What Is the Difference Between WFM, WFO and WEM?


Dave Hoekstra at Calabrio and Paul Turner at Genesys discuss the key differences between Workforce Management (WFM), Workforce Optimization (WFO) and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM).

What Is the Difference Between WFM, WFO and WEM?

Dave Hoekstra (Calabrio)

Dave Hoekstra
Dave Hoekstra

WEM stands for Workforce Engagement Management, and it’s the evolution of the tools and the resources being managed.

If you look at Workforce Management, ‘management’ is a term that has a specific connotation.

Then we move to Workforce Optimization, the ‘O’ has another connotation to it.

And both of those are kind of implying that these are resources that need to be managed, and optimized, and very efficient, and really driving towards the optimization goal.

WEM expands the suite out into the role of how we really need to be engaging these resources, and making sure that they feel like they’re part of the overall success of the organization. As opposed to something that’s being optimized or managed.

Paul Turner (Genesys)

Paul Turner at Genesys
Paul Turner

Workforce Management mainly focuses on efficiency, supply and demand, ensuring that you have the right resources in at the right time. These solutions were generally around things such as service level, or speed of answer, or perhaps even occupancy.

Workforce Optimization was created when we started to link WFM solutions to other solutions, such as recording, quality management and performance management. Then we lifted that efficiency to the effectiveness of our employees.

Today we refer to this as Workforce Engagement. It builds upon WFO but then focuses on generating a positive experience for the employee.

You see additional things coming into that space, such as gamification and recognition, perhaps bringing in onboarding and recruitment, and things such as voice of the employee feedback, not just necessarily about the customer.

Dave Hoekstra (Calabrio)

WFM is a part of the whole. Think of WFM as one course of a meal, and WFO is the whole meal.

WFM WFO WEM Dinner Party Image

Well, we’ve now even moved to the new realm of WEM, where we might even be talking about the entire dinner party, as opposed to just the meal, where everything comes together.

WFM tends to focus very specifically on the forecasting and scheduling needs of the contact centre, getting the agent in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills.

And WFO tends to include tools such as quality monitoring, call recording, speech analytics, it’s the entire suite of packages.

And we’ve moved to the new, latest, greatest term WEM, Workforce Engagement Management, which brings in even more tools.

So, we’re now talking about looking at the entire organization of the chefs and the waiters in the restaurant, and everything building into the dinner party. We just keep expanding our acronyms to larger and larger software suites.

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Published On: 13th Sep 2022 - Last modified: 16th Dec 2022
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