What is Workforce Planning?

/ Workflow Automation, Workflow Management, Workflow Software

Workforce planning is exactly what it sounds like – forecasting your labour needs, so that you can ensure you have enough staff present on any given day – but as a technological solution it can save substantial amounts of staff pay, as well as vastly reducing your administrative burden.

The larger your organisation, the more difficult it can be to keep track of your entire workforce at once; do you appoint more managers, complete with their higher salary demands, or let each line manager bear the responsibility for a larger team?

Using modern-day workforce planning solutions, you don’t need to do either. Instead, you let the software take the strain of working out the workforce you need on any given day, and any immediate obstacles to meeting that demand.

SLAs and KPIs:

However you judge your performance – from service-level agreements to key performance indicators – workforce planning software is there to ensure you meet those targets.

Significantly, it can help you to ensure enough members of staff are in work on any given day to maintain the required standards, in spite of any absences due to varying reasons.

Common causes of staff absence could include:

• Scheduled holidays
• Unexpected absence (e.g. sickness)
• Long-term illness
• Maternity leave

There are also other reasons why you might not have the right staff in the office at any one time, such as variations in shift rotas, and employees with different skills levels and training.

Workforce planning smoothes out the bumps, ensuring that individuals with the right skills are scheduled such that their expertise is available to you at all times – even if one of those staff members chooses to take some annual leave.

Multi-Channel Workplaces:

Of course, in the 21st century, it is more complicated than was the case in the past – and a single contact centre might have enquiries coming in via telephone, text messaging, social media, email and live web chat, plus a few other technologies besides.

Workforce planning helps you to balance your employees across all of these channels, so all of your SLAs are met without having an undue surplus of talent in the room when it is not needed – which, although it might sound preferable, is not the most economical way to run your business.

Staffing Costs:

In terms of those staffing costs, workforce planning is as much about making sure you don’t have too many employees scheduled to work as it is about ensuring you have enough people in the room.

The specialist software carries out the calculations and minutiae of balancing the schedule for you, meeting your SLAs but with the potential to cut around a third off of your total expenditure on workforce wages.