9 Workforce Planning Tools of the Highest Caliber

There are lots of workforce planning tools out there, but which one is the most suitable for your industry? Discover in our roundup.
Iryna Viter

Workforce planning tools and techniques are all about empowering businesses to achieve their goals. Rather than make staffing decisions by gut feel, they help to make informed business decisions based on real time data.

Why use strategic workforce planning tools

Workforce planning tools are used to analyze an organisation's staffing capabilities, both now and into the future. They're an insightful piece of an HR professional's toolkit as they help to illustrate any skills gaps that may exist and inform what the ideal future workforce might look like.

So they're helpful diagnostic tools, but they also help business leaders to come up with an organizational strategy that will best deliver on business goals.

For example, strategic workforce planning can identify what new roles would add the most value to the business, the talent supply for those roles in the labor market, and current high value staff that contribute most to organizational success.

Workforce planning software tools vs manual workforce planning

Workforce planning software tools provide data-driven insights and informed scenario planning. Developing a strategic workforce plan manually is time consuming and error-prone, and it can quickly become dated as the business grows and changes. It's often done in spreadsheets, and compared to the automation and engagement provided by dedicated workforce planning tools, excel is considerably less efficient.

For example, tools used for workforce planning make the most important metrics visible, and generate real time reports on demand. Spreadsheets are much less engaging, take longer to update, and ultimately make strategic workforce planning much harder.

There are a range of tools for workforce planning, but which one is best? Learn about some examples of workforce planning tools below.

Best workforce planning tools

1. Runn - The best free workforce planning and forecasting tool

Runn is one of the best tools used in workforce planning for consulting, agency and software business. It makes it quick and easy to manage team workloads, understand which roles are most profitable and forecast future needs.

Runn's reports enable planning, tracking and forecasting all in one place. Get automated insight into how well staff are being utilized and assign tasks based on availability. Being able to identify business areas that are at capacity greatly informs strategic workforce planning, providing talent and skills to deliver on business strategies.

Getting all of this information in a free workforce planning tool is great value, making Runn a fantastic software for HR professionals.

2. Planful - Best workforce planning tool for dynamic planning

Planful enables bespoke strategic workforce planning with data models that are highly customizable. It drives flexible, high-frequency, data-driven planning and decision-making so HR professionals can analyze, plan and make confident decisions at the speed of business.

Tailored financial models can be set up to make the most relevant functions, processes and use cases visible. It has good testing capabilities, which enables scenario planning by allocating changes and seeing how different situations impact end results across the whole organization.

It also integrates well with any source system, and makes it easy to share plans and insights with stakeholders.

3. Workday - Best workforce planning tool for quick decision making

Workday brings data on finances, people, and operations into one place that’s always live and secure. This means no more fragmented, incomplete data, which is common with some other workforce planning tools.

In fast-moving workplaces, Workday helps to cut through confusion and silos by enabling users to configure or modify processes without requiring coding. It delivers the insight needed to make strategic workforce planning decisions without the hassle and fuss.

Workday has even developed solutions specifically for today's workforces, enabling active consideration of Covid-19 and diversity issues. This makes it one of the most effective workforce planning tools for delivering a future workforce that delivers on strategic imperatives.

4. Quinyx - Best workforce planning tool for retail, hospitality and healthcare industries

Quinyx's AI technology sets it apart from some other strategic workforce capacity planning tools. It helps those in dynamic industries by being able to identify peak and dull times down to 15-minute periods.

Not only does it deliver accurate business activity forecasts, but it analyzes specific areas of activity to report on optimal labor hours and the number of employees needed in each role to meet demand. This functionality means Quinyx helps with strategic workforce planning in the long term as well as short term rostering.

5. tamigo - Best workforce planning and scheduling tool for employee retention

tamigo is a cloud-based workforce planning solution that combines scheduling, absence management, performance, employee communication, HR, finance and forecasting, and more. It focuses on financial drivers and KPIs such as productivity, wage percentage and labour costs to give visibility over staff performance.

tamigo's roster function makes it easy to plan shifts, with the ability to assign shifts based on skills or availability, or even have staff bid for the shifts they want to work. All of this enables HR professionals to identify and nurture high performing team members, leading to progression within the workplace and better retention rates.

6. Genesys - Best workforce planning tool for contact centre businesses

Genesys is a scheduling and forecasting system with a range of different applications. Of all the tools used in workforce planning, it's possibly the best suited to organizations that have a lot of customer contact.

It helps strategic workforce planning in call centres specifically by monitoring busy periods and ensuring staffing can match demand. It also incorporates accurate forecasting to predict future needs. However, it may not be as well equipped to inform long term strategic workforce planning, as it has more of a focus in assessing current activity rather than forecasting the impact of significant business changes.

7. MYOB - Best tool for workforce planning and payroll

MYOB is a well known tool for small-medium businesses that incorporates aspects of workforce planning among other business activities. It's perhaps not as powerful and in-depth as other workforce planning tools, but it's a cost-effective solution in that it comes with payroll and HR functionality as well.

One of MYOB's focuses is ensuring businesses have the right mix of qualifications and labor costs for each shift by automating rostering. It also provides a wide scope of human resources activities such as leave planning, employee development, recruitment, onboarding and reporting.

8. Employment Hero - Best workforce planning tool for SME's

Employment Hero is one of the best workforce planning tools when it comes to reducing administrative tasks of HR professionals.

It uses automated onboarding and induction, election signature, auto-reminders for key events and auto lodging of super and tax details. It's also easy to use from an employee perspective, enabling staff to see and update all of the relevant HR details they need.

However, once again, Employment Hero doesn't have the same long term forecasting capabilities of some other strategic workforce planning tools.

9. Timecloud - Best workforce planning tool for large organizations

For organizations that have a lot of people coming and going, workforce management can be much more complicated. Even assessing the size of the current workforce can be hard, with factors such as contractors working on hourly rates and remote, flexible staff. Timecloud is one of the more powerful strategic workforce planning tools in accounting for a wide range of internal and external factors.

It has sophisticated tools such as biometric timeclocks and a mobile app that makes it easier to track timesheets, roster staff, cost jobs and automate payroll. Employment Hero comes with useful organizational charts to break down who people are and what role they're in, which is not always obvious on a large staff roster.

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