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How to Successfully Upgrade Your Workforce Optimization Strategy

Ever felt like your team could do better but just can’t pinpoint where to start? You may need a rethink of your workplace optimization strategy to get the ball rolling…

On this page, we’ll explain what workforce optimization is and why it’s important for your business. Then, we’ll cover 5 effective strategies that will get your team working more productively and your projects completed on time. Let’s dive in!

What is workforce optimization (WFO)?

Workforce optimization is all about enhancing the productivity of your workforce. Usually, it’s led by your human resources department — whose job it is to reconcile employee satisfaction with the achievement of wider business objectives.

The process can be broken down into three broad steps:

  1. Measuring what your workforce is capable of in their current capacity.
  2. Creating a work schedule where everyone knows what they’re working toward.
  3. Reallocating and retraining employees to level up your operational efficiency.

You can run a solid workforce optimization program the old-fashioned way with spreadsheet software or even a pen and paper. But if you have a larger team, you can streamline the job with tools like time-tracking programs, project management planners, and performance review applications.

Regardless of your approach, workforce optimization is a must. It’s a crucial aspect of business management because it means your company is more competitive, and you get better value-for-money from the resources you’re paying for.

What are the benefits of a workforce optimization strategy?

Before we jump into the actionable steps, let’s quickly cover the advantages of workforce optimization — because there are a lot!

  • Gets stuff done on time: Effective workforce planning means that employees are assigned tasks that match their skills and preferred working hours.
  • Boosts team morale: Your employees feel valued in their role because their work-life balance is respected, and when people are happy, they work harder without even noticing.
  • Cuts down on costs: By matching staffing levels with actual demand, you can cut out unnecessary labor costs and overtime expenses.
  • Provides a unified customer experience: An optimized workforce means you can focus on putting your customers at the heart of your operations. They get the same experience at all times because your agent schedules are matched up to times of peak customer demand.

5 strategies to enhance your workforce optimization

Implement time and attendance tracking

Attendance tracking software is essentially the digital version of an employee time clock. It automates the process of seeing who’s in the shop or active at their desk. With this tool, your HR leaders can see when employees start and end their shift, when they take breaks, and complete overtime hours. This makes it easier to understand working patterns, accommodate the needs of your staff, and mitigate against issues such as overworking and burnout. 

For example, if you notice someone is consistently logging extra hours, maybe they’re swamped and could use a hand. Or if someone’s starting later and later, perhaps they’re juggling some personal challenges. It could be your cue to step in, offer support, or shuffle around tasks to keep objectives being met without anyone feeling overburdened.

Monitor employee performance and task completion

Your HR leaders need a unified platform where they can view employee performance metrics like task completion rates and project contributions. This holistic view is crucial for identifying whether team members are achieving their individual targets, recognizing high performers, and pinpointing employees who require additional support or training.

Project management software is your friend here. It’s like a calendar app with all the extra functionalities your HR team needs, like task assignment notifications, progress tracking, and performance reporting.

Alternatively, you could pick a software that’s more aligned with your business operations. For instance, a call center business may prefer a more specialized call center monitoring tool — which tracks key metrics like agent availability rates, call resolution times, and customer feedback.

Create a realistic schedule for your team

A good schedule means you have enough staff on hand when things are busy, and you’re not sitting around twiddling your thumbs when it’s crickets.

Your first task is to identify peak times by looking at key performance indicators like customer inquiries, sales volumes, or support ticket submissions. From here, you can use your scheduling software to start planning weeks in advance. You may want to offer flexible or hybrid working arrangements to accommodate your employee’s work-life balance.

Just bear in mind that with remote work, there’s the potential for employees to feel disconnected from management and the broader team. You need a tech stack that keeps everyone on the same page and talking no matter where they’re logging in from, such as a real-time communication app and a collaborative workflow tool. 

Set individual goals and support employee growth

Employees need to be satisfied in their roles if they’re to work productively and stick around with your company for the long term. The key here is to outline a pathway to progression and to support employee development at each step of the journey.

One Gartner poll found that 87% of HR leaders were considering switching up their approach to employee performance reviews. The main issue with legacy goal-setting, they reported, is that the process can be too time-consuming, complex, and disconnected from the individual needs of team members.

So, what is the key to effective performance management?

Essentially, targets need to be clear — with an emphasis on working toward objectives rather than getting bogged down in the process itself. To achieve this, employee goals should be set on a short-term and rolling basis, with constant feedback and on-the-job learning. For instance, you could set monthly goals for each of your team members and then follow up with an informal chat to gauge how they’re feeling and where support is needed.

You still have a longer-term strategy here — to level up employee skills and fill performance gaps — it’s just that the process is broken down into more manageable chunks.

Encourage effective communication practices

Toxic work environments aren’t just unhappy; they’re counterproductive and result in missed targets. It’s up to management to lead the way and foster a positive workplace culture. One of the best ways to do this is by setting an open-door policy where anyone can come in for a chat, whether it’s about something work-related or a bit more personal.

Encouraging effective communication practices is especially vital in fostering a thriving remote work culture. In distributed teams, where physical interactions are limited, virtual communication channels become the lifeline of collaboration. Providing easy access to communication tools and promoting transparent dialogue ensures that remote employees feel connected, valued, and engaged in the company’s culture. 

Additionally, integrating people search tools into your communication infrastructure can facilitate quick access to contact information, ensuring that employees can easily reach out to the right person when needed

For teams not physically in the office, it’s trickier to get this company culture going, but certainly not impossible. As a starter, you should make sure that it’s easy for your employees to get in touch with the right person. Some businesses use internal call center systems that direct you to the specific department or person you need at the touch of a button.


To wrap up, a successful workforce optimization strategy is the difference between a team that’s just showing up and one that’s smashing goals. It takes thoughtful planning, the right tools, and a focus on employee well-being to unlock the full potential of your workforce. And if you do right, everyone from your customers to your accounting department and HR will notice a world of difference.

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