As workforce composition and practices evolve in complexity, managing their impact on business success has become a key challenge for enterprises of all shapes and sizes.
The reality is that your employees are a major asset and a competitive advantage that determines the growth and sustainability of your company. Therefore, workforce optimization is a critical aspect you can’t afford to overlook or shelve for a later, more convenient time. If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, keep reading to learn more.
What Is Workforce Optimization?
In simple terms, workforce optimization is the process of improving the efficiency and productivity of your employees.
Why is this important? Imagine having a highly efficient team performing at their optimum level. In such a scenario, you get to maintain the right number of employees and deploy them in the most productive way possible. This will yield massive cost savings since you’re no longer running an overstaffed and inefficient organization.
On the other hand, you also get to eliminate the common downsides of an understaffed operation—from high levels of mistakes and errors to staff demotivation, dissatisfaction, and attrition.
When employees are happy and motivated, they’re naturally more inclined to work harder. As a result, customers receive a better service experience and your business can compete more effectively and grow faster. Ultimately, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.
So, what is the best way to optimize your human capital? Let’s explore that next.
Workforce Optimization: Strategies You Must Adopt
Businesses can devise workforce optimization strategies for various functions, from sales and marketing to manufacturing, finance, and procurement. While the tactical steps required might depend on the processes, employees, and goals of each of those departments, the fundamental approach you must take to achieve optimum efficiency and productivity will still remain the same.
1. Work Scheduling
Assigning the right employee at the right time for a specific task is a critical part of workforce optimization.
To understand why this is important, consider for a moment the impact of entrusting a particular task to someone who doesn’t have the necessary skills to complete it. What would be the result? Delivering the output could take a longer time. It could have more mistakes, and the final work may not even meet the intended objectives. In the end, the employee, their team, and the manager could all be left feeling frustrated.
But when you understand your employees’ skills, talents, and expertise, you can match tasks to the right person and ensure a high-quality outcome.
Defining the work requirements and the expected output and taking a big-picture perspective of the overall operations are also essential for effective scheduling. For example, if you’re assigning work on a shift basis, you must avoid allocating back-to-back shifts to the same employee. This is vital for preventing fatigue, errors, and accidents, which can impede workplace productivity in the long term.
Integrating time-tracking mechanisms is another factor to take into account. It allows you to get a deeper understanding of time utilization by each employee and per task so you can devise strategies to achieve greater efficiency.
2. Employee Engagement
According to a Gallup study, teams that are less engaged encounter 18-43% higher turnover than their highly engaged counterparts. Further studies indicate that employee engagement can have a direct impact on productivity, work quality, absenteeism, safety incidents, customer loyalty, cost, and profitability.
The importance of engaging your workforce needs no more evidence. Social events, team-building exercises, and rewards and recognition initiatives are crucial components to include in your engagement plan. Paid time off, a safe work environment, health benefits, and remote or hybrid work models can be equally beneficial.
3. Technology Integrations
Today, a range of advanced tools and resources are at your disposal to improve employee efficiency and performance.
These can allow you to automate repetitive or less value-adding tasks, freeing up your team’s time for more critical functions. They can also help streamline processes, introducing significant efficiencies.
Importantly, technology integrations can give you access to real-time data, enabling you to track tasks and processes with precision, improve employee performance, monitor costs, and deliver an enhanced customer experience.
Here are some of the essential products to include in your tech stack:
This software provides tools for time tracking, workforce management, analytics, and reporting. Features include employee scheduling, work order management, overtime tracking, online timesheets, and more.
From customer center automation and customer journey management to workforce engagement, the solutions offered by Genesys leverage artificial intelligence and other technology to provide an effectively streamlined experience for both your employees and customers.
Zapier specializes in automating workflows with no-code customizations. You also get to integrate popular apps, from Google Drive and HubSpot to Notion, Trello, and Calendly, for greater workflow efficiency.
This is an excellent tool for project management, which allows cross-functional teams to work together, setting goals, managing tasks, and reporting progress on a single dashboard. It also offers tools to create workflows, integrate automation, manage resources, track time, and perform various other critical activities for workforce optimization.
Leadar is an essential free tool to find accurate and verified contact data. Its database of over 110 million people can help your HR teams find talent in pre-defined industries and allow sales teams to search for high-quality leads based on customer profile criteria.
Seamless communication among teams is vital for collaboration and optimized performance. And that is precisely what Slack offers, with tools for audio and video huddles and instant messaging and dedicated channels for organizing conversations.
This is a useful solution for managing your business expenses on a single interface to keep track of revenue and costs across the organization, saving time and money.
4. Regular Staff Training
By supporting your employees’ skill development, you can help them improve their performance and achieve greater productivity.
Besides, investing in your existing staff’s learning and development is a far more prudent strategy than hiring new ones.
You can use workshops and training sessions to bridge gaps identified through periodic performance reviews and skill assessments. Enhancing skills and knowledge is also important during process improvements and technology integration.
By optimizing your workforce, you can achieve improved efficiency and productivity, which ultimately translate to a better-performing and highly motivated team, happy and satisfied customers, reduced costs, and increased business performance.
To implement workforce optimization in your organization, devise strategies for effective work scheduling, employee engagement, tech integration, and staff training.