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Part 2: 8 keys to a successful strategic workforce planning implementation

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A comprehensive approach to workforce planning, featuring insights from the Human Capital Institute—part 2

In this second blog of a two-part series, I’ll dive into the last four keys the Human Capital Institute (HCI) recommends for implementing a successful strategic workforce plan. (See part 1 here.)

Without further ado:

Key 5: Construct a detailed plan of how the organization and the workplace environment should look in the coming years.

Markets are always evolving. Demographics change, new regions become stale while old ones are revived, and consumer demands shift. To stay competitive, you should consider advances in both technological and operational norms—for example, new technologies can help you stay on top of required headcount for new markets or redistribute headcount based on consumer demand.

Having a process that facilitates conversations with your lines of business leaders and their HR counterparts is essential for surfacing future skills needs—and having the right strategic workforce planning solution can help you with that. The first step is to determine what skill sets are needed for getting ahead of disruptors (trends- or technology-based) in your current market and new markets, as well as for newly identified channels to deliver your products or services (e.g., online vs. big box stores). The process should also encompass identifying trends in how your workforce of the future is deployed and address questions such as how the growing trend of having virtual teams will impact office space requirements.

Key 6: Identify gaps between the current state of the workforce and the desired future state of your organization.

This goes back to Key 4 discussed in the first blog, which outlines the importance of inventorying and evaluating the current workforce and management. After gathering the information about your workforce, you can now use the data to compare and see whether your current workforce meets your company’s needs in the near future. If new skill sets or training is necessary, you can develop a timeline for transitioning the workforce to ensure you stay ahead of competitors.

Key 7: Build in a repeatable action plan to revise pieces (or all) of your workforce planning process to better reflect organizational changes or new talent source system initiatives that require integration.

Change happens. Full collaboration among people, data, and technology is key to effective workforce planning process maintenance. As mentioned in Key 1 and according to the HCI report, the strategic workforce planning process should flow throughout the organization and be repeated as necessary for greatest success. However, only 55 percent of respondents reported revising their strategic workforce plans on a yearly basis, while 13 percent said they “never” revise their plans. On top of that, 12 percent said they revise their plans biannually, and the remaining 12 percent do it quarterly.

Key 8: Monitor and report quantitative and qualitative benchmarks and milestones to stakeholders and management.

According to the survey, the lack of analytic capabilities is one of the biggest barriers to using data effectively for strategic workforce planning and is driving strong demand for corporate talent management software.

And no wonder: Less than half of survey participants reported that their workforce planning team analyzes data effectively (45 percent). Seventy-one percent cited utilizing predictive talent analytics as one of the top challenges, while 66 percent said the ability to access data spanning the entire talent lifecycle was a challenge. Additionally, 66 percent of respondents said tying talent data to business outcomes was difficult and 61 percent had trouble integrating data from other business functions.

As you can see, strategic workforce planning is still a challenge for many companies. However, with a solution like Anaplan Workforce Planning in place, you can plan for and optimize the workforce as needed so your organization can gain and maintain its competitive edge.

For more information on how Anaplan helps HR departments, watch the workforce planning video.

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