4 min read

Why is having the right HR technology for your workforce plans so important?

Have you ever asked yourself whether your HR technology tools work effectively with other business functions like Finance, Operations, or Sales? What if I told you that using the right tech tools to analyze data is essential to the success of your strategic workforce planning—and ultimately benefits your company in myriad ways, including attracting and retaining more skilled and innovative employees, more effectively collaborating with your lines of business and their HR partners to optimize current and future operational workforce performance, and aligning to deliver on the company’s overall business strategy?

Workday and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) surveyed nearly 400 professionals who are involved in strategic workforce planning at their organization. Their survey found that the lack of analytics capabilities is one of the biggest barriers to using data and analytics effectively for strategic workforce planning. In this blog, I’ll dive deeper into the survey results and discuss the importance of properly integrating workforce planning (WFP) technology with other business functions, as well as give an overview of what technology options are available.

Ability to analyze data is critical to making timely decisions

As I mentioned earlier, the survey found that the lack of analytics capabilities is a challenge for many organizations when it comes to strategic WFP—less than half (45 percent) said that their WFP team is effective at analyzing data. Other challenges cited by companies include:

  • Utilizing predictive analytics (71 percent)
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  • Accessing data that spans the entire talent lifecycle (66 percent)
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  • Integrating data from other business functions (61 percent)

Considering that companies are generating more and more data daily means these challenges won’t get any easier to overcome. Jenna Filipkowski, director of research at HCI and author of the survey points out that “with the sheer volume of data systems in use across workforce planning, integrating human capital management systems is invaluable, especially for executives and leaders who need to have a real-time view of their workforce in order to make timely decisions.”

Tools and technologies used for strategic WFP need to work together effectively

Companies not only need to manage their increasing store of data, but considering that the data used for WFP comes from a variety of sources (including from the HR department, an existing HRIS system, and recruiting), they also need to manage their data effectively. However, the survey found that many companies use several different processes for managing their data.

“It is not uncommon for companies to have one tool for goal-setting and performance management, another system for applicant tracking, and separate spreadsheets for succession planning and talent management and development,” says Filipkowski.

This is compounded by technology tools not being integrated with other business functions. As I highlighted earlier, a large majority (61 percent) of survey respondents say that the lack of integration is the top tech barrier to strategic WFP, followed by a lack of resources (62 percent). Additionally, 58 percent of respondents cite that their current technology solutions are unable to effectively handle the necessary data and analytics.

Spreadsheets and non-vendor created solutions are far from ideal for WFP

Let’s talk about spreadsheets—it’s an addiction of sorts that’s been difficult for many people to break away from. Yet, even though spreadsheets are known to be error-prone and eventually difficult to manage, 90 percent of survey respondents say they use spreadsheets for WFP—and of these companies, 83 percent of them use templates that were developed internally. We dive into why spreadsheets are far from the ideal solution or many types of planning, including WFP, in our white paper “7 reasons to replace spreadsheets.”

The numbers for technology solutions aren’t much better: 31 percent of respondents say their company uses a technology solution that was developed internally, while 20 percent use a solution developed by a vendor. These numbers are especially interesting when you take into account that 8 out of 10 companies that do not use a vendor-provided solution say that their technology is very far or far from ideal. In contrast, only 49 percent of companies that use a vendor solution say the same—which is better, but still higher than ideal.

Why Anaplan for HR?

The recurring theme throughout this blog is simple: Many technology tools (including spreadsheets) simply aren’t up to the task of modern-day workforce planning, which requires integration with multiple business functions across the enterprise globally. Anaplan has partnered with Workday to enable your team to collect all data and act on that data on one platform—for example, you can collaborate with your executive team to determine a prioritized list of roles to recruit for that will be in line with strategic objectives for the company.

To learn more about how Anaplan can help drive integration between your strategic workforce plans and other business functions, watch this video.