Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)

Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)

What is Workforce Engagement Management?

Workforce engagement management (WEM) is a term coined by Gartner that refers to a suite of software tools used by organizations to enhance employee engagement throughout employees’ journey with a company—from onboarding to the exit interview.


It’s an evolution of workforce optimization (WFO), which is focused on managing labor and related costs through the optimization of labor productivity. WEM, on the other hand, is more employee-centric and is designed to support several aspects of employee engagement, including recruitment, onboarding, evaluation, time management, and metrics.


The transition of WFO to WEM was driven by the high employee turnover rates that a number of organizations have had to contend with through the years. It essentially improves upon labor management by directing the focus towards performance management and enhancing the overall employee experience through development and engagement programs.


The advantage of WEM is its added focus on enhancing employee engagement and retention. It’s designed as a holistic solution that supports other aspects of the business using a suite of multidisciplinary software tools.

Why Employee Engagement Matters

Engaged employees treat their jobs as more than a paycheck because they feel a sense of “belonging” to the organization. Keeping them engaged makes them more likely to invest in their jobs and the organization, leading to higher productivity and quality of work.


On the other hand, disengaged employees only do the bare minimum because they are less involved with the mission and vision of the organization. A study by Dale Carnegie indicates that employees seek more than a paycheck and that there are three main factors that drive employee engagement:

  • Trust in the company
  • Good relationships with coworkers and management
  • Pride in being part of the organization

Employee engagement goes beyond providing benefits and perks; it’s important to create an environment that encourages involvement and fosters a spirit of camaraderie and collaboration. In this regard, employee communication is vital.


A company that listens to its employees improves trust, commitment, and empowers them to give their best in what they do. This sense of commitment also helps decrease attrition rates because employees feel that the company’s success is also theirs. Keeping communication lines open also helps maintain employee-management alignment regarding what to expect from each other.

How to Measure Workplace Engagement

To properly measure workplace engagement, it’s vital to create a clear strategy and determine long-term goals. Measurement is an important aspect of workplace engagement because it identifies how engagement contributes to the organization’s larger goals.


The following tips will help you make objective and specific measurements of workplace engagement:

  • Determine specific outcomes.
    Engagement outcomes should represent the current sentiments and behaviors of engaged employees. When communicating with employees, the organization should gather information about perceptions of advocacy, organizational pride, and intent to stay. The goal of determining outcomes isn’t to propose specific actions but to identify targets that should be improved or maintained.
  • Identify what employees value the most.
    It’s important to determine “engagement drivers” through actionable questions that evaluate levels of employee engagement. These questions may include topics like value and recognition, career development and future plans, trust in management, and other individual factors.

Some drivers may be common among employees, but they will differ based on the value placed on them by individual employees. These drivers help an organization determine what programs are needed by understanding the factors that impact employee engagement.

  • Develop a strategy of continuous listening.
    Regular employee surveys are better than sporadic and less frequent ones because employee sentiments change over time. You should find ways to measure the different aspects of engagement to ensure that your organization  gets an accurate representation of employee voice. Real-time feedback is vital, especially in fast-paced working environments where issues may arise at any moment. Lifecycle surveys are also useful for measuring perceptions during key moments in the employee journey. 

What is WEM in a Contact Center?

Contact centers are known for being fast-paced and target-driven. In an environment where numbers and statistics count for a lot, it is crucial that there be a focus on employee or agent engagement. For contact centers, WEM focuses on specific aspects that include the following:

  • Call recording
    Call recording software is important in the measurement of agent performance in a contact center. It not only helps in evaluations, it’s also useful as a coaching tool to improve agent performance.
  • Quality monitoring
    Modern quality monitoring and management software solutions leverage the power of analytics to ensure meaningful interactions that will improve overall customer experience. Effective coaching helps both in improving these interactions and increasing agent engagement because it shows that your organization is prepared to invest in their development.
  • Performance management
    Effective performance management solutions encourage agents to focus on self-development and growth. It provides them with personal performance data that they can use as a baseline to set future goals and focus on areas of improvement.
  • Workforce management
    Workforce management solutions take a more holistic approach by providing data and forecasts on contact volume, scheduling, and headcount requirements. It ensures that workloads are effectively distributed and productivity is maximized. It allows an organization to change schedules as needed, especially when there is a surge in contact volume.

What are the 3 Ways to Implement WEM Tactics in a Contact Center?

Contact center agents face a variety of challenges on a daily basis. As such, it’s critical that they get the tools and support they need. Focusing on the following aspects will help organizations implement WEM effectively.

Accomplishing Performance Standards

Timely feedback is key in a contact center because customer satisfaction relies on making every customer interaction meaningful and productive. Contact centers should find the best schedule for training or coaching agents, especially if they aren’t reaching specific metrics or KPI’s. Optionally, contact centers can schedule regular learning programs or webinars for the continuous development of agents.

