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Bundled vs. Best: Why Standalone WFM Solutions Outrank Bundled HCM Tools

Jul 19, 2022

Survey Results: How Businesses Are Addressing Negative Employee Experience

Everyone’s naturally on the lookout for a deal.

Special sale days, 20% off this, “buy one, get one” offers for that—the idea of getting more bang for your buck is enticing. That’s even more the case if you’re in the market for workforce management solutions. This purchase, after all, will not only be in use for a long time but will also have a major impact on how efficiently your entire organization operates. And companies must balance budget pressures with acquiring the capabilities the business needs to get the job done.

One can easily see how attractive—at least at first glance—a human capital management (HCM) platform bundled with workforce management (WFM) capabilities can be. But according to a recent survey by Nucleus Research, organizations should remember the old warning “buyer beware.”

In their WFM Satisfaction Survey 2022, customers were surveyed about their chosen workforce management solutions, and the findings show that more than 50% of bundled HCM/WFM users were dissatisfied and would rather their organization had implemented a standalone WFM solution instead.

But why—what’s the difference between bundled and standalone that’s big enough to make half of all respondents regret their choice? Let’s take a look and see the specifics of what makes standalone WFM platforms like the WorkForce Suite so appealing.

More Robust Capabilities

Standalone WFM’s have more capabilities and higher functionality than bundled HCM suites. HCMs “bundle” for a reason; they’re simple solutions designed for simple problems, covering the bare basics for managing a workforce whose needs are far more complicated.

Those surveyed made it clear that the options offered by standalone solutions such as the WorkForce Suite were very important to them. The most important capabilities singled out by users were scheduling, employee self-service, compliance management, analytics and reporting, and labor forecasting.

For example, scheduling automation can reduce the amount of time spent creating and adjusting schedules by an average of 75%. Users who manually schedule their workforce typically spend 3% to 6% more on labor due to unexpected overtime costs and schedule padding.

The ability to use these powerful tools in concert allowed managers and teams to operate efficiently no matter what issues arose.

Employee Experience

A key theme that’s emerged in the new post-pandemic economy has been the importance of employee experience. As labor has more leverage than ever, it’s important your workforce is supported in their roles not only to make their work easier but also to make being a worker easier. Allowing employees greater independence within their organizations (by enabling digital access to their own employment data and payroll information, more efficient communications with management, and simpler time-off requests—among other things) leads them to become more engaged and more satisfied with their positions.

A positive employee experience (EX) has been shown to pay dividends for organizations that implement a smart EX strategy. Implementing dedicated solutions for modern workforce management can decrease turnover by 30% to 60%. The average shift manager can save approximately 15 minutes every week by implementing employee self-service, with one organization saving $1.2 million annually. By putting many HR/admin functions directly into workers’ hands, not only is HR itself freed up to focus on more pressing long-term issues, but employees feel like a more important part of their organization and are less likely to seek other opportunities—which reduces costly turnover, retention, and hiring issues.

Higher ROI

For every touted capability or promise of ease of use, the bottom line for any company is their actual bottom line: “Is this platform going to save my organization money?” The research shows a resounding yes. Standalone workforce management platforms show a return of over 1200% for every dollar invested. With predictive AI analytic tools, you can make crucial decisions long before changing in circumstances begin costing your business. For example, the WorkForce Suite’s labor optimization function can reduce total labor spending by more than 5% on average.
Workforce management is not there to complicate, interrupt, or interfere with your existing company structures. It should work with your current environment and optimize it to run with greater ease and less cost!

Better Suited for Departments With Emerging Needs

While things have improved globally in the wake of the pandemic and its effects (the Great Resignation, labor shortages, supply chain issues), economists are now worried about an economic slowdown and recession. And standalone WFM’s are the clear victors in such an environment for the same reasons that they have a greater ROI. With a more specialized approach and ability to tackle and provide more efficiency, automation, and labor optimization than HCM suites, WFM’s can handle the minute adjustments necessary in departments of emerging need that will be affected the hardest by economic issues. While HCMs can handle certain types and sizes of business, the system of differentiation required to mitigate these issues are just beyond their “one size fits all” capabilities. HCMs are a lightweight solution designed to handle lightweight problems; a standalone, dedicated WFM platform provides all the tools and information your organization needs to thrive.


As companies have raced to add digital capabilities to their businesses after the pandemic, modern workforce management solutions have become a greater necessity to their success. Due to high turnover rates and general difficulty attracting talent, staffing industries with a large hourly workforce has become more complex, requiring advanced solutions for the most efficient response. Hybrid HCM suites with a subset of workforce management capabilities are simply not robust enough to handle the complex troubleshooting inherent in the modern workplace. A dedicated best-of-breed solution such as the WorkForce Suite is capable not only of better handling workforce management issues that arise but also of cutting back on costs immensely.

Read the full Nucleus WFM Satisfaction Survey report and learn how standalone workforce management solutions like the WorkForce Suite provide the highest ROI and can innovate faster in the areas of greatest change.

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