Unlocking the Benefits of Workforce Planning

At the core level, enterprises desire and need great talent to succeed. If you employ people who are smart, capable and passionate about
what they do, you greatly improve your organization’s chances for long-term success. But no great staff falls into place simply through random
chance. Great talent, and the organizational success that follows from it, are almost always the result of careful planning.

It should be
common sense that workforce
planning is the key
to ensuring you have the right talent in place and plans for ensuring you always have the skills and competencies necessary for organizational success. But, you’d be surprised at
how many organizations struggle with this concept. Either they don’t understand
the benefits that planning deliver or there are problems in execution. Either way, companies and government agencies that fail to map out a comprehensive strategic plan are placing their organizations at risk.

benefits of workforce planning

There are many
organizations today, unfortunately, that go about meeting their staffing needs
using a relatively slipshod process. Rather than craft a long-term plan of
attack, they focus more on getting by from day to day, adding or replacing a person here and
a person there without looking at the big picture. Faced with unexpected departures and retirements, it’s a reactive rather than proactive approach.

This is seemingly the
easy way to do things, but it’s not optimal or thoughtful — or really even the easy way, given that it leads to so many other problems through talent shortcomings. According to the Queensland (Australia) Public Service Commission (PSC), there are many benefits that come from
planning more carefully. The most important one is simply aligning your people
with your organizational goals – whatever your agency or company wants to accomplish in
the long run, you need to make sure your talent is up to the challenge. In
addition, workforce planning can help detect and solve skills gaps, as well as
help you win out attracting great talent.

With all of
this in mind, the Queensland PSC recommends an overhaul of the workforce
planning process. The commission’s study found that organizations will be in
much better position to succeed if they align their employees with their goals,
identify their current talent shortcomings and build a stronger talent


barriers to planning success

On paper, it
looks fairly clear that
improving workforce
is a constructive step for any organization. It must be asked,
therefore – why aren’t more executives doing embracing better, more 
sophisticated workforce planning. What’s holding them back?

According to
the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there are a few common barriers that
get in the way. One is the time frame required – many fear that they won’t be
able to achieve their big-picture talent goals simply because they take too
long to achieve. Other issues include concerns about data integrity,
uncertainty about control and accountability over the process and questions
about the appropriate level of attention to detail required.

All of these
issues are real, but they can be overcome. In the long run, the organizations
that invest in better planning will be the ones that get ahead and succeed in the long run — consistently.

will you get started?

There’s no
better time than the present to dive into workforce planning and start building a
smarter and more proactive organization. This process might seem daunting and complicated, but it can be done. Human
resources expert Ralph Christensen, in his book “Roadmap to Strategic
HR,” wrote that the first step is to identify the number of people you
need and the skills you’re looking for from each one. Once you’ve done that,
you can start crafting a strategy to attract them and bring them into your organization. Today, the best analytical tools that can help you achieve these goals have the sophistication needed to provide deep insight without requiring a high level of technical aptitude to use. 

talent, like procuring anything else in this world, is a matter of observing
basic economic principles like supply and demand, and combining that data with your organization’s unique situation, as well as external market forces. If you know what you need — now and in the future — and
understand the accompanying interacting forces — your organization will be well positioned to succeed in the long run. That’s why
workforce planning begins with understanding not only the
situation within your company, but the greater economic forces surrounding you. With that information at your fingertips, you can then make informed decisions about your
organization’s future.

To get ahead…to begin your workforce planning journey — get started. Just taking that first step will lead to surprising achievements — and a better workforce.

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