What is Workforce Management?

This post explains what workforce management is and the purpose of workforce management software. It can be said that an organization only operates as well as its staff, and proper workforce management is crucial to staff performance.

What is Workforce Management?

A general and broad term, workforce management (WFM) is a set of concepts such as supplier management, employee empowerment, skills management, scheduling, attendance and timekeeping, and forecasting, that, when properly designed and implemented, enable an organization to maximize the productivity and performance of their staff. 

These best practices revolve around handling and communicating with staff to ensure they know what is expected of them and that they find value in their work.  

Here, Gameplan discusses exactly what workforce management is, why it is so important in any industry – particularly in the hospitality and events sectors, and how you can optimize your workforce management to get the best from your employees.

Why should I care about workforce management?
What factors must I consider if I am to effectively manage my workforce?
Supplier Management | Forecasting | Scheduling | Skills Management | Attendance and timekeeping | Employee empowerment
What tools are available for effective workforce management?

Why should I care about workforce management?

Some may find it shocking, but in an industry such as hospitality, where staff and customer contact is one of the main factors influencing customer satisfaction, thus revenue, one in three hospitality staff are not satisfied in their work.     

Managing an organization, company, or business takes constant insight and reflection, and it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. Simply put, the goal of any enterprise is to provide a worthwhile service with efficiency so that customers are happy, and stakeholders generate a profit through the business.   

Studies have repeatedly shown that a crucial factor in making customers happy is to first ensure employees are happy at work

When an employee is fully engaged in their work and carries a positive working attitude, that mindset will organically affect their customer relationships. Satisfied employees consistently deliver high-quality service, which means happier, more loyal customers.  

A satisfied, thus a well-managed hospitality team, is composed of employees who have transparent and hassle-free shift allocation, have a clear idea of what is expected of them, believe in the value of their work, and feel that their efforts are appreciated.

Such a level of employee satisfaction can only be obtained with proper workforce management.

What factors must I consider if I am to effectively manage my workforce?

The fundamental concepts of workforce management, necessary to create a satisfied, productive team of staff in the modern hospitality industry, include; 

  • Supplier management 
  • Forecasting
  • Scheduling
  • Skills management
  • Attendance and timekeeping
  • Employee empowerment 

Once executives get a clear idea of these factors, they can begin to design and implement protocols and best practices that capitalize on the strengths of specific individuals. 

Managers can make informed decisions about staffing composition, numbers, and offer incentives and rewards for employee excellence.

Supplier Management

As the modern labour force evolves, it is moving away from traditional contract-based employment towards a ‘gig economy’ or contingent workforce market. Handling a team of contingent staff, particularly through supplier agencies, is an increasingly important factor for organizations hoping to optimize their staff. 

Over the last decade, the contingent workforce market has more than doubled. This tremendous rise in staff working on a temporary, as-needed basis offers the hospitality and events industry great staffing potential but also presents new staff management challenges.  

While a contingent workforce offers great flexibility in terms of volume and handling seasonal fluctuations, coordinating and communicating with such a team also adds an additional layer of potential problems in WFM to the organizational operation.

Facility managers need to source hundreds, if not thousands of staff, from multiple supplying agencies to effectively run an event. Staff roles and suppliers include; 

  • Bartenders
  • Waiters
  • Kitchen staff
  • Security
  • Construction
  • Technicians
  • Cleaners

To effectively manage such a large, diverse team, organizational operations must be in constant communication with their staffing agencies. They must constantly update job vacancies, remaining open roles, inform staff with current information on shift times, locations, and other special requirements such as uniform policy.   

Fortunately for operators, modern integrated workforce management software provides a platform to facilitate precisely this.


Effective staff handling also requires managers knowing how many staff they will need. This, of course, depends on the number of customers they are expecting, and what those customers want or can expect from the service. 

Proper workforce management requires accurate predicting of the type and volume of work necessary to meet the expectations of customers at any given time. 

Forecasting requires experience and practice. The process can be simplified with AI and tools such as integrated workforce management software, programs capable of recording operational data and predicting future staffing requirements.


Proper scheduling can only be done with accurate forecasting, but assigning the correct number of employees to different tasks is a critical aspect of workforce management. 

By allowing employees and managers to see who is scheduled to work which shift, everybody involved in the organization, event, or nights’ work gets a clear idea of what to expect from their shift. 

This minimizes any confusion regarding the team structure during the shift and is the foundation for a well-managed workforce during any particular hospitality event – no matter if single or multi-day.  

Integrated workforce management software provides a seamless platform for managers to assign, review, and change shifts for all different types of workers, and for employees to be able to book working hours, keep a real-time check on potential shift reallocations, and to track their shift start and end times.

Skills Management

Each individual involved in an organization brings different skills and experience. Effective workforce management means using each individual employee to their highest potential, and this can only be done with skills management. 

By assigning employees roles that are challenging, but allowing them to excel in that role, managers can use proper skills management to consistently improve the performance of their employees and maintain job satisfaction.   

Workforce management software, such as Gameplans’ platform, keeps a history of the roles performed by each individual employee. This empowers managers to choose and assign experienced employees to ensure each task is carried out optimally by an experienced staff member.

Attendance and Timekeeping 

Particularly when running large hospitality operations, such as catering to thousands of guests, musical festivals, or sporting events, accurately tracking hours worked, calculating overtime, and knowing who missed a shift or finished early can be nearly impossible. 

Staff become unhappy when they are not adequately rewarded for their work, over-rewarding team members, leads to dissatisfied employees and can eat into profits. 

Proper workforce management can minimize if not eliminate any time theft and reduces unnecessary direct costs with running an event associated with poor attendance and time-keeping. Using integrated workforce management software, attendance and timekeeping can easily be streamlined, providing real-time reliable records of the attendance and whereabouts of every employee in the system.

Employee Empowerment 

Stagnation, and feeling unappreciated in the workplace, are two of the leading factors contributing to employee unhappiness. 

This stems from a lack of employee empowerment and engagement.

Managers who effectively manage their staff ensure that their employees all realize the importance of their role to the function of the company and that they are given responsibility, and feel like they are trusted to carry out their best work possible. 

Workforce management software should include an interface where managers can directly communicate with employees and offer encouragement and thanks where needed, to show employees that their work is appreciated and empower them to carry a high working moral.

Another employee-empowering benefit of WFM software is offering staff the chance to voice any concerns and provide feedback to their managers – either anonymously or directly.

What tools are available for effective workforce management?

In the past, that tools managers have required for effective staff management have included ledgers, timetables, records, customer feedback forms – inherently, an incredible amount of paperwork. It may be surprising to hear that some of the major players in the field still depend on excel spreadsheets.

One of the, if not the most effective tool, available to managers for handling their staff efficiently is integrated workforce management software. 

As we have seen, a centralized, intuitive, seamless platform that facilitates communication between management, staff, and suppliers, is one of the best ways to monitor and optimize the principles driving proper workforce management.

Particularly when handling a large number of staff from a variety of sources, over different venues, at various times over a long time period, integrated workforce management software makes staff handling easy and effective, which directly correlates to happy employees, which directly relates to satisfied customers, which means more profit for the organization.

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Learn more about Gameplan and how we can help your business.