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The History of Workforce Management

Workforce management (WFM) solutions are increasingly being used to make smart decisions to deal with change. With innovations in technology, workforce management solutions can now support and augment the business intelligence of the companies

In every organization, the human resource (HR) department is constantly involved in dealing with change; from personnel to regulations and expectations. Workforce management (WFM) solutions are increasingly being used to make smart HR decisions to deal with change. Many organizations use payroll, benefits administration HR management system and service delivery functions. With innovations in technology, workforce management solutions can now support and augment the business intelligence of the HR function. This detaches the HR professionals to concentrate on other core activities, while software paves way for sophisticated transaction processing and service delivery.

Today, it is easy to find some companies that still have the manual and decentralized process. WFM of the previous era greatly impacted the consistency and quality of customer service, and control over labor costs and compliance. With the various departments in the organization such as merchandising, production, and marketing using different communication tools, it is easy to have mismanaged data and clutter.

WFM systems today not only are used for time and attendance but also facilitate scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM), payroll and benefits, career and succession planning, workload planning and more. These solutions are on-demand and on-premise. All the steps in the employee lifecycle, from recruitment to hiring, from task management to retention, are the minute details of the management software. When these are handled properly, companies can not only drive labor costs down, but at the same time push productivity and customer satisfaction in the positive direction.

A few areas where workforce management has created an impact include:

Time and Attendance

In the early years, time clocks also known as a punch clock, clock card machine or time recorder, were used for tracking the number of hours an employee worked in a company. Using the mechanical time clock, employees would dial in their employee numbers and their entry and exit time along with the date, and these were printed on the timesheet. This information was used to calculate the number of hours an employee worked each day, along with the employee’s pay. Today, time and attendance information is noted through automated data collection methods, from advanced biometric time clocks to web entry solutions that can be customized for specific workplaces.

Leave and Absence Management

Previously, employee absence and leave were handled by an internal team, reserved for leave administration or outsourced to a vendor specializing in such services. But now, advanced WFM systems have the capabilities of aiding the HR in leave determination, employee availability and other related functions. This not only serves as an efficient and cost-effective method of internal absence management, but also produces trend reports and analytics.

Forecasting and Scheduling

Employee fatigue is an important concern that can affect the productivity of the workforce, because it would cause employees to commit mistakes, be stressed and even result in employee turnover. With a WFM system that considers forecasting and scheduling, HR can provide decision support so that work can be planned for a well-rested workforce. Thus, a scheduling system that takes into account shift schedules and employee skills is an innovation in today’s WFM system.


WFM technology aims to create a balance between the available organizational resources and requirements, so that a high level of customer service is achieved with low staffing expenses. Workforce management (WFM) software is more than traditional forecasting and scheduling and has evolved into areas that have a significant impact on your business: employee self-services, training management, performance management, HR administrationBusiness Management Articles, payroll and benefits and more. WFM tools can be applied to both onsite and offsite locations and on all types of employee categories. 

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To read more about Workforce Management visit the NICE Systems website

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