Strategic Workforce Planning: A Guide to Implementing Effective Workforce Management Software

February 20, 2024

by Malysa O’Connor


Effective workforce management is the cornerstone of operational success for any organization. At its core lies workforce planning, a strategic process incorporating labor budgeting and demand forecasting. We will explore why these elements are essential to a robust workforce management strategy. Integrating labor budgeting and demand forecasting empowers businesses to stay agile in a dynamic market landscape, from optimizing staffing levels to minimizing costs and maximizing productivity. By tapping into data-driven insights, you can avoid talent mismatches and gear up for future shifts in labor demand. Get the tools for intelligently automated schedules that align perfectly with customer traffic patterns. You’ll waste less time while saving more money.

Explore our guide to implementing workforce management software to enhance strategic workforce planning.

Key Points

  • Strategic workforce planning is crucial for aligning staff with business goals while anticipating future labor demands to prevent shortages or surpluses.
  • Data plays an essential role by providing insights into trends and skill gaps, allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing conditions.
  • An effective workforce management solution should include labor budgeting, demand forecasting, optimization tools, flexible scheduling options, and analytics capabilities—all integral components of Legion Workforce Management (WFM)— for strategic planning success.

Understanding Strategic Workforce Planning

Strategic workforce planning is a business’s roadmap to align its human capital with long-term goals. It’s about placing the right people in the right roles at the right time and hinges on data-driven insights.

A shocking 62% of hourly workers may leave their current jobs within a year, potentially disrupting operations for those who are unprepared. This stat underscores why companies must anticipate changes and plan accordingly.

Aligning Your Workforce and Business Objectives

First, you need to understand your business objectives clearly and then map out future needs based on these targets. Doing so helps you avoid reactive hiring—instead, you’re building a proactive talent pool that’s ready for what comes next.

Organizations need a workforce that can quickly adapt to evolving markets. They must forecast demand to avoid staff shortages or surpluses. Strategic planning makes sure your team scales up or down as needed.

Anticipate Future Workforce Needs and Mitigate Risks

No one wants to be caught off-guard when market conditions shift or unexpected events occur. By anticipating future needs through demand forecasting methods, you can build resilience into your staffing model.

If you anticipate needing more staff during peak seasons, you can hire temporary workers in advance instead of scrambling at the last minute, which often leads to rushed hiring decisions and a poor fit.

Or if there are periods when demand dips, forecasting these lulls will allow you time to implement strategies such as cross-training employees for other roles or scheduling unpaid leave.

With Legion WFM’s Demand Forecasting, you can manage your staffing levels effectively and ensure that each team member is fully utilized.

Labor Budgeting

Labor budgeting sits at the heart of strategic planning. It ensures financial resources are properly allocated for current and future labor costs. Using tools like Legion WFM enables managers to create budgets that reflect accurate labor projections rather than relying on guesswork.

This meticulous approach streamlines operations and clarifies decision-making processes related to staffing levels. As businesses evolve, so must their strategies around labor investment—and having robust workforce management software facilitates this essential flexibility.

The Role of Data and Workforce Management in Strategic Workforce Planning

Data is the compass that guides companies through the complex terrain of strategic workforce planning. By collecting and analyzing information, businesses can predict trends, pinpoint skill gaps, and make informed decisions that keep them ahead of the curve.

Workforce Segmentation

Dividing your workforce into specific segments, such as roles, locations, departments, and skill levels, allows for a more nuanced view.

This approach gives leaders insights into each segment’s unique needs and contributions to company goals. It also assists in creating the best schedules possible that fit the business’s and employees’ needs.

Our easy-to-use Automated Scheduling empowers your team leaders by saving time on administrative tasks so they can focus more on driving performance across their teams’ day-to-day activities.

A streamlined process lets them quickly adapt schedules when unexpected changes arise without causing disruption or confusion among staff members.

Long-Term Labor Budgeting

To steer clear of financial surprises down the road, long-term labor budgeting becomes crucial. It’s about ensuring you have a sustainable plan for paying your people—not just next month, but years from now.

In managing labor costs effectively, precise budgeting tools within workforce management software can be pivotal. These systems let you forecast staffing needs against financial constraints—helping you stay on track without compromising service quality or employee satisfaction.

