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What is Workforce Optimization & How Will it Help Your Organization?

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Workforce optimization improves operational efficiency and productivity across an enterprise. Learn more about how it helps businesses succeed and what kinds of tools you need to get started.

Workforce optimization (WFO) has become quite the buzzword these days, and for good reason. Managers want to ensure that they’re making the most of their time and resources in order to boost employee productivity and efficiency, increase engagement rates, and reduce costs. The adoption of workforce optimization solutions as a best practice across industries in recent years is evidence of just how effective they are when utilized to their fullest potential.

ActivTrak’s data-driven approach brings transparency and collaboration to the table to empower managers and employees to maximize productivity and efficiency, transforming workforce optimization from a mere buzzword into a tangible and effective strategy.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we have to answer the question: what is workforce optimization? Let’s take a deeper dive into the background of workforce optimization, discuss how it can help organizations, and find out how a data-driven approach can take your workforce optimization model to the next level.

Choose where to start:

What is Workforce Optimization?

Workforce optimization refers to the strategies used by organizations to improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization’s employees and their work practices as a whole. Typically, these strategies involve process automation for data collection, workforce management (WFM), legal compliance, and more. Workforce optimization is an intersection between IT, operations, and human resources, with each department playing an instrumental role in streamlining internal practices and external customer experiences.

Workforce optimization originally became prominent within call centers and contact centers, which were also unfortunately known as “cost centers” because their operational costs outweighed their benefits. Organizations would manually track employee data by writing up call evaluations of customer interactions or creating spreadsheets to track metrics like agent performance in an attempt to optimize workflows and reduce operational costs.

These days, call centers and contact centers utilize a range of tools such as speech analytics, text analytics, and desktop analytics to accurately and effortlessly keep track of employee progress and improve customer experiences. Once workforce optimization solutions became more advanced, they naturally spread from contact centers to other types of organizations.

Workforce optimization software is only as effective as its approach to data collection and analysis. Typically, workforce optimization software provides organizations with a streamlined platform for gathering, analyzing, and storing any employee data relating to productivity, workforce engagement, and performance. Automation allows WFO software to monitor this data in real-time and translate it into a variety of actionable insights related to workforce management such as staffing, workloads, coaching, and more.

Benefits of Workforce Optimization for Your Business

Workforce optimization simplifies the task of gathering insights into your team and how they go about their work. By tracking data that provides insights into your company and your workers, you can unlock opportunities to improve workflows and more. Workforce optimization and analytics solutions offer businesses several benefits including:

Boost employee productivity and efficiency

Through workforce optimization and productivity tools, managers can clearly see the way their organization operates as a whole and understand how each employee fits into the picture. With responsibly-collected data, managers can track employee performance management on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis.

The best workforce optimization software digs deep into an employee’s work activities to show managers and workers themselves where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Managers and employees can improve their decision-making with this information and reallocate resources accordingly to increase efficiency and productivity. Also, workforce optimization tools allow you to see whether or not the changes you’ve made are having an impact. If the desired goal is still out of reach, the process can start again — analyze the data, receive insights, and enact solutions.

Increase employee engagement

Employee engagement is key to improving productivity and efficiency. When your employees are engaged, your organization will be more productive, have better retention rates, and maintain high employee performance levels. Unfortunately, a recent Gallup poll revealed that only 36% of workers are engaged in the workplace. Workforce optimization can help!

A workforce optimization solution can analyze your team’s data and reveal signs of disengagement and employee burnout. After gaining this insight, managers can then address it by collaborating with their team members and delegating workloads more effectively. The employee monitoring and analysis capabilities of WFO software help both managers and employees work wiser.

Improve data visibility

Transparency and open communication between managers and employees is key to building a thriving company culture. When it comes to the data collected by WFO solutions, you might think that it only benefits company leadership and management. However, the best workforce optimization solutions are ones that offer full visibility across the entire organization.

Workforce optimization is most effective when employees can directly access their own productivity data and insights so they can create personalized strategies for improvement. That way, when a manager sits down to discuss work trends or areas of improvement with employees, these evaluations become a far more collaborative effort, with both the manager and the employee working together to generate targeted solutions.

Reduce costs

A thoughtfully-applied workforce optimization model can help you reduce costs throughout your organization. The data provided by WFO software helps managers perform a full audit of workflows across the entire organization and find out how technology is being utilized by employees. With this full visibility, you can identify underutilized or redundant tools to contain app proliferation and reduce licensing costs. As you optimize your organization, you’ll reduce spending on inefficient technologies or processes.

The Importance of Workforce Optimization Software

Workforce optimization solutions have come a long way from the contact center days of manual data inputs or simple call recording. In fact, the most common workforce optimization technology today is integrated platforms. ActivTrak’s workforce analytics software does all the heavy lifting for you, putting valuable data-driven insights directly into your hands so you can optimize your organization from the ground up.

ActivTrak gives you full visibility into productivity metrics so that you can continuously improve operational efficiency. You can view dashboards featuring the amount of productive time spent by employees and teams to understand what the typical work process looks like and see which employees might need additional support. Detailed reports on website and application usage across teams and individual employees yield insights to help managers form new strategies and practices. It’s easy to see where improvements can be made and what is working well.

The ActivTrak approach enables organizations to build a company culture around continuous improvement and support. ActivTrak’s virtual Productivity Coach uses workforce data to provide personalized recommendations for fine-tuning workload balance and improving efficiency. This allows managers to become better and more informed coaches, driving engagement and alignment across the organization.

ActivTrak’s platform also helps managers set long-term goals and track productivity over time. This is important for recognizing whether your workforce optimization strategy is improving employee performance, and where additional effort is needed. You can establish goals for productivity and focus time, and compare that to how your employees are performing.

The goals you set can act as guideposts for improving productivity and collaboration, and it’s easy for managers to make adjustments to their goals based on how their team is performing. If your team is reaching those goals, that may be a sign that you can aim higher. If they are not, it might be worth reevaluating the strategies you implement to achieve your goals.

An added benefit of ActivTrak’s workforce optimization technology is its seamless integration with a wide range of data visualization tools like ZenDesk and Jira. Our software also comes with prebuilt templates for business intelligence tools like Tableau, Power BI, and Google Data Studios. Productivity measurement metrics from the ActivTrak platform can be shared directly within Microsoft Teams as well. The ActivTrak platform integrates seamlessly into your data analytics stack and information can be easily shared with team members. You have everything you need in one streamlined workforce optimization solution.

The ActivTrak Approach to Workforce Optimization

Workforce optimization is necessary for any organization hoping to attain long-lasting success and long-term productivity. ActivTrak believes that a transparent, data-driven approach can provide all the benefits that workforce optimization has to offer, making our platform the best path to better employee performance. Keep the following Pro-Tips in mind to make your workforce optimization model a success!


  • Remember that workforce optimization strategies aren’t just for call centers anymore! Any modern enterprise can benefit from workforce optimization.
  • Use data collection and analysis to power workforce optimization and unlock actionable insights

Look for workforce optimization technology that integrates seamlessly with other technologies in your stack.

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