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Workforce management software

What is workforce management software

What is workforce management software?

Workforce management (WFM) software describes the technology and tools that organisations can put in place to support the management of their workforce. These solutions can range from simple software to the more sophisticated.

An introductory-level version is likely to support employers to create schedules, plus track attendance and time. Advanced varieties could enable workforce forecasting alongside tracking of performance. These functions help companies gain new insights that can inform their decisions and optimise their workforce strategy.

What are the features of workforce management software?

Leading-edge workforce management software will include a range of features all designed to contribute to optimal management of workforces. Most software will be cloud-hosted, with advanced security and data backup. You can expect to see some or all the following features:

ICN-Time tracking

Time tracking

Workforce management software is typically designed to be compatible with means of tracking time, including online timesheets, punching in clocks, mobile apps and other devices that capture employee hours. WFM systems can then automate the data processing while including specific rules or policies of that business, before sending it to payroll.



With the scheduling function, employers can put together schedules and shifts that factor in multiple employee criteria, such as skills, qualifications, or timing preferences. There are also varieties of WFM software that enable employees to trade shifts with colleagues or share their availability ahead of time.

ICN-Absence management

Absence management

Tracking leave requests is typically made easier with workforce management software. In certain types of solutions, it may also be possible to quickly see balances showing time off within the company and compare internal absence data to benchmarks within the industry.



Built-in dashboards can make scheduling and attendance data visible in real-time, allowing managers to act on potential issues before they turn into problems. It’s also possible to generate reports on the significant factors that show how a workforce is operating across a set period.

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Overtime management

Processes involved in managing overtime can be made simpler with WFM software. From the offer of overtime, to fair allocation and approving payments, this can all be handled with the technology. It’s also possible for employers to receive alerts if an employee is getting close to overtime, as well as signalling to employees if they’re attempting to work additional hours without approval.

ICN-Labour forecasting

Labour forecasting

Advanced software typically includes tools for labour forecasting, using data gathered from the business to inform predictions for the future. This functionality can support employers to be better prepared and plan for changes in customer demand, saving money from the potential overstaffing that can happen without forecasting. Certain software varieties allow modelling for specific situations, such as bank holidays, special occasions, and exceptional weather.

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Compliance support

Employers could use WFM software to help them comply with regulations. Certain solutions will allow personalisation for automated compliance to rules such as internal policies, laws around wages or working hours, plus union contracts. Systems can typically also record an audit trail of any changes or edits to timecards, which can be a useful feature in case of any disputes.

ICN-Mobile accessibility

Mobile accessibility

When workforce management software can be accessed using a mobile device, this enables managers to swiftly react to any shift changes such as someone calling in sick, for example. In this situation, even if an employer is far from their desk, they could use their tablet or smart phone to look for employees that might be available and make sure shifts have the best possible coverage.

How can workforce management software help improve an organisation?

Every workforce need within an organisation can be supported using a cutting-edge WFM solution, bringing benefits of greater productivity through to more accurate payroll.

Let’s look in more detail:

Managing costs

Costs can be better controlled by utilising the forecasting capacities of workforce management software, and the insights it provides regarding workforce needs. Unnecessary overtime as well as over and under staffing can all be avoided, therefore making savings. Leading-edge systems could even share how a schedule will equate to costs while it’s being planned.

Enhanced payroll accuracy

WFM software automatically records and evaluates hourly time and attendance and passes this information to the payroll system. The accuracy of a company’s payroll depends on the data it receives, and benefits greatly from automated information rather than manual entry and calculations, which could be affected by human error.

Heightened productivity

Workforce management software that’s enabled for mobile use empowers both managers and employees to carry out fundamental tasks such as timecard submission, request approval or shift swapping without a need to report to a physical location. It’s possible to maintain productivity and stay in a storefront or on a shop floor while still having the tools and information they need close by.

Smarter scheduling

Scheduling is made simpler and more optimal with WFM software that enables easy planning with filters by location, job role, skills, departments, or shift preferences. Some systems also allow for time-off balances to be accessed in real-time, making it possible to see potential coverage gaps and fill them right away.

Minimising compliance risk

The regulations that employers must adhere to change frequently, and cloud-based workforce management software helps by keeping companies up to date and connected; while global and local monitoring helps organisations align with regulation changes. Records that are automatically kept online also form a document trail in the case of an audit.

Valuable analytics

In addition to schedule, time and attendance analytics that empower decision making, some software varieties evaluate productivity of employees and the factors that affect engagement. It could be possible for an employer to compare their results against benchmarks within the industry to assess how they’re doing next to competitors.

Case study

Case Study: Helping with Celestica with workforce management software

Celestica delivers supply chain solutions for companies in a wide variety of industries, such as communication, aerospace, enterprise, and defence. Founded in Toronto, Canada, the company is now operating globally, and in Europe this includes Ireland, Spain, and Hungary. Their Senior Director of Global HR Solutions shared how making the transition to workforce management software was a great success for the organisation in all its locations.

The Challenges:

As part of the company’s transformation to enhance their service to customers, they assessed how well their existing technology supported this goal and recognised they were facing three chief challenges in terms of process:

  1. Recruiting more of the right people and giving the right onboarding experience. How could they quickly increase both their resources and new talent?
  2. The burden of repetitive data entry and manually processing paper versions of HR forms. How could they improve this process?
  3. Finally, how could they best equip themselves for the company’s journey of transformation?

The Outcomes:

Celestica partnered with ADP to implement GlobalView HR Central as their new solution for workforce management. Migrating 14 years of data covering 24 countries across to the ADP software took just over a year, and while there was some initial wariness among those employee groups impacted by changes, this altered once they recognised how useful the tools are, and how they can support the raising of skill sets. Here are some more of the benefits:

  • Paperless processes are saving Celestica 99,000 hours each year.
  • Elevated employer and employee self-service capacities.
  • The company now benefits from the SuccessFactors ™ Employee Central portal in-house across 24 countries.

"You need a partner who’s going to understand your core values and align with your objectives so they’re walking that journey with you. And you know when you hit a storm, they’re going to open an umbrella for you and protect you. We found that partner with ADP."

- Penny Cavener, Celestica, Senior Director of Global HR Solutions

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