Inefficient processes can not only bog down a business's workflow, but significantly impact customer service and the bottom line as well.
By striving towards workforce optimization, companies can improve their internal operations to reduce costs, streamline daily tasks, and promote profitability. However, there are many elements to consider before delving into a workforce optimization project.
What is Workforce Optimization?
Workforce optimization (WFO) is a collection of business strategies aimed towards improving employee and operational efficiency. This may include customer satisfaction, services, scheduling, operating costs, and other essential processes. By optimizing the workforce, companies can consistently receive the maximum benefit from employees and systems.
In other words, WFO is a combination of strategy with tools and applications to execute the plan of action. It enables a business to maintain efficiency as they expand and add more operations.
To achieve optimization, businesses must monitor an operation to determine exactly how their employees and internal processes work and understand how to leverage their skills. This enables management to create an effective strategy utilizing the company's strengths.
WFO is all about using information to work smarter instead of harder. By using the right internal and external sources, companies can use data to develop more effective plans.
Many organizations utilize optimization solutions, such as forecasting models, to collect real-time data, automate processes, and optimize operations. By automating repetitive tasks, such as recordkeeping, companies can eliminate human errors, enhance data sharing, and streamline decision-making.
For complete WFO, many businesses integrate all of their internal systems, such as inventory and point-of-sale (POS) software, to access real-time metrics and monitor workflow.
The industries that commonly adopt WFO include retail, manufacturing, and financial services. However, every business can benefit from optimizing their workforce to enhance productivity.
Benefits of Workforce Optimization
WFO has the power to improve a business's overall performance, productivity, and profitability. Specifically, companies typically optimize processes to-
Customer satisfaction and business success are directly proportional, meaning when one improves, so does the other. Therefore, optimizing processes to meet the fluctuating demand increases customer satisfaction and improves retention rates. Over time, this can significantly impact profitability and advocacy.
WFO also considers local, state, and federal compliance regulations. This helps companies avoid any penalties and legal repercussions for failing to abide by statutes, regulations, and ordinances. Within business, companies must remain compliant with payroll, overtime, and employment laws.
Labor costs are among the most significant expenses businesses incur. However, with WFO, companies can gain a better view and control over employee activities and operational costs.
This enables management to formulate more efficient procedures to reduce labor costs and promote the bottom line.
- Enhance Productivity and Efficiency
Maintaining maximum productivity and efficiency is challenging for many businesses. However, WFO simplifies this task by utilizing analytics
and insights to shed light on how operations run on a daily, monthly, and annual basis.
By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), organizations can make adjustments to processes and monitor improvements to boost productivity.
How to Optimize the Workforce
WFO is a significant element in a company's overall performance and success. However, there are many approaches to reach optimization, such as-
1. Considering the Customer Perspective
It is important to remember that WFO doesn't just focus on internal processes, it considers multiple factors, especially customer satisfaction. By viewing business operations through the consumer's lens, management can identify inconveniences, inefficiencies, and issues.
Gaining a customer's perspective of the shopping experience helps companies determine how they can improve themselves. It also gives consumers the opportunity to provide feedback and honest reviews.
Management may find their customer support systems to be outdated, inefficient, and unimpactful.
Therefore, companies should take the time to perform a customer experience audit to discover how they can work towards WFO.
2. Prioritizing Time Management and Attendance Tracking
With employee management software, businesses can gain a full picture of employee attendance, payroll, and overtime to optimize workflow. Manual processes such as clocking-in and human resources are time-consuming and increase the risk of human error.
Optimization software not only streamlines daily procedures, such as clocking-in and activity tracking, it also promotes employee accountability. This way, employees will not be able to have peers punch in for them when they are running late or absent. It also monitors all employee activity, so management can determine which employees were working when cash or merchandise goes missing.
3. Using Scheduling Software
Attendance tracking also enables management to enhance scheduling strategies so busy shifts aren't understaffed, leaving coverage gaps. With scheduling and labor forecasting software, organizations can reduce overlap and close coverage gaps, improving customer service.
This automation saves the time and labor required for manual scheduling. Software provides a universal interface that enables employees and managers to handle time-off requests, attendance, payroll, and scheduling.
Forecast-based scheduling software also stores employee information such as KPIs, sales data, and other metrics. This enables management to schedule qualified employees for the necessary tasks and shifts.
4. Tracking Performance
Tracking tools monitor employee performance to gauge their overall productivity, strengths, and weaknesses.
This enables management to determine top performers and which workers struggle to meet their daily quota. Employees that show consistent inadequate performance can be offered additional training or a different position to promote WFO.