level. From there, you can start to see areas that can be streamlined, automated, and updated with the help of workforce management software, leading you to the right solution for your business.

Whether you’re new to workforce management or not, the right software can transform your business. You can save endless hours of wasted time, maximizing revenue and returns, all while improving employee satisfaction and making your company a more efficient, effective machine. Get in touch with the Ento team to see what our workforce management software can do for you.


intelliHR is a people and analytics platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS, powerful automation and real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.


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