Workforce Management: Leverage HR Data For Smarter Decisions

Leverage HR data with workforce management
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

A Workforce Management system is critical if you want your business to grow. But many business owners are hesitant to dive in.

Why don’t more small business owners invest in Workforce Management? Some think it sounds too complicated. The reality is that running a business without it couldn’t be more complicated. It’s like trying to navigate an obstacle course in the dark.

Even in a small business, there are plenty of moving parts. And they could move a lot better with the right tools.

Is Your Business a Well-Oiled Machine? Why Not?

Without Workforce Management, you have problems on a daily basis. You might think these are par for the course—simply part of running a business.

Examples include:

  • Customers are ignored when too few employees are scheduled.
  • Weather slows production on a site and you need to relocate labor.
  • Managers waste time correcting timecard errors.
  • You’re not really sure where your mobile employees are during the day.
  • Payroll is higher than usual but you haven’t added anyone new.
  • Your HR staff spends lots of time responding to employee requests for basic information.

Every business has problems. Not every business is ready to handle them. If you want your business to run like a well-oiled machine, workforce management needs to be a top priority.

Workforce Management is Affordable

Another common misconception among business owners is that it’s just too expensive. Again, the opposite is true. Managing employee timekeeping, scheduling, and regulatory compliance is expensive without an automated system.

Workforce Management is also called Human Capital Optimization. When you optimize your workforce scientifically, your whole approach to running your business changes. Seemingly small changes can give you a big payback.

You don’t need to be a scientist or analytics wizard. A Workforce Management system does it for you. It gathers and presents the data to help you optimize everything in your company that involves your employees.

Workforce Management Saves Time

Does it sound time-consuming? It isn’t. A Workforce Management system saves everyone time. That includes you, your employees, your managers, your Human Resources staff, and even your customers.

It’s not even difficult to set up. Cloud-based software and browser-based login take minutes instead of days to set up. Automatic updates and new features mean you spend less time getting ready.

What is a Workforce Management System?

A Workforce Management system consists of hardware and software. The hardware could include some type of employee time clock to capture punches. Or the hardware could be limited to your employees’ personal mobile phones. Your company desktop computers could serve as the hardware for your system. All of these are effective, depending on your needs.

The software part of a Workforce Management system can be thought of as a combination of applications that work together. There is an application that records the employee punches. There is an application that lets you make employee schedules. These apps talk to each other.

When you set up your system, you enter all the necessary information for each employee. This will include their name and address, of course. But you will also enter their skills, certifications, and hours availability.

When you try to schedule an employee for a shift he/she can’t work, the system will alert you.

When a part-timer is scheduled for more than 40 hours in a week, you will get an alert.

This could have overtime or Affordable Care Act implications.

What is a Workforce Management Mentality?

Hardware and software are the nuts and bolts. More importantly, Workforce Management is a different mental approach to running your business.

“Employers should recognize that workforce management is not a set of back-office activities. Workforce management is driving the business by intelligently designing and executing what people do based on a balance of what is good for all: the business, workers and customers. How we execute drives important outcomes for each of these parties: cost and income, workability and quality.” – Workforce Management Expert Lisa Disselkamp (Deloitte Consulting)

You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

If you are a small business owner still using manual processes to manage your employees, you are in a great position. Why? You can improve your business significantly with a Workforce Management system. Hidden benefits are just waiting to be discovered.

I’m not just talking about money. You will almost certainly increase your profit margin. A Workforce Management system will improve your operations on every level. In addition to making more money, you will enjoy your job a lot more. The same goes for your employees.

How to Use Workforce Analytics to Grow Your Business

  1. Capture data about your workforce
  2. Analyze the data
  3. Make changes to improve operations
  4. Assess whether the changes were effective
  5. Adjust as necessary
  6. Rinse and repeat

This process is especially important when your company has made a change. Perhaps you just opened a new location or started offering a new product. Maybe your city or state just passed a new sick leave or predictive scheduling law. All of these events require adjustments in how you manage employees.

Let’s look at how automated Workforce Management helps your business.

If It Can’t Be Measured…

Workforce Management systems capture strategic data. This data is gold. Let’s look at what it can tell you:

Absences, Tardies, Time Theft:

  • How many employees are habitually tardy?
  • Which employees repeatedly clock in a few minutes early?
  • Who reports significantly more work time than others?
  • How are unscheduled absences affecting production or customer service?

Mobile or Offsite Staff:

  • Are my employees where they should be?
  • Are they as productive as onsite personnel?

Over- and Understaffing:

  • Which shifts are understaffed?
  • How does this impact production, workflow, customer service?
  • Are employees wasting time because there are too many employees scheduled?


  • Which teams accrue the most overtime?
  • Is there more overtime for specific shifts, teams, or employees?

Team Allocation:

  • Which teams are most effective?
  • Do some employees work better together?

Admin Time:

  • How long does it take to do payroll?
  • How much time does each employee spend filling out a timecard?
  • How much time do my managers spend correcting timecard errors?
  • How much time does everyone spend coordinating shift changes?

Leverage Your HR Data

Workforce Management makes you more productive. It also lowers your payroll costs. An oft-ignored benefit is improved employee morale.

The data you can get from your workforce management system will help you streamline your processes. It will also help you make better decisions. Companies that leverage HR data are more likely to react to problems before they get out of control.

Save Money by Retaining Employees

It costs about 16% of annual salary to replace an employee earning less than $50,000/year. For a $20k employee, that’s $3200. These numbers come from the Center for American Progress.

Why do employees quit? Inflexible scheduling is a huge factor. A Workforce Management system helps you make schedules so your employees succeed at work and at home.

Another frustration is difficulty accessing basic information. Workforce Management systems have self-service portals that provide 24/7 access to timecard, schedule, and accruals information. Employees are happier and they spend less work time trying to get information from the HR department. When employees can focus on serving customers, everybody wins.

Reduce Overtime

Employers with hourly workers are ever-mindful of expensive overtime. Manual systems don’t alert you when an employee or entire crew is approaching overtime. For some businesses, overtime management is the motivating factor for implementing Workforce Management.

Optimize Resource Allocation

Workforce Management systems have job codes that can be assigned to all the key variables: employees, teams, clients, or projects. When you can look at production data in a graph, you will have plenty of “aha” moments. Finally, you’ll understand your obstacles—and how to overcome them.

Real-time Oversight

When managers have all the workforce information centralized, they can prevent problems. A warehouse foreman can send a group text with a mouse click when a shipment is late. A restaurant manager can find a replacement fast if a server calls in sick.

Stop Worrying About Compliance

Complying with labor laws requires vigilant recordkeeping and document management. Workforce Management systems simplify compliance for every industry. There are tools for overtime, Affordable Care Act (ACA), sick leave, Payroll Based Journal (PBJ), and fair scheduling.

Systems can be customized for union contracts and regulations that affect seasonal workers.

A Workforce Management system is your strongest protection in case of an audit or labor dispute.

We Take The Mystery Out of HR Data Mining

Swipeclock Workforce Management systems take the mystery out of workforce data mining. For more information about our solutions, see Swipeclock for Small Business.

About Swipeclock

Swipeclock is a leading provider of simple and affordable integrated workforce management services that provide intuitive employee access to integrated automated time and attendance, scheduling, leave management, HR dashboards, and other HR resources.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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