Workforce Planning

In most companies, headcount is the largest element of controllable cost typically accounting for 35-40% of total expenditure. As such, managing it tightly is essential if an organization is to hit its targets. As companies increasingly use a mix of full and part time employees and contractors to keep their workforce adaptable and aligned with the changing needs of the business, it becomes imperative to give line managers a flexible solution so they can get their resourcing right. That means having the right number of people with the right skills in the right place at the right time.  At the same time, finance needs a deep insight into how the numbers are made up if they are to engage in an informed discussion with business managers and influence the numbers.

But workforce management is not just about improved cost control. On one hand, over-staffing results in expensive over-capacity that directly impacts the profit and loss account. But under-staffing can be damaging too as it may lead to service failures that impact short-term revenues or delays in strategically important programs that are critical to sustaining competitiveness and long term revenue generation.

Because of the wide variety of ways in which workforce planning solutions are used across the business, selecting one that satisfies both the needs of departmental managers and the finance function needs careful evaluation. Here’s our checklist of the considerations that we encounter the most.

Easy Inter-Departmental Transfers

People are always moving between roles and departments; managing this movement needs to be as simple as possible without having to go through multiple steps such as transferring employees out and then transferring them in.  In Anaplan, an individual can exist in multiple dynamic hierarchies—by skill set, by location, etc. and with listings in different departments. But regardless of where they are shown, their expenses always go to a designated cost center based on the effective dates they were transferred into or out of it. This means individuals can be moved around within the company without having to restructure the model, significantly improving user productivity.

Flexible Time Periods

Not everyone using the a workforce planning solution will want to work with the same time periods—some wanting to work in months, while others involved in shift planning may need to work in hours. Many such solutions struggle to cope with models that use a variety of time periods, but not Anaplan. Regardless of what time periods are being used, expenses are automatically rolled up in the appropriate monthly view for financial forecasts and reports.

Keeping Staffing Aligned With Demand

Many organizations use workforce planning solutions to see how demand forecasts translate into staffing requirements so they can identify gaps that need to be recruited for or excess capacity that needs addressing. This makes it important to select a solution in which it is easy to write and amend business rules and set up alerts for upcoming capacity constraints.

If users cannot do that themselves and have to call on internal IT resource or external consultants, they tend to abandon the solution and resort back to using off-line spreadsheets. Using Anaplan, authorized users can easily integrate demand forecasts from other models or even external data sources and non-technical users have the ability to define, manage and adjust business rules, completely removing the dependency on IT.

Dynamic Scenario Analysis

It is imperative that a solution provides the ability to re-plan on the fly in order to cope with short term disruptions such as sickness or unexpected large orders.  With Anaplan, the ease with which users can copy and amend models coupled with real-time calculation means they can make changes to highly granular models that go right down to individual employee and get the results on the fly – even when they are in the middle of a meeting.

Rapid model building

Because the solution is cloud-based, users can sign up and get started with Anaplan in a matter of minutes without waiting for their place in the IT queue for hardware or software to be installed and tested. And because Anaplan provides a Workforce Planning app to kick start the implementation—that uses familiar business syntax, drag-and-drop hierarchies and built-in logic for time, versions, and scenarios—model building takes just a fraction of the time of a traditional software deployment.

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