Written by Duncan Lambden Reviewed by Maïté Bouhali Updated on 6 January 2023 On this page Best workforce management systems Benefits of workforce management software Cost of workforce management software What are workforce management systems? Important of workforce management How to choose the best system Final verdict Frequently asked questions Expand Through workforce management software, it's possible to obtain and use a vast array of information, which, when used efficiently, can lead to improved productivity and drastically reduced risk for your company.In the old days, people used to clock in and out of work manually. You'll have seen it in the movies – someone takes their time card and punches it into a machine to make a record of their working hours. However, with the advent of home-working, increases in technology, and evolution of the work place in general, workforce management technology has expanded and improved.If you're curious about the various ways your business could benefit from workplace management software, read on to explore the various features within. If you think your business could improve through time management software, try our quote comparison tool. You'll be given various quotes based on your business's specifics that can help you decide on a provider. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Bodet Actin Time Kronos Advanced Chronicle Computing Planday Best for Range of versatile products Best for Integrating with external software Best for Features Best for Employee self-service tools Best for Data visualisation and reporting Best for Employee collaboration Pros Adaptable to remote, office, and warehouse conditionsMonitors hours and absences in real timeComes with over 150 years of experience Pros Can be integrated with outside technology, like Sage and PegasusA wide range of experience in multiple industriesGlowing reviews Pros The system helps track labour laws and union rules for youHighly scalableAdaptable to fit businesses and teams of all sizes and industries Pros Boasts mostly excellent customer reviewsPayroll and other reporting functions integrate with your existing softwareUK-based support Pros Completely UK-based customer supportWorks with a wide selection of clocking-in hardwareIncludes a WhatsApp live chat feature Pros Affordable, with a generous 30-day free trialSimple to use, sporting a striking, aesthetically pleasant interfaceHighly rated online Cons Pricing lacks transparencyThough reports claim it to be expensive Cons Can be a bit clunky, though this is rare Cons The interface is a tad datedNot as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software solutions here Cons Rates aren’t transparentNot as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software providers here Cons Not as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software solutions here Cons Lacks the functionality to auto-populate rotasNot supported by any physical devices for employee attendance data capture Compare multiple quotes with our quick and free tool Looking to compare multiple workforce management software providers? Compare quotes Best workforce management systems1. Bodet Bodet offers a complete, fully-installed system, or individual peripherals such as clocking-in machines, swipe and fingerprint machines, or access control systems.Its ‘Kelio' system provides a wide variety of functions, including: multi-site capability, web or intranet networking, and graphical employee rostering. It covers a range of employee data and can be linked to HR and payroll services, allowing for full synchronisation of employee records, including training logs, disciplinary records, etc.There is also the option to allow personal remote access so employees can review their own data and contact line managers directly if required. In fact, this versatility helped Kelio top our best time and attendance software ranking. 2. Actin Time Actin Time is a great option if you're looking for a workforce management system that can double as an army knife for integrations. It can be easily integrated with softwares like Sage, Pegasus, Earnier, IRIS, ADP, CIPHR, MoorePay, and more. Aside from its great compatibility with external software, Actin Time also has generous customer support. They offer free nonobligatory time and attendance advice, and 100% hand-holding experience from the offset.Like all time and attendance solutions, Actin Time has both its drawcards and drawbacks. On the bright side, it has a solid range of external software you can pair it with, helping bulk up your workforce management muscle. It also promises great customer support, which is important to have during your onboarding process. 3. Kronos In Greek mythology, Kronos is the father of the gods and the personification of the concept of time itself, so you'd hope a workforce management system with such a grand name was worth a look. Thankfully, it is! Kronos is one of the most feature-rich options on the market, coming with time tracking, labour scheduling, absence management, workforce analytics, budgeting, and forecasting.With all this fun stuff, it's definitely suited for larger businesses. And with this comes a higher price. It's bespoke, so only available upon request, but reviews and reports do claim that it's a bit pricier than competitors. 