What is workforce optimization software and why do you need it?

What is workforce optimization software and why do you need it?

Workforce optimization software helps human resource professionals streamline employee management, including scheduling, skill gap planning, and other important tasks. Keep reading to learn more about how workforce optimization software is used in the construction industry and why it’s an increasingly important tool for construction resource managers to master.

What is workforce optimization software?

The term workforce optimization software (also commonly referred to as WFO software) describes any computer program aimed at streamlining employer scheduling, training, and overall management.

Our software Bridgit Bench is a classic example of workforce optimization software. With it, construction professionals can:

  • track virtually all imaginable data related to personnel and projects using custom fields
  • generate workforce reports in a variety of formats
  • visualize skill gaps
  • integrate with other workforce optimization tools to create a custom suite

To build on that last point, workforce management tools don’t have to be standalone pieces of software. Many construction companies actually find the most efficient solution results from combining several pieces of workforce optimization software.

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Take a quick 1-minute walk-through of Bridgit Bench before booking a demo with one of our representatives.

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Must-have features of any workplace optimization software suite

If you’re wondering why so many companies prefer assembling their workplace optimization software suite rather than choosing a single off-the-shelf solution, perhaps the following list will shed some light. A good workforce optimization suite should feature:

  • employee scheduling
  • employee performance tracking
  • skill gap monitoring
  • time tracking
  • streamlined communications (i.e. sharing data and reports easily)

It’s very difficult to find a single piece of software capable of providing all of these features to every company’s liking.

Check out this article for a look at a few popular construction workforce optimization tools and how they come together to create a great suite.

Is workforce optimization software different from workforce management software?

If you’ve read our guide on workforce management, you may be wondering whether these two technologies overlap. For many practical purposes in construction, they do. Consequently, you’ll hear the terms used interchangeably quite often.

Some human resource professionals, however, prefer to think of workforce optimization as a more analytical discipline revolving around monitoring the minutiae of every employee’s behavior. Some call centers, for example, use workforce optimization tools that record and analyze employees’ voices to gauge their performance.

A construction worker’s job is quite different from that of a call center employee, however, so workforce optimization understandably differs there and may look more like what professionals in other industries call workforce management.

Benefits of using workforce optimization software in construction

The construction industry has been notoriously slow to adopt new technology. Many companies are still using Excel spreadsheets to track employee scheduling and other important metrics.

To these firms, workforce optimization software may sound like just another shiny object that will take lots of time and money to set up while providing little benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of using WFO software.

Increased employee satisfaction

While learning a new piece of software certainly presents some challenges, many employees actually find themselves happier in the long run. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that hardworking employees will feel their effort is being properly attributed. 

Without proper workforce optimization systems in place, an employee’s hard work can often seemingly disappear into the void, making them feel under-appreciated.

Increased employee productivity

Of course, not all employees are productive. WFO software introduces additional accountability, letting workers know that certain behaviors (i.e. buddy punching – a common construction issue that can be solved with workforce optimization software) won’t go unnoticed.

Reduced liability

The construction industry is governed by many rules, regulations, and unions. Workforce optimization software keeps data more organized and accessible in the event of an emergency.

Increased efficiency while working remotely

Over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people work. Many construction professionals that aren’t required to be physically present on job sites have switched to remote work, which has workforce data management implications.

Workforce optimization software removes the need for workers to email sensitive documents back and forth, creating a single source of truth that can be accessed from the cloud anywhere.

Reduce the prevalence of human error

When workforce management decisions are made without accurate data, things can go drastically wrong. Workers might be scheduled inefficiently, skill gaps might go unnoticed – the list goes on.

Reduce burnout among workforce optimization professionals

The professionals responsible for workforce optimization typically bring tremendous expertise to their work – especially if they’ve been with a particular company for many years. They likely know the company’s workforce needs inside out.

When the success of a company’s workforce management plan hinges solely on these professionals being able to intuitively manage and analyze tons of data, however, burnout can occur. They may find themselves unable to take time off without worrying about a mountain of catch-up work waiting for them when they return.

Workforce optimization software can greatly reduce this stress by offloading much of the data organization and tracking duties.

Putting the right people, in the right place, at the right time

See how Bridgit Bench helps address the biggest challenges with workforce planning and book a personalized tour with our team.

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Tips for choosing the right workforce optimization software suite

Next, let’s discuss some tips for choosing the right workforce optimization tools for your company’s needs.

Consult key stakeholders

Any new workforce optimization program will affect many people at your company. Be sure to consult as many relevant stakeholders as possible, which will ultimately increase the likelihood of your software purchase amounting to a great investment.

Try before you buy

Most workforce optimization tools (including Bridgit Bench) offer free demos you can use to gauge whether the program is right for you. Take advantage of these demos; you won’t know whether a program is right for your company’s needs until you (and a few other stakeholders) try it out. Here’s an example of one of our clients converting their system interface to Bridgit Bench after experiencing it’s simplified resource planning for their projects.

Consider your entire tech stack

As mentioned earlier in this article, a single workforce optimization tool is unlikely to meet all of your company’s needs. If you have applications you’re already using, don’t just assume they’ll integrate nicely with another piece of software. Look into (or inquire about) the actual integration.

We hope this article has helped you understand what workforce optimization software is and why it’s important. For more articles on the topic of construction management technology, visit our blog.

Brandon-Richard Austin

Brandon-Richard Austin is a writer and content strategist focused on the construction sector. He’s passionate about educating readers on construction management techniques and best practices.