Today’s strong focus on talent has made the workforce arguably the most important asset of most organizations. If you haven’t already, it’s time to leverage that asset by implementing a workforce planning strategy. But first, what is workforce planning? This definition from BusinessDictionary.com puts it pretty well:
“The systematic identification and analysis of what an organization is going to need in terms of the size, type, and quality of workforce to achieve its objectives. It determines what mix of experience, knowledge, and skills are required, and it sequences steps to get the right number of the right people.”
So why aren’t more organizations taking advantage of the perks of workforce planning? It just so happens that there are a few common barriers that inhibit an effective workforce planning process, identified by SHRM.org:
- Time frame – Managers are often looking for immediate, noticeable results and get discouraged or impatient when their workforce planning process doesn’t provide that immediate gratification.
- Fluctuation of employees – Managers are often uncomfortable implementing a strategy for their team when the head count and skill level is subject to variation
- Control – Some managers are tied to their gut feeling, which may not line up with what’s best for their workforce planning strategy.
- Detail – Some managers just don’t know which level to start implementing their strategy—broad labor categories, narrower job families, individual jobs, or actual skillsets? SHRM.org suggests beginning with high-level job categories.
- Forecasting – Traditional methods for predicting team members’ risk for turnover or retirement are often not accurate, especially with the unpredictability of the new generations entering the workforce, making it difficult to develop a strategy around them.
All obstacles aside, workforce planning should still be a major component for your HR department’s to-do list. Workforce.com gives some reasons as to why this is the case:
- Being prepared for hiccups such as layoffs or unexpected turnover is better than being unpleasantly surprised
- Being prepared also gives your employees and outsiders the impression that your organization is prepared, organized, and concerned with the wellbeing of its employees
- HR can be more effective when they are aware of the business cycle
- It allows for identifying problems before they become major problems
- It acts as a barrier to prevent new problems from arising
- It allows for the organization and the individual to take advantage of other opportunities rather than worrying about turnover and other negatives
Implementing a workforce planning strategy is an effective way for HR to optimize and retain talent in your organization. If you’re looking for a workforce planning solution, visit our talent management solutions on our website at today!