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Workforce Management (WFM)

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Apr 17, 2024
Workforce Management
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Workforce Management


The term workforce management (WFM) refers to a set of techniques or an institutional process designed to improve efficiency, allocate resources, manage schedules, maximize competency, and forecast workloads. Additionally, workforce management offers valuable analytical insights and can be used to expedite an employee scheduling process. 


In short, employers use workforce management to direct employees to be where they need to be at specific times to maximize productivity and reduce risks. WFM is a top-down approach that begins with leadership teams defining and creating strategic goals that will give businesses clear direction for how decisions will be made in the future. 


The WFM concept began in the 1980s in call centers as a way for companies to improve efficiency and consistency. Since then, it has expanded into many different industries. 


With workforce management, a company can identify its top priorities and anticipate the challenges that come with human capital (employees). With this knowledge, leaders and managers can take steps to maintain efficiency and mitigate liabilities. 


A standard WFM strategy can include the following: 


  • Field service management (FSM): FSM is the management of company resources located on client property instead of company property. 

  • Performance management: With performance management, managers can ensure that employee activity and output are on track to help the organization meet its goals. 

  • Absence management: Employers can use a WFM system to manage absences due to employee use of paid time off (PTO) or extended leaves granted under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

  • Budgeting efforts: A WFM strategy can be used to determine how to plan and use the organization’s monetary resources for internal and external projects. 

  • Recruiting efforts: WFM systems help with the recruitment, shortlisting, interviewing, selecting, and hiring processes. 

  • Overtime management: If an employee’s hours are close to overtime, a WFM system will help managers stay on top of this, allowing employers to allocate overtime fairly and reduce excessive payroll costs. 

  • Labor forecasting: Most companies know when a reduction in sales or revenue is coming. Used in workforce management, companies can plan for this to conserve resources. 

  • Scheduling: Employers can select employees based on various criteria, including skills, experience, and preferences. With this system, employees can also easily exchange shifts with each other or share their availability to avoid coverage gaps. 




If a company experiences fluctuations in consumer demand because of inclement weather, seasonal issues, or holidays, the company can employ workforce management strategies to plan for these scenarios. With WFM, employers can model these scenarios and anticipate the issues that can lead to understaffing or overstaffing. 


Related Terms

Project Management

is the discipline of applying specific principles and processes to initiate, plan, manage, and execute how changes or new initiatives are implemented. Project management usually involves leading a team through the processes that will achieve the goals of a project within specific constraints.

Project Workforce Management

refers to the practice of managing all of a project or organization’s logistic aspects through a workflow engine or software application. This can include the overall management of tracking and planning schedules, resource allocation, revenue, and cost.

Strategic Service Management (SSM)

uses a business strategy to optimize the service a company provides to customers after the sale. SSMs synchronize workforce technicians, service partners, and resource forecasting.

Workforce Optimization

is a set of processes and strategies companies can use to maximize the productivity, efficiency, and quality of their workers. Workforce optimization will allow a company to perform at the highest possible level.

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