Getting Workforce Planning right requires a smart balance of technology tools, scenario planning, advanced analytics and strategic insight.
First and foremost, for Workforce Planning to achieve its purpose, the CHRO/VP of HR either needs to have a seat at the strategy table or be kept informed about important business initiatives at their inception. Executive leadership knows where it wants to grow the business; the CHRO must be perceived as a chief ally in carrying this out.
The goal is to align long-term workforce needs with long-term strategic goals. Senior business leaders typically develop three-year strategic plans; HR and Talent Acquisition need to forecast workforce demands against this projection, identify challenges and ensure that needs are met. Since strategic plans are not static, this process must be dynamic. The evaluation of skill sets in relation to growth initiatives must be continuous.
The 8 Most Common Workforce Planning Pitfalls to Avoid
1. Lack of Commitment — This is not a short-term exercise or one-time event. It’s important to secure the appropriate commitment from the CEO, the business line leaders and the Workforce Planning Team.
2. Going Too Junior — You won’t reach the desired outcome if the Workforce Planning Team consists of junior people. Senior leaders must drive the initiative forward and flag changes in business strategy to alert Talent Acquisition of possible workforce consequences.
3. It’s an “HR Problem” — The CHRO often spearheads Workforce Planning and is a key player, but the business must own the process since it is tied to business strategy.
4. All Or Nothing — If you try to do too much at once, the process will become overwhelming and the team will give up. Start with a manageable pilot and grow from there.
5. Obsessing Over Stats — We’ve seen teams take one year to pull together stats. Use what you’ve got. Sometimes it’s a best guess, but don’t let the data derail the project.
6. Reactive Recruitment — One major advantage of Workforce Planning is that the company moves out of reactive mode. If the recruitment team is still only reactive, something is broken.
7. External-Only Recruitment Focus — don’t forget the wealth of internal skill sets already in the company. A good process includes internal mobility, succession planning and professional development. Include internal employees in the recruitment plan.
8. No Budget for Training — Part of Workforce Planning involves identifying internal talent you can move into key roles with some basic training. If no training budget exists, this internal talent cannot be leveraged.
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