A workforce manager is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all aspects of an organization’s workforce. This includes recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, scheduling, evaluating, and retaining employees. The workforce manager ensures that the organization has the right people in the right roles at the right time to meet business objectives.
What are the main duties of a workforce manager?
The main duties and responsibilities of a workforce manager typically include:
- Developing workforce plans and strategies aligned with the organization’s strategic goals
- Forecasting workforce needs and overseeing recruitment efforts to attract qualified candidates
- Overseeing the hiring process, including screening, interviewing, selecting, and onboarding new employees
- Managing employee relations issues, mediating disputes, and enforcing policies
- Implementing training and development programs to build employee skills and capabilities
- Analyzing workforce metrics and identifying opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity, and costs
- Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance related to employment, labor laws, health and safety regulations, etc.
- Managing the scheduling of employees, shifts, vacation time, and absences
- Overseeing performance management processes, including goal-setting, evaluations, coaching, and feedback
- Leading retention initiatives and fostering an engaging employee experience and positive workplace culture
What skills does a workforce manager need?
To be an effective workforce manager, core skills and competencies include:
- Strategic thinking – Ability to align workforce plans with overarching business strategy and vision
- Organizational skills – Able to manage multiple priorities and oversee various workforce processes efficiently
- Analytical skills – Aptitude for gathering and analyzing workforce data to derive insights and drive improvements
- Communication skills – Communicates clearly, transparently, and persuasively with diverse groups including leadership, employees, and HR team
- Relationship-building skills – Develops trust-based relationships with business leaders, employees, and key stakeholders
- Coaching skills – Provides supportive and constructive feedback to help employees develop capabilities and improve performance
- Problem-solving skills – Identifies issues impacting workforce and derives solutions to resolve challenges
- Collaboration skills – Works cooperatively with HR, managers, and employees to achieve optimal workforce outcomes
- Leadership skills – Drives workforce strategy, rallies organization around workforce objectives, and models desired behaviors
- Technological literacy – Leverages HR information systems, workforce analytics tools, and new technologies to gather workforce insights and improve operations
What is the workforce planning process?
Workforce planning is a strategic process used to align human capital needs with organizational objectives. The workforce planning process typically involves:
- Analyzing business strategy – Review business plans, initiatives, financials to understand strategic goals and direction
- Forecasting workforce demand – Project workforce numbers and skills mix needed to achieve strategic objectives
- Assessing workforce supply – Evaluate current workforce numbers, demographics, skills profiles, and anticipated departures
- Identifying workforce gaps – Determine gaps between projected workforce demand and existing workforce supply
- Developing workforce plans – Create specific plans and programs to address workforce gaps through recruitment, development, retention initiatives
- Implementing workforce strategy – Execute workforce plans while monitoring progress and adjusting as needed
- Evaluating and revising – Assess results to determine effectiveness and make revisions to continuously improve workforce planning
What are workforce analytics?
Workforce analytics refers to the practice of collecting and analyzing employee data to derive insights that can drive strategic workforce decisions. Workforce analytics may examine metrics such as:
- Headcount and demographics
- Recruiting costs and effectiveness
- Turnover and retention rates
- Absenteeism and overtime usage
- Performance ratings and talent bench strength
- Training program participation and outcomes
- Compensation benchmarks and equity analysis
- Employee engagement and satisfaction
Advanced analytics techniques such as predictive modeling, machine learning algorithms, and statistical analysis can help workforce managers identify opportunities to improve quality, productivity, costs, safety, retention, and other aspects of workforce management.
Benefits of Workforce Analytics
- Pinpoint root causes behind workforce challenges
- Forecast future hiring and staffing needs more precisely
- Identify top talent and predict attrition risks
- Assess training program effectiveness
- Uncover pay equity issues and optimize compensation budgets
- Boost workforce productivity and performance
What are some examples of KPIs for workforce management?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to evaluate the effectiveness of workforce management strategies and initiatives. Examples of workforce management KPIs include:
|Time to fill open positions
Cost per hire
Offer acceptance rate
New hire quality
High performer retention rate
|Training program completion rates
Training spend per employee
Internal promotion rate
|Percentage of employees rated “meets” or “exceeds expectations” in performance reviews
Percentage of high potential employees identified and developed
|Scores on employee engagement surveys
Participation in employee resource groups
By regularly tracking KPIs, workforce managers can monitor trends, identify potential issues, and assess the impact of workforce initiatives.
What are some examples of workforce management reports?
Workforce managers rely on data reports to provide visibility into the workforce and help guide strategic decisions. Examples of common workforce management reports include:
- Headcount reports – Details number of employees by department, function, manager, location, employment type (full-time, part-time, contractor).
- Recruiting pipeline report – Tracks open requisitions and status of candidates through hiring stages.
- Turnover report – Analyzes employee turnover by division, job type, tenure, demographics, exit reason.
- Performance analysis reports – Examines employee performance ratings across departments and roles.
