Workforce Management vs. Workforce Planning: What’s the Difference?

Odds are that you’ve heard the terms “workforce management” and “workforce planning” being thrown around a lot lately. What do these terms actually mean? And what’s the difference between them – if any? It’s true that these terms have been getting more attention lately – and for good reason. There are so many benefits to both workforce management and workforce planning that they deserve all the attention that they’re getting. At the same time, the terms can get a little bit fuzzy and confusing, especially if you’re new to the business world or human resources. But don’t worry – we are here to help straighten everything out for you. So here’s a quick guide on workforce management versus workforce planning, including the similarities and the differences between the two:

What does Workforce Management mean?

A part of human resources, workforce management is where companies ensure they have the right people performing the correct job. While workforce management tends to be focused on scheduling in order not to have staffing problems like understaffing or overstaffing, there are many other factors involved. Management of the workforce can include payroll, timekeeping, and other aspects. Overall, the goal of workforce management is to optimize and streamline a lot of these human resources tasks so that it’s quick and easy and can therefore save you time and money in the long run. Visit learn more about workflow automation, job scheduling, and how it monitors and runs jobs.

What exactly is workforce planning?

Workforce planning, on the other hand is very different to workforce management. A company’s workforce planning is about aligning its priorities and needs with its employees so it can achieve all its goals, projections and objectives. It involves planning for the future. Planning for the future involves taking stock of your current workforce and attempting to predict any potential future gaps. This could be due to retirements or regular turnover. You might also find gaps if your company expands and you need to hire new people with different skills. Workforce planning tries to anticipate these gaps so that you can have a game plan ahead of time and aren’t left playing catch up when an employee unexpectedly leaves. 

The Complete Rundown

Now that we’ve covered some of the key differences between workforce management and workforce planning, we can cover some of the similarities between the two. Both concepts have many similarities in the key benefits they offer companies. Both the main objectives are increasing profit and productivity. And although they each go about them in different ways, every business wants to increase their profit and efficiency – making them both extremely valuable.

Although workforce management and planning may look very different, technology is able to play an important role in both. It would be difficult, time-consuming, and inefficient to manually implement any of these things without technology. There are software and tools available for every one of these tasks that can help companies manage employees and plan for the future. 

Both workforce management and workforce planning should be considered valuable concepts. Workforce planning is about planning for the future, while workforce management looks after the current workforce. With the appropriate technology, both of these concepts could be managed better and made more effective. 



Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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