When kicking off the workforce planning process, you’ll need to understand the typical types of workforce plans and also the team members needed for buy-in and successful outcomes.
There are 2 types of Workforce Plans.
1. Strategic Workforce Plan: aligns to the 3-5 year business plan. Today 3-year plans are more common than 5-year.
2. Operational Plan: aligns to the 12-18 month recruitment forecast.
Once CEO sponsorship is secured, focus on building the Workforce Planning team. The team depends on the size of the business, but ideally it consists of:
- HR Leader (who also has a seat at Business Planning table)
- HR Strategy point person
- Talent Acquisition professional
- Senior executive representing the overall business
- IT professional to access the required data
- Finance executive for input into tax incentives for operating in particular markets
The CHRO leader can spearhead the team, but all stakeholders must feel ownership for the plan. The stakeholders must be senior-level enough to ensure the team is informed quickly of business strategy changes. The project teams for implementation must be accountable to the heads of the business lines and head of the CHRO.
During the workforce planning process, HR and Talent Acquisition provide a critical central view into different business divisions. For example, one segment of the business may be downsizing while another needs to hire. HR and Talent Acquisition can connect these groups to avoid redundancy costs by redeploying people to the open roles (as appropriate).
Why Finance and IT?
Because they are the best possible partners. Finance can assist a keener understanding of tax, accounting, regulatory issues and pro forma studies pertaining to different types of labor. IT can gather the data needed to assess internal attrition rates, time-to-fill statistics, the percentage of positions that remain open beyond a certain threshold, and other insightful workforce analytics guiding more informed decisions. At the same time, IT can be called upon to undertake similar analyses of the external talent market in different geographic regions.
Project Management & Technology Needs
This approach requires traditional project management skills like the setting of objectives, assumptions and deliverables that are reviewed and challenged at specific milestones. It also insists upon the use of technology tools to aggregate needed data for analysis, such as time-to-fill rates, costs-per-hire, worker age rates, and other data sets critical to making informed, assured decisions.
When to Launch into the Workforce Planning Process
Workforce Planning is best done in conjunction with business planning and budgeting so that it informs the business planning exercise. This allows HR and Talent Acquisition leaders to challenge time frames and business assumptions made in the plan based on their knowledge of talent availability and time frames for hiring new talent. It also ensures that proper funds are allocated to recruitment and training.
If you are just getting started and it’s outside of the business planning cycle, it is better to begin than do nothing. However the objective should be to eventually align Workforce Planning with business planning.
Need support with Workforce Planning? Hudson has tools, processes and templates that can help you engage with your business leaders. Contact us
Get Hudson’s step-by-step guide to Strategic Workforce Planning titled “Strategic Workforce Planning: A Critical Differentiator for Businesses.” (No registration required). Click here to download.