Workforce Planning Software: How to Put Your HR Data to Work
Workforce planning is the process of planning for current and future employment needs. If a company was preparing to launch a new product, its HR team would need to identify the capabilities of its existing team, the additional skill sets required, and whether any other staff would be necessary for a successful launch.
Traditionally, headcount forecasting and other workforce planning systems were manual and mundane. Enter technology to save the day. With workforce planning software (WPS), the efficiency, accuracy, and productivity of strategic workforce planning are greatly improved.
Here’s how and why getting the right management software can help you optimize your human capital.
What is Workforce Planning Software?
Managing a company’s human resources is no small feat. From the onboarding process to tracking attendance, timekeeping, shift scheduling, and behind-the-scenes functions such as labor compliance: HR managers can face an endless sea of paperwork.
Strategic workforce planning software automates all the aforementioned tasks and more. Programs use data to analyze the current capabilities as well as the future needs of a company’s personnel.
A workforce planning tool can be used to forecast staffing scenarios as well as optimize current headcount, plan budget changes and their effects, gain insights on employee and business performance, and more. All of these functions can occur on a centralized platform that enables all stakeholders—finance, management, HR, and others—to collaborate.
Why is Workforce Planning Software Important?
Workforce planning models are geared towards making sure the business always has the headcount it needs. This is a huge benefit but not the only reason one should invest in strategic workforce planning tools.
Many businesses lose money from not having the right kind of person on the job or not having enough personnel when needed. Using the example of a company’s product launch: A shortage of staff to handle a sudden uptick in demand for the new product could mean lost revenue and possibly poor brand image.
On the other hand, a bloated team means a heavier—unnecessary— financial load on the company. Headcount management software helps the business avoid both of these scenarios.
Workforce planning involves attendance, timekeeping, shift scheduling, and more, all of which require an outstanding commitment of time and energy. Workforce software allows HR managers to direct their efforts to more significant activities that ensure operations run smoothly.
Reduced Margin of Error
Using software to handle processes that would otherwise have involved combing through spreadsheets and other inefficient forms of paperwork dramatically reduces the chances for errors, some of which could have significant consequences.
Improves Employee Morale
WPS allows employers to introduce self-service tools such as time-tracking and attendance reporting. It also helps HR correctly record leave time and employee schedules. These features have been shown to improve employee morale, which positively affects engagement, productivity, and retention.
Compliance-related features of workforce software ensure companies hire the right people and comply with all necessary federal, state, and local labor or union laws.
Pros and Cons of Workforce Planning Software
We’ve taken a look at many of the advantages of workforce planning software, including:
- Increased collaboration.
- Reliability and efficiency.
- Time-saving automation.
- Data analytics and insights.
However, like all technology, there are some considerations that could be an inconvenience or disadvantage at worst:
Software is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
For a company to reap the benefits of WPS, it has to select and integrate a tool most suited to its needs. Unfortunately, building software from the ground up is prohibitively expensive for many businesses. Unless a company uses a provider who customizes the software to its unique specifications, they are forced to use a tool that doesn’t fit their needs.
There is Still Need for Human Intervention
As advanced as technology may be, WPS cannot handle some processes autonomously. Especially where decisions are concerned, HR managers can only rely on software for data and insights.
Requires Continuous Optimization
As a company changes and evolves, so will its staffing requirements. With this growth and change comes the need to update or adjust workplace software.
Workforce Planning Software Applications
WPS software can be integrated into already-existing HR tools or come as stand-alone programs incorporating everything a business needs. A full spectrum workforce planning tool will include features such as:
- A mobile portal for employees
- Time tracking
- Employee scheduling
- Payroll processing
- Staff analytics and reporting
- People and performance tracking
- Communication features
- Automation of approvals
How do I know which workforce planning tool is best for my business?
It is always best to do your research before you approach vendors. Looking at what tools others in your industry use can help narrow down the options for you. Once you choose the vendors to approach, request a demo for your business.
Can I replace some of my existing tools with new software?
Yes. Depending on your human resource needs, workplace software can usually be integrated into a more extensive management tool you may already be using. This means you can pick and choose which features you require.
How will workplace planning solutions fit into the rest of my technology?
Workplace software usually comes with the ability to integrate with other business tools. Ask your vendor about any integrations you may need.
Workforce planning means continuously monitoring and anticipating changes to your business and staff. Like an exemplary executive who knows how vital their workforce is to business success, Synario connects your key drivers directly to a prospective view of your financial future. Contact us to learn more about how we can develop financial modeling technology that helps you identify opportunities and mitigate challenges.