The ability to adjust labor spend before it becomes an issue ensures that operations run smoothly while maintaining fiscal responsibility—a balance that drives both short-term performance and long-term growth.

Legion Labor Budgeting leverages sophisticated AI to generate precise labor budgets that form the foundation of your long-range planning. It leverages existing operational configurations such as operating hours, labor models, and average wage rates. It makes modeling what-if scenarios easy and ensures operational inputs ground your labor budget. With Labor Budgeting, you can increase operational efficiencies and create the perfect plan.

Budget planners can create and view labor budgets centrally at HQ or from the bottom-up at the field level. For example, you can enable districts to enter their operating hours, generate, and then submit their budget scenarios. Budget plan durations can be specified as a maximum 12-month planning period and up to 18 months in the future. When each region or district submits its budget for review, you can easily update inputs to create a top-down budget for all locations or roll up bottom-up budgets.

Demand Forecasting

Demand forecasting sharpens your ability to gauge staffing needs by channel or activity, ensuring you’re never understaffed or overstaffed. When you know what’s coming, you can better align your resources with customer demands.

Legion’s Demand Forecasting goes beyond simple predictions; it analyzes patterns to prepare for what’s next. By leveraging historical data and predictive algorithms, Legion WFM helps anticipate customer volume changes, allowing managers to staff up or down as needed proactively.

Legion WFM synthesizes historical and current information about how customers buy. Weather and local events are automatically syndicated and pre-integrated, so you don’t have to run complex calculations, pay high data fees, or use manual processes. External and customer event data are automatically used to train the ML models for the greatest accuracy. And you can integrate your unique staffing policies and local laws. Demand forecasting ensures you understand the impact of demand influencers by driver, channel, and location so you know exactly what type of labor you need every hour of every week.

This proactive approach means customers never face long waits because there are too few staff members during peak times—or conversely, employees aren’t idling during slow periods due to overstaffing.

Crafting Optimal Labor Plans

You need to create schedules that meet business requirements and respect employee preferences, a balancing act essential for retention in today’s job market.

Labor optimization technology digs into the details, identifying which skill sets are needed at any given moment. Highly accurate forecasts combined with optimized labor plans are used to automatically generate quality schedules that meet business requirements and employee needs.

Adaptability to Change

Last but certainly not least is adaptability, which is an organization’s superpower in an ever-changing business landscape. The correct data empowers quick pivots when unexpected shifts occur, whether it be consumer behavior or economic climate that changes, helping you stay agile no matter what comes your way.

Legion Strategic Insights enables intelligent automation to deliver deep insights and analysis needed to identify, monitor, and manage key trends for better operational decision-making.

With customizable reports and real-time dashboards, you can monitor trends, spot opportunities for improvement, and act on them swiftly. This data-driven approach elevates the decision-making process from guesswork to strategy. Strategic Insights provides rich, pre-built dashboards with schedule, cost, compliance, productivity, and engagement metrics.

Start Planning Your Workforce Management Strategy

Workforce planning, encompassing labor budgeting and demand forecasting is a critical component of a comprehensive workforce management strategy due to its pivotal role in aligning organizational resources with business objectives.

Legion WFM brings AI-powered solutions to help you nail your strategic workforce plan so that you can sync up business goals with staffing needs.

Legion Labor Budgeting enables businesses to allocate financial resources efficiently by forecasting and allocating costs associated with personnel expenses. Meanwhile, Legion Demand Forecasting anticipates fluctuations in workload and staffing requirements, ensuring that the right number of employees with the appropriate skills are available when needed. Organizations can optimize staffing levels, minimize labor costs, enhance productivity, and maintain high service quality by integrating labor budgeting and demand forecasting into workforce planning. This proactive approach enables businesses to adapt to changing market conditions, mitigate risks associated with understaffing or overstaffing, and ultimately achieve strategic goals while maximizing operational efficiency.

While change can be challenging for any organization, a well-planned rollout will make it easier to transition to newer technologies. And the benefits that come with Legion WFM are well worth the investment for the growth and success of your company. To learn more, schedule a demo now.