- Succession planning reports – Provides overview of existing succession plans and bench strength for key roles.
- Compensation analysis reports – Benchmarks employee compensation against market and internal peers.
- Diversity reports – Breaks down workforce demographics to identify gaps or disparities.
- Retention risk reports – Uses data to predict flight risk for high performers.
- Labor cost reports – Tracks labor expense against budgets.
Automated reporting and workforce analytics systems allow managers to generate and distribute timely reports to enhance workforce visibility and support data-driven decision making.
What are some key roles in workforce management?
While the workforce manager leads strategy, there are other important roles that help execute various workforce management functions:
- HR business partner – Aligns HR initiatives with business needs and provides guidance on workforce issues.
- Recruiter – Oversees talent acquisition activities including posting openings, sourcing, interviewing, hiring.
- Compensation analyst – Develops and implements compensation policies, performs pay equity analysis.
- HR generalist – Interprets policies, handles employee relations issues, supports various HR programs.
- Learning and development manager – Creates employee learning programs including onboarding, training, leadership development.
- Diversity and inclusion lead – Cultivates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive employee experience.
- HR systems specialist – Manages HR information systems, workforce data, and reporting tools.
- Talent acquisition specialist – Focuses on recruiting high-volume or hard-to-fill roles.
What education is required to be a workforce manager?
The educational requirements for a workforce manager role typically include:
- Bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, organizational management, or related field.
- Master’s degree preferred, such as MBA or master’s in human resources management.
Some workforce managers have degrees in industrial-organizational psychology, labor relations, or analytics/data science. Certifications such as Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) are also common among workforce managers.
What are some examples of workforce management software?
Workforce management software helps organize and optimize employee data. Popular tools include:
- HR information systems (HRIS) – Centralize employee data for core HR records, payroll, compliance, analytics.
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS) – Manage job postings, applicant tracking, hiring workflow.
- Talent management systems – Enable performance management, learning management, succession planning.
- Workforce analytics – Provide analytics, dashboards, and reporting on workforce metrics.
- Scheduling/timekeeping – Automate schedule administration, time tracking, absentee management.
- Contingent workforce management – Track and manage temporary, contract, and gig workers.
Integrated HR technology suites are growing in popularity by combining this functionality into unified platforms.
What is the difference between workforce management and human resource management?
While workforce management and human resources management are related, there are some key differences:
|Human Resource Management
|Strategic focus on aligning workforce with business goals
|Operational focus on policies, programs, practices related to employees
|Macro-level focus on entire workforce
|Micro-level focus on individual employees
|Data-driven approach using workforce analytics
|Program implementation approach to HR practices
|Driven by business leaders and workforce planning team
|Driven by HR functional leaders and shared services
|Proactive and future-focused
|Reactive and present-focused
While differences exist, workforce management and HR management are interconnected. Aligning these capabilities creates organizations that optimize both strategy and operations.
What are the latest trends impacting workforce management?
Some notable trends influencing the field of workforce management include:
- Data analytics – Growing reliance on analytics, metrics, and people analytics to drive workforce strategy.
- Artificial intelligence – AI and machine learning enhancing efficiency of HR processes like recruiting and performance management.
- Flexible work – Rise in remote work, flexible schedules requiring new approaches to scheduling, productivity management.
- People focus – Greater emphasis on employee experience, belonging, wellbeing, and DEI.
- Skills-based hiring – Shift from pedigree-focused hiring to skills, capability, and culture-based hiring.
- On-demand labor – Expansion of gig workers requiring integrated contingent workforce management.
- Virtual/augmented reality – New technologies improving recruiting, onboarding, training, collaboration.
Leading organizations take a data-driven, human-centric approach to workforce management that embraces these trends while aligning with overarching strategy.
What does the future hold for workforce management?
The field of workforce management will continue evolving as trends like digitalization, data analytics, and agile organization design transform the workplace. Key developments on the horizon include:
- More integrated HR systems leveraging cloud, automation, self-service capabilities.
- Sophisticated analytics and predictive modeling driving workforce decisions.
- Rise of Chief Workforce Officer role overseeing future-of-work strategies.
- Increased personalization in engagement, development, rewards based on workforce analytics.
- Seamless blending of robotics, AI, bots, and human workers.
- Hyper-customized, skills-based development paths for each employee.
- Continuous re-skilling/upskilling workers augmented by AR/VR capabilities.
- Enterprise metaverse creating new modes of collaboration and learning.
While technology will enable many of these changes, human connections, ethics, and wellbeing will remain central to workforce management. Organizations that embrace both will create an engaged, high-performing workforce ready for the future.
Workforce management plays a critical strategic role in enabling organizational success. By taking a data-driven approach to optimizing their workforce, leaders can ensure they have the right people, skills, and capabilities to achieve business objectives. While workforce management leverages technology, ultimately it is focused on unlocking human potential within the organization. With strong workforce management capabilities guiding an organization’s most valuable asset – its people – the opportunities for future growth and innovation are limitless.