Workforce Planning: Four Questions You Should Consider

September 11, 2018 | Workday | HCI
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In order to prepare for the future, companies are taking a long-term approach to attracting and retaining their employees. Companies are thinking less about filling positions quickly and instead, focusing on finding the best fit. It sounds simple, yet only 1 in 4 companies have a strategic approach to workforce planning (Aptitude Research Partners’ 2018 Hire, Engage, Retain study). With a shrinking talent pool, companies are looking to streamline recruitment operations, forecast staffing needs, and above all else, hire the best. As a result, workforce planning can no longer be ignored.

So, what exactly is workforce planning? And what impact does it have on talent management initiatives? At a basic level, workforce planning involves staffing and headcount planning. Companies at this stage are looking at numbers and considering what positions they need to fill today and in the future. At a more matured level, companies have a strategic approach to closing the gap between the supply versus demand for talent. They are creating models for scenario planning and talent segmentation.

The challenge with reaching this more mature level is that most companies think it is a quick fix. The key to success is to make a commitment to workforce planning, establish a process, and invest in the right partner.

Below are some questions that companies looking to embark on more strategic workforce planning should consider.

  • Who Owns Workforce Planning? Companies often get stuck moving forward with workforce planning when they don’t know who should own the process. Workforce planning benefits the entire organization not just HR and talent functions. HCM professionals can take ownership of workforce planning by creating focus groups, gaining executive buy-in, and researching providers.
  • Should We Do Scenario Planning? Organizations of all sizes can experience significant changes in products, leadership, mergers and acquisitions, and relocation. By investing in scenario planning, companies can stay prepared for this change and look to the future. Companies that evaluate different scenarios can stay more flexible to meet changes in the direction of the business.
  • Should Workforce Planning Include Contingent Workers? According to Aptitude Research Partners, 70% of companies are hiring contingent workers this year. Companies recognize the benefits of a flexible workforce and are looking for solutions that can provide a complete view of total talent at their organization. When constructing a workforce planning strategy, HR and procurement need to work together to ensure that both traditional and contingent workers are being considered.
  • What Metrics Matter? Companies need to continue to monitor and track workforce planning efforts. Identifying the metrics that matter will depend on your company’s goals and business priorities. Companies should consider providers that can include a snapshot of the entire company and drill down to teams and departments.

Workforce planning can have a significant impact on a company’s business goals. It is the one strategy that helps align talent with business initiatives, yet most companies do not know where to start. The good news is that we will be sharing some research and insights that can help you get started during a webinar on September 20.