4. Advanced Time Advanced Time (formerly Mitrefinch) is a well-established company that works across a range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, transport, health, and service.Their web based T&A system offers a range of products, and fully integrated bespoke installation. It can be easily linked with HR and payroll services, and can also manage time allocation and job costing to allow you to calculate task costs accurately.It can even manage flexible and remote working, and many routine tasks can be managed automatically, saving precious admin time. 5. Chronicle Computing The main appeal of Chronicle is its cloud-based nature. Business owners are likely on the move more often than not, or at the very least, away from a company computer, so the ability to view employee information anywhere at any time is a huge benefit.Obviously it's not just the cloud aspect that sells us on Chronicle. The services offered within the software are great, like generating reports with easy-to-digest charts and graphs, and tracking time and attendance data in real time. 6. Planday If your company has adopted remote or hybrid working, it can be trickier than usual to try and get accurate readings on how long your employees are working. With Planday, employees can clock in using the app on their smartphones. And it's not just employees – business owners can use the app to build an easily readable shift schedule.The app also serves as a way to communicate within the business, as it comes with a handy chat tool. This can help workers communicate about lateness or absences, or even trade shifts between themselves. Benefits of workforce management softwareA good workforce management system will allow you to have a wide range of data about your operations at your fingertips, enabling you to put efficiency measures in place.The annual cost of losing ten minutes a day per employee for a large company can amount to a six-figure sum. Employee absenteeism cases can cost even more, so there are many benefits to be derived. The tracking and analysis functions will give you a clear understanding of staffing operations, allowing you to address any issues.Minimise costs and reduce risk of fraudAccurate information leads to accurate wage bills, allowing you to minimise your costs. Individual employee information will alert you to trigger points regarding absence procedures, and allow you to tackle lateness in a prompt and efficient manner. Fraud is reduced, especially if biometric terminals are used, as employees can't use someone else's timecard or clock in for a colleague.Understanding of staffing operationsForward planning is also simplified, which is very helpful for organisations needing a minimum staffing ratio e.g. care homes, and individual working patterns can be adhered to.Individual employee records can be linked. A workforce management system that is fully integrated with HR and payroll services will save many hours admin time, and result in greater efficiency.Greater efficiencyMost workforce management systems are now cloud based, giving even greater access and flexibility. Installation is easier, and routine tasks such as maintenance and upgrades can be done remotely, often by the host company. Cost of workforce management softwareFor a fully-installed system, it is difficult to estimate costs, because every business is unique, so every installation is a bespoke solution. You will need to discuss the details with your supplier, and ensure that any quote is broken down, so that pricing is transparent and you can compare costs between suppliers.If you prefer to manage the installation yourself, or purchase a standard set up, here are some guidelines:A clocking-in machine with RFID (wireless) and fingerprint sensors will cost between about £230 – £530 for the very best clocking in system. The prices varies, depending on number of users and the number of time logs that can be stored. However, this price usually includes operating software.A standalone copy of the software retails at around £60, and 1 hour of installation support (by phone) costs around £100.You will also need to factor in some additional costs for peripherals e.g. badges, key fobs etc. Compare different providers and see who could benefit you Enticed by workforce management's low prices? Compare providers What are workforce management systems?Workforce management systems can track employees by department, as well as tracking additional information such as mealtimes, breaks, attendance and punctuality. Annual leave, compassionate leave and specific circumstances (such as jury service) can all be included, and details such as the employee's department and output can be added. Routine tasks such as regular inspection routes can also be included.Planning capability allows you to timetable shifts with ease, ensuring that everyone works the correct number of hours, taking into account rest days and compliance with the Working Time Directive (WTD). This is especially helpful if you employ casual workers, or operate variable shift patterns. Workforce management systems can handle multiple and complex information sources easily.You can read more about the best types of modern timesheet software here. Importance of workforce managementThe COVID-19 pandemic lead to a huge increase in remote working. Despite, or perhaps because of this massive boom in remote working, it's more important than ever to keep on top of your employees' output and activity.Workforce management has always been important, but if you don't have eyes on your employees, you'll still want to keep tabs on your business's output. Workforce management software affords businesses the ability to isolate weak links in the chain, and work quickly to strengthen them.Even outside of a remote working context, having an organised and objective metric of your employees' work, information, and statistics is indispensable for any business looking to optimise their workflow. Begin comparing various providers today Any business with a large enough workforce can benefit from workforce management software Receive quotes How to choose the best systemThere are a wide range of possibilities to consider when looking into workforce management systems for the first time. It's important to think carefully about the exact needs of your business, not only now, but in the future.A workforce management system can be expensive, and you don't want to end up with one which becomes obsolete further down the line. For this reason, you may be better off purchasing or leasing a full bespoke installation, specifically tailored to your needs.What is your workforce like?Begin by deciding what you want the system to do for you. Which key areas of your operation do you want to address? How will you evaluate the success of your installation? It's not just about deciding which features you want, but more about ensuring you have a system that solves your problems for you. You'll want to consider:How many employees do you have, and