Adjustable Scheduling

Most contact centers offer 24/7 service to its customers, and this can lead to agent burnout if scheduling isn’t managed effectively. Many contact center agents face long hours and large contact volumes that lead to stress-related issues. Stress is a major factor that leads to disengaged employees, dips in productivity, and even absenteeism.


Flexible schedules allow employees to achieve work-life balance while also allowing the organization to meet industry demands. Organizations, where possible, can offer employees the option to choose their preferred working schedule or allow them to work remotely if there’s a system in place to support it.

Digital Adoption

Providing the tools agents need means thinking well into the future and predicting what they will need in the long term. Modern requirements require modern solutions, and going digital is the most efficient way to ensure that agents are always productive and engaged. It’s important to understand, however, that digital adoption doesn’t just mean purchasing the best tools available, but rather taking the best tools and ensuring that they are properly implemented and adopted by employees. Whether that’s via a digital adoption platform or through other means of software training and enablement.

Workforce Engagement Management Tools

Technological advances have led to a multitude of digital solutions for WEM. Below are the most common tools used by contact centers.

  • Salesforce workforce engagement management
    The Salesforce solution is designed to forecast workforce capacity and demand for better planning. It allows companies to meet the conditions necessary for agents to do their best work and provides on-demand training sessions for continuous improvement. Features include agent schedule optimization, timely feedback and coaching for agents, and intelligent forecasts across all channels.
  • Genesys workforce engagement management
    The Genesys WEM offering is cloud-based and AI-powered to meet the demands of modern companies. It leverages text and speech analytics for sentiment analysis and identifying key events in the employee journey. It encourages engagement through gamification and incentives and helps in the long-term planning of workforce requirements and budget and resource allocation. Features include quality and assurance monitoring, automatic call distribution (ACD), and automated routing.
  • Talkdesk workforce engagement management
    Talkdesk provides a seamless experience through its integrated WEM system that helps make managing, training, and coaching agents easier and more intuitive. AI-powered forecasting, scheduling, and knowledge management provides more efficiency and helps deliver actionable insights. Features include interaction recording, a unified agent workspace, automated agent assistance, and a mobile app for agents on the go.

The 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement

Gartner defines WEM as “a collection of technologies that expands on those of the mature workforce optimization (WFO) market by addressing functions that help increase employee engagement within customer service departments.”


The 2021 Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement states that WEM has not been embraced by most companies and is looked upon by the majority as a solution that improves operational performance instead of employee experience. The report is Gartner’s evaluation of seven companies that are considered leaders in the marketplace, providing a magic quadrant—a graph that illustrates the companies’ ability to execute and completeness of vision. The 2021 magic quadrant includes the following companies:

  • Aspect Software
  • Calabrio
  • Eleveo
  • Genesys
  • Lifesize
  • NICE
  • Verint

How is WEM Connected to Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation has become a buzzword in recent years, with companies finding ways to “go digital” and meet growing business demands through modern solutions. The global pandemic has only accelerated the expansion of this trend, and the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that digital transformation investment will grow up to $6.8 trillion by 2023.


Digital transformation is not a simple task by any means. The crux of digital transformations is getting employees on board. Senior managers need to involve employees in the process and align expectations so employees are aware of what to expect. Ultimately, a digital transformation benefits everyone, but employees need to be made aware of which changes are occurring and why they are taking place. Open communication between employees and the ones responsible for digital transformation is key, but it can be a challenge. 


Organizations should consider employee engagement solutions that will help disseminate information effectively and provide a centralized source of data that members of the organization can access when needed. Making relevant information about the digital transformation accessible will help employees understand the entire digital transformation process, making the transition as seamless as possible.

How to Keep Employees Happy at Work

To keep employees happy, organizations should go beyond perks and focus on the relationships between employees and leadership. Below are a few tips on how to keep employees happy in the workplace:

  • Develop and maintain trust and respect.
    Go beyond words and let employees determine the best course of action in certain situations. Four Seasons embraces this expression of trust by telling their employees to do whatever they think is right when servicing the customer. This empowers employees to do their best and come up with creative ideas to enhance the customer experience.
  • Be fair.
    Employees expect to be treated the same way regardless of position and tenure. employees become disengaged if they feel that they’re being treated unfairly. Salesforce proved their commitment to the fair treatment of employees by balancing out the salary gaps between people in the same positions or roles within the company.
  • Listen.
    Be the kind of listener that connects with all kinds of people. Be humble and listen to understand, not to reply. Listening means putting one’s self in the other person’s shoes and coming up with the best idea or solution that benefits everyone. Let employees feel that what they say matters.

Updated: October 26, 2022

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