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Workforce Management Systems: 7 Tools (and How to Use Them)

Learn about workforce management systems and how to implement them. We cover seven of the best tools and implementation tips.

Jared Posey
Writer at Motion
May 31, 2024
Table of contents

Implementing a new workforce management system (WFM) can be a transformative move.

However, the challenge is finding the right system and making sure you implement it wisely.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know for success. Not only do we provide a list of the seven best WFMs available today, but we also offer a breakdown of these systems and how to integrate them into your organization.

Lastly, we consider if there are any relevant alternatives and how to make the right choice for your team.

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What is a WFM system?

WFM involves scheduling, planning, and managing employees for optimal productivity and efficiency.

A WFM system is software that helps achieve these objectives. It automates employee scheduling, tracks attendance, and analyzes workforce data.

WFM systems primarily do the following two things:

  1. Streamline planning
  2. Allocate resources effectively

Consider a retail company with multiple stores. Each location had different peak hours and staffing needs. By using a WFM solution, they find the right balance for each store and its labor costs. A time-tracking feature provides data for analysis and payroll, and an analytics function opens up insights into labor costs.

What does a WFM system do?

This type of software manages many crucial functions, such as:

  • Employee scheduling
  • Calendar syncing
  • Performance reporting
  • Task management

These systems are quite sophisticated. Plus, with the addition of AI, they can generate predictive analytics and automate somewhat complex tasks.

For example, a WFM system can handle nuanced processes, such as payroll and benefits administration.

Payroll being automated through software

‎This software often includes integrated communication tools that facilitate everything from schedule changes to company-wide announcements.

Some systems also monitor compliance with regulations around the number of hours worked or mandatory breaks. Not only do these things help meet legal standards, but they also protect employee well-being.

Finally, WFM systems offer analytics for decision-making. That way, when making decisions for your team, you’re not shooting in the dark.

Handling all these aspects of workforce management in one place becomes a powerful tool for managing your workforce.

Who uses these systems?

WFM software is indispensable for industries that need precise staffing. Healthcare facilities, for instance, need meticulous scheduling for essential medical staff. These systems are great for covering patient care around the clock.

Retail businesses, too, use WFM to align staffing with fluctuating customer traffic — especially during peak shopping seasons. They can then balance excellent service with well-managed labor costs.

Hotels and restaurants use this software to cover varied and irregular shifts while manufacturing plants use it to adhere to strict labor regulations and safety standards.

Multinational corporations also rely on WFM systems to handle global HR operations. They can synchronize workflows across multiple locations and operations.

3 benefits of using a WFM

Implementing a WFM system offers significant advantages for organizations. Here are the main three benefits:

1. Improves efficiency

WFM software reduces labor waste. With it, you can precisely forecast staffing needs and reduce overstaffing or understaffing.

Likewise, you can minimize employee downtime because employees’ schedules match their actual workloads.

Graph showing efficiency and other variables

‎These tools help you cover all shifts while avoiding unnecessary slow times.

Of course, these efforts translate to lower labor costs. Effective scheduling and time tracking help manage overtime expenses and align staff with customer demands.

2. Streamlines project management

WFM tools track progress on deadlines and project milestones, helping to keep projects on track. They also coordinate tasks and resources.

For example, through WFM, a project team is assigned specific tasks based on availability. The software helps them book meeting spaces and automatically updates their calendars. As a result, everyone knows their responsibilities. They can see where meeting times and milestones fit into their workweek.

In providing visibility into all aspects of project management, WFM systems lower risk. They allow managers to identify potential issues early on and take preventive action.

3. Increases employee satisfaction

WFM software automates the scheduling process, making schedules transparent and equitable.

This fairness is vital in environments with variable shift work. All employees are treated equally in terms of their schedules.

Because these tools incorporate communication, the whole team benefits from automatic messages about changes and other updates. This reduces confusion and keeps the team on the same page.

Not only do WFM tools help you stay lean and efficient, but they also protect employees from becoming overwhelmed. Workloads are monitored and adjusted to spread out the tasks appropriately. This helps to prevent burnout and create a work-life balance.

Key features to consider for software

The following essential features make a WFM system effective:

  • Real-time analytics: Provides valuable insights into labor trends and patterns. Allows managers to make informed, proactive decisions.
  • Mobile compatibility: Makes sure managers and employees can manage tasks and schedules, no matter where they are.

Worker holds smartphone with work app
  • Intuitive user interface: Features a clear and user-friendly interface that minimizes the learning curve so that users can become productive quickly.
  • Task automation: Automates repetitive tasks, such as report generation or payroll calculation. This saves time and reduces the chances of error.
  • System integration: Needs to seamlessly integrate with any existing HR and payroll systems.

Overview of the top workforce management software

Let’s take a look at some specific WFM tools and break down what each one does and who might benefit from using it.


Deel is a powerful platform that helps global teams take care of their workforces all from one place. It handles everything from payroll and compliance to benefits for international contractors and employees.

This all-encompassing tool simplifies the management of a global workforce.

Strengths: Expertise in international labor law compliance, automated payroll solutions, and ease of handling multiple currencies and tax systems.