across how many sites?Will you need multiple access sites or just one?Will staff clock in using punchcards, swipe cards, mobile phones, or biometrics such as fingerprints?Who will be administering the system?You may feel that allowing senior staff to manage their own department is a powerful incentive for them to work towards improvement.What information do you need?Consider the quality of information you need. Some systems may overload you with unnecessary information, and no-one has the time or inclination to plough through reams of superfluous data. You should aim for efficient filtering to provide information that is both useful and accessible.How flexible is your proposed system? Every business is different and has different working procedures, which the system will need to accommodate.Can your chosen system be customised on an ongoing basis if your operations change?What do you need in a product?Choose your provider carefully. Some companies sell their own systems, so they are unlikely to tell you if a rival product is better for you. But they will have full ownership of the system, and can probably customise it more easily if required.Agencies that re-sell products are likely to have lower overheads, as they don't need to support development costs. They can also offer a wider range of products, but they will have less direct access to the systems, which could make it difficult if you need a customised solution.Check exactly what is included in your deal. Does it cover installation, staff training, and implementation of the system? Confirm arrangements for after sales support, and the situation regarding any future development and upgrading.What is the life span of the product?Are upgrades free or included in your deal?Be aware of the dangers of getting tied into a long term contract; you may be stuck with a system that no longer meets your needs. However, if you make a one-off purchase, you want to know that product support will continue for older versions if you choose not to upgrade.A good supplier will work with you to ensure that you end up with the system you need, rather than merely try to sell you a product. Verdict Installing a workforce management system for your business is a big decision, possibly involving significant financial outlay. So it's important you fully consider all your options and your specific requirements before committing yourself.Purchasing the right system will give you a good return on your investment, but a wrong decision could result in a system that does not meet your needs. By completing our zero-commitment quote comparison tool, Expert Market will help put you on the right track.In today's financial market, ensuring that your business operates with maximum efficiency is crucial, so why not take the first step towards improving your business efficiency with a high quality time and attendance system? Frequently asked questions What is the role of workforce management? Workforce management serves to keep track of your employees' activity. This refers to not only their attendance (their coming and going), but their activity during work, like their output and hours. This can serve as a useful touchpoint with employees when a business is remote, or has more than a handful of employees. Why are workforce management tools important? With remote working becoming more and more standardised, it's important to keep on top of your employees' output and activity. Workforce management services allow you to see a bird's eye view of your entire business and how your employees are coping with their workloads, as well as their attendance and HR records. How can workforce management systems boost productivity? Workforce management systems can't do much themselves to bolster productivity, but when used correctly, business owners can get a sense of which employees are doing which tasks. This can allow them to more effectively delegate and distribute work loads to optimise output. I have a small business, do I need workforce management software? If we're being honest, probably not. Any business with under ten employees probably won't need workforce management software, as you'll likely be able to check in on them physically without the help of a managing body. Still, if you find your time is better used elsewhere, workforce management software would still work perfectly well in any business. Which workforce management tool is best for a large business? Though almost any workforce management software will work for any business, we favour Mitrefinch and Bodet, as both offer a wide range of features that can be a huge help for anyone looking at workforce management software. Some highlights include Mitrefinch's task automation and ability to manage remote and part-time working, and Bodet's synchronisation with other HR services, and employee portal. Written by: Duncan Lambden Software Expert Duncan (BA in English Textual Studies and Game Design) is one of Expert Market's local Software Experts. His articles focus on ecommerce platforms and business software that allows small businesses to improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on invoice financing, project management, and customer relations. Reviewed by: Maïté Bouhali Business Software Editor Maite began her career with Expert Market nearly four years ago as a writer. She quickly developed a passion for the challenges faced by small businesses and now endeavours to help them make informed decisions for their future. In her current position as Business Software Editor, Maite works closely with writers to ensure that each article is informative, well-researched, engaging, and actionable for readers. With extensive knowledge of CRM, vehicle tracking devices, and fuel cards, she is meticulous in her review of each article and provides detailed feedback before publication. Whether you're seeking to stay informed on the latest trends in business software or need guidance in selecting the most appropriate software for your organisation's needs, Maite is here to help. With her sharp eye for detail and commitment to quality, she is dedicated to supporting businesses in achieving their goals.