5 Workforce Optimization Strategies to Boost Employee Productivity

In the current hyper-competitive business environment, it is vital for organizations to deliver high-quality products/services to stay ahead of the competition. So, companies need an optimized talent pool where they can leverage the maximum potential of their business resources. 

However, employees often fail to give their 100% at times due to reasons like excess workload, lowered engagement, non-conducive work culture, sub-optimal resource utilization, etc. Therefore, managers need to implement suitable measures to combat these bottlenecks. 

Workforce optimization is an ideal technique that can overcome these challenges and enhance overall productivity. It helps to identify resource shortage/excess, reduce resource costs, ensure competent allocation, prevent over/underutilization, and improve overall operational efficiency. 

This article explains the best practices of workforce optimization and how SAVIOM’s resource management solution can help. 

But before that, let’s first understand the basics. 

1: Workforce Optimization: Definition and Significance

Workforce optimization is the process of planning, forecasting, allocating, and scheduling resources and utilizing them effectivity to enhance organizational productivity. 

Efficient workforce optimization practices ensure each project is staffed with skilled employees. Managers can also use optimization measures to create the right mix of permanent and contingent workforce based on project requirements and avoid cost escalations. 

Additionally, it helps distribute the workload uniformly across all the employees, preventing under/over utilization. Moreover, optimization can help avoid the allocation of under/over-skilled employees to projects, thereby preventing budget/schedule overruns, substandard project quality, etc. 

Given the concept and significance of workforce optimization, the next section describes how you can leverage it to improve productivity. 

2: How to implement workforce optimization to enhance productivity?

Tim Ferriss, an American entrepreneur, aptly says, “Focus on being productive, instead of busy.” 

So, managing the workforce is not just about booking them for multiple jobs but also maximizing their productive utilization. 

So, below are the proven optimization tips you can follow to boost productivity.

2.1 Prioritize projects prior to resource allocation

When organizations receive multiple projects with similar resource requirements, managers must first determine their priority before allocation. For instance, there are two plugin development projects that have reached a particular stage of approval. The first is a billable customer project, while the second is a non-billable yet strategic plugin upgradation project.

As the first project is for the client and has a fixed budget and timeline, it requires immediate attention. On the contrary, the second project is critical yet internal and can be taken up gradually. So, after considering all these aspects, the manager gives precedence to the billable plugin development project and deploys the employees on it first. This way, prioritizing projects helps distribute the resources efficiently and enhances overall productivity. 

 2.2 Leverage the out rotation-backfill strategy for critical resources

Unlike generic resources, critically-skilled employees are often scarce and booked across multiple projects simultaneously. As a result, it is often challenging for managers to fill critical positions of new projects with such niche-skilled resources. So, to overcome this issue, managers can leverage out rotation-backfill strategy. In this, they out rotate the requisite critical resources from an ongoing project to a new one and fill vacant positions with similar-skilled resources or ‘backfills’.  

For example, an IT project requires a data modeler for the initiation phase. As data modeling is a niche skill, there is only one such professional in the firm who is already working on another project. If the ongoing project has reached the steady phase, managers can out rotate the data modeler to the new project. They can identify and assign another employee who meets the requirements to a certain degree to the ongoing project. It will help maintain both projects’ quality and avoid overloading the data modeler, ensuring high productivity. 

2.3 Implement suitable resourcing measures to bridge skill gaps

It is critical for resource managers to analyze the pipeline projects’ demands in advance to identify the skill gaps and resource excess/shortage. If the gap is not bridged on time, it leads to billing losses, delivery delays, subpar deliverable quality, client dissatisfaction, etc. Therefore, managers must leverage suitable resourcing measures to overcome this issue. 

For resource shortage, they can initiate suitable training/upskilling measures to equip the benched personnel with requisite skills. They can also initiate project-specific or skill-based hiring of permanent or contingent employees based on the nature of demands. In case of resource excess, they can bring forward project timelines to reassign the available capacity or sell out excess capacity at discounted rates. These measures can help eliminate capacity-vs-demand gaps and tap into every employee’s maximum potential.  

2.4 Ensure competent resource allocation across all projects

Assigning the right people to the right project is essential to ensure successful delivery. However, a misalignment between employees’ skills and their allocation can lead to severe repercussions like low productivity, substandard deliverable quality, schedule overruns, client dissatisfaction, etc. 

So, resource managers must assess the existing workforce’s qualifications, experience, skills, availability, interests, etc., and identify resources that match the project requirements to ensure competent allocation. When employees are working on projects that align with their skills, it automatically enhances overall productivity.   

2.5 Apply resource leveling/smoothing techniques judiciously

Often, managers book critically-skilled resources or senior employees to work beyond their capacity. At the same time, they might give more work to high performers or familiar persons. As a result, certain employees are often overworked while others remain underutilized. Therefore, to ensure uniform workload distribution, managers can apply suitable resource optimization techniques based on a project’s nature. 

For projects with flexible timelines, managers can use resource leveling to readjust the start or end dates as per the availability and schedules of specialist resources. If the project has a stringent timeline, managers can either adjust the float tasks or procure extra resources to get the work done without hampering productivity and performance. 

Given the best workforce optimization tactics, the following section describes how resource management software can help.

3: How can resource management software help enhance workforce optimization?

Organizations need an optimized and future-ready workforce to remain profitable and sustainable in the volatile market. Here is how Saviom’s advanced resource management solution can benefit your organization: 

  • The 360-degree visibility combined with advanced filters helps identify the right employees for the right jobs, ensuring competent allocation and maximizing utilization. 
  • The project vacancy and capacity-vs-demand reports help evaluate the upcoming projects’ demands and forward-plan them to avoid last-minute firefighting and maximize profitable resource utilization.
  • The utilization reports and color-coded heatmaps help identify instances of under/overutilization and eliminate using optimization strategies. 
  • The scenario and modeling technique helps create various resource allocation scenarios, compare them to arrive at the best possible outcome, and apply it to the actual schedule. 

All these features together can help streamline workforce optimization and enhance productivity.

4: Conclusion

Workforce optimization forms the cornerstone of an efficient workforce in today’s employee-centric area. It not only enhances productivity but also increases individual accountability while maintaining the resource health index. 

It also helps ensure the successful completion of projects, improves customer satisfaction, and increases profitability. Following the above-mentioned steps and implementing a resource management solution can help you enhance workforce optimization.

So, what’s your approach to workforce optimization?

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