Best for: Companies that work with remote teams or contractors from all over the world.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP is a long-standing name in HR solutions. ADP Workforce Now is a comprehensive HR suite that integrates many services, including payroll, talent management, benefits administration, and analytics. It’s an easy-to-use, central platform for all your HR needs.

Strengths: Extensive integration capabilities, robust compliance features, and a user-friendly interface with powerful reporting tools.

Best for: Mid-sized to large businesses seeking a scalable and integrated solution for all their HR needs.

UKG Ready

UKG Ready is an all-in-one HR solution that focuses on simplifying day-to-day operations. It helps organizations streamline their HR operations so that they can focus on growth and employee engagement.

Strengths: Maintains a single employee record across all functions, has great customer service, and is straightforward to use.

Best for: Growing companies that would like to manage their workforce efficiently while scaling up their operations.


Workday is an enterprise-level software solution that integrates financial management with human capital management on a single cloud platform. It’s designed to manage and optimize the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment to retirement. It’s powered by advanced analytics and machine learning.

Strengths: Seamless integration of various business functions, real-time data analytics, and user-friendly design.

Best for: Large organizations looking for a comprehensive suite to manage their global HR and financial operations together.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based solution for HR management. It’s a robust, AI-enabled platform that offers extensive functions in talent management, the employee experience, and HR analytics.

Strengths: A strong focus on employee engagement and performance, scalability across global operations, and effective tools for analytics.

Best for: Global companies that need a platform that supports a broad range of HR activities across different countries and cultures.


Arcoro is a specialized HR software tailored for compliance-heavy industries, especially construction and specialty contractors. It provides tools for HR management, talent acquisition, performance management, and compliance tracking.

Strengths: Tailored solutions, robust tools for benefits management, and advanced software for compensation.

Best for: Businesses in high-risk industries needing specialized HR management tools that prioritize safety and compliance with various legal requirements.

Oracle HCM Cloud

Oracle HCM Cloud is a comprehensive HR suite designed to support complex and large-scale operations. It offers tools for HR, talent management, payroll, and workforce management.

Strengths: High configurability, extensive integration opportunities with other enterprise applications, and powerful business intelligence capabilities.

Best for: Large enterprises that require a flexible and robust system to manage a distributed global workforce.

Limitations of WFM systems

All of the tools we’ve covered are strong solutions for managing a workforce. However, as with anything, WFM software comes with inherent limitations. Here are a few of them:

Complexity and cost

Implementing a WFM system can be an intricate and demanding process. To best use these tools, configure them to your organization’s specific needs. These configurations could include the following:

  • Shift patterns
  • Pay rules
  • Outlining employee roles

Such a complex setup often requires specialized knowledge. That can be overwhelming for smaller companies that lack in-house expertise.

Also, the financial burden may be too much for some teams. Operating a WFM system includes licensing fees and the cost of maintaining it and training staff on it. These costs make it harder for small businesses to justify the investment.

Reliance on technology

As we’ve discussed, WFM systems centralize critical business functions. While it’s convenient to have your HR functions all in one place, technical issues can bring about hefty consequences.

Complications that can arise from technical complications range from missing payroll deadlines to non-compliance with labor laws.

Also, once implemented, these tools aren’t the most flexible. It can be time-consuming and costly to update the software and customizations for business or market changes.

Privacy and security concerns

Whenever you’re dealing with vast amounts of sensitive employee data, privacy issues are a risk.

WFM systems store private information such as Social Security numbers.

Employee data vulnerable to breaches

‎Organizations must make sure that the tool they choose has robust security features to help protect private data. They should also train employees on cybersecurity risks, such as phishing attempts.

The following standards help an organization keep data private:

  • Clear data management policies
  • Regular audits and reviews
  • Physical security measures

Alternatives to traditional WFMs

WFM software is usually worth the investment for large-scale operations. However, for many small to mid-sized businesses, these systems can be more than they need.

Fortunately, a streamlined tool like Motion provides a practical alternative.

Motion removes the layers of complexity found in full-scale WFM tools. If you don’t need extensive HR features, it still provides task management, scheduling, and project tracking.

If you’re not sure about the best option for you, think about your workforce, its needs, and your goals.

Ask yourself the following questions to decide if a WFM system is right for you:

  • What are the primary challenges in your current workforce management processes?
  • Does the scale, diversity, and complexity of your workforce justify the investment in a WFM system?
  • How will a WFM tool move you toward your organization’s strategic goals?

If, in asking these questions, it doesn’t feel like traditional WFM software is necessary, other tools may be better suited to meet your needs. With lower costs and minimal setup requirements, these can be workable solutions.

Manage your workforce with Motion

Unless you have a large, complex team, software like Motion may just be the best choice. It’s a user-friendly platform powered by sophisticated AI. It can be adopted quickly and easily to revolutionize calendars and productivity.

Other WFM tools can also be integrated with Motion through Zapier.

Come see why more than a million top performers and teams trust our software. Try Motion for free today!

Jared Posey
Jared Posey is a business, SaaS, and productivity freelance writer with a passion for conencting readers with high-quality content. When he's not polishing up a sentence or conducting SERP research, you'll find him making his kids laugh and his wife shake her head.
Written by Jared Posey