8 Things To Consider Before Building a Workforce Planning
Everybody knows that nowadays it’s critical for companies to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time and with the right competences to execute the business strategy. Workforce planning is a key element to your business success. It has become increasingly important for organizations over the last several years; this exercise enables you to identify and analyze what your company is going to need in terms of the size, type, and quality of workforce to achieve its objectives.
So let’s take a look at the 8 things to consider before building your Workforce Planning.
“IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL.”
- NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
- Secure your data: All planning must begin with a clear picture of the current situation. For workforce planning, it is essential to capture the qualitative and quantitative data of your employees. But your data has to be secured and representative; managers have to evaluate their direct reports with the same understanding of their proficiency levels.
- Understand the vision: The strategy is not a guide that all organizations should read for predicting and anticipating their future. By consequence, top management must share their vision and the direction in which the company is going. This can be translated into business drivers for evolution over long-term.
- Do not forget the attrition rate: Workforce planning enables managers to develop a better understanding of the areas which need to be strengthened. By including the attrition rate of your employees before projecting your future needs, you will get a more accurate analysis.
- Unity is strength: HR plays a critical role in the workforce planning process but it is not the only ones. A successful workforce planning requires the support of managers and financial experts. On one hand, managers help HR to make the best of their resources. If they are well supported and trained, they can give a clear team overview of jobs portfolio and anticipate workforce needs at their team level. On the other hand, the finance department gives more visibility on HR action costs by detailing the future workforce quantitatively.
- Be part of the future: As I stated above, workforce planning is a strategic exercise, not a short-term one. The goal is not to slot employees onto project teams or into schedules, but to ensure talent managers prepare a future workforce and secure the availability of internal resources to be ready to face the challenges ahead and execute company objectives. This is usually somewhere between two and five years but this could be higher for some areas like the energy sector companies.
- Break the wall of uncertainty.: Workforce Planning will not present you the right direction if you only capture the career evolution desired by the employees. Therefore, your strategic requirements have to be combined with the global mega trends especially the ones which will impact your business beyond the forecast time frame.
- There is no one single path: When you have identified the current workforce needs and forecasted the future demands, you can then identify competence or quantitative gaps. But the most important action is to put in place the processes to bridge these gaps. The “solution analysis” must include the HR actions, such recruitment, mobility, training courses or any other development solutions like coaching, development paths, etc. Of course, several scenarios could be produced at this stage.
- Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal: This is the most important step of your workforce planning. Each business unit should define action plan scenarios to close the gaps by monitoring the HR actions planned in the relevant scenario. For example, if your priority in the Marketing department is to develop the competences in digital, the manager can implement this following action: three days training on digital marketing for five team members before the end of November. The workforce planning team should also be briefed regularly to evaluate the success of the strategies and to make adjustments where necessary.
Conclusion: Starting small
To conclude, attempting workforce planning for an entire organization for the first time is a lot of work and can limit program success. Starting small, with several critical jobs, will help to build internal credibility and solidify your support. Another solution could be to combine Workforce Planning with an HR tool, i.e. SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics.