In today’s talent-based economy, an organization’s workforce is one of its most important tangible assets. Despite its importance, this asset is often not carefully planned, measured, or optimized. This can mean that many organizations are not sufficiently aware of the current or future workforce gaps that will limit execution of the current business strategy. Yet at the same time, boards of directors, CEOs and chief human resource officers will frequently declare that workforce planning and data-driven decision making is a top priority for their organizations.
While there can be a disconnect in understanding why there is a gap between intent and execution, the most obvious cause is a lack of defining consistent objectives regarding the outputs of workforce planning, and a lack of consistent processes by which organizations conduct workforce planning and future modeling. Organizations need to design an approach that moves workforce planning from only being considered by a small group of those who think about the future of their workforce, to everyone looking at it’s overall operational effectiveness—this is where management is accustomed to spending its time and energy.
When creating a workforce strategy, there are five key workforce areas that are critical to driving successful business outcomes:
1) Defining Business Operations and Direction: The most critical step in strategic workforce planning is alignment—alignment of business strategy, organizational structure, people, and results. Ensure clarity around strategic objectives, then make sure you have a holistic organizational design and talent plan to drive getting the right people with the right skill set into the right role, thus delivering results.
2) Staffing & Talent Goals: Strategic workforce planning is a key component when looking at the overall talent strategy. It begins with understanding where the organization is headed; what are the future organizational capabilities? This helps the organization identify new skills and competencies needed to create learning and developing opportunities. This is turn, helps define the talent acquisition strategy.
3) Training & Innovation: Offering training opportunities is an ideal way to retain your current staff and to bring on new talent. Investing in developing your employee’s skill set, knowledge and experience will go a long way in nurturing an employee’s journey while encouraging innovation within your workforce.
4) Employee Feedback: Taking the time to listen to your employees is key when creating a successful workforce strategy. Not only can showing your workforce that you are really listening to them improve employee engagement levels, but it also can boost workplace morale, job satisfaction rates and overall retention. Taking the employee feedback and applying it to the development of your workforce strategy will result in a more cohesive and successful strategy.
5) Workplace Environment: Factoring in the importance of your organization’s work environment from an overall workforce strategy perspective can enable an uptick in performance by increasing innovation, employee experience and most importantly, productivity.
Workforce planning requires in-depth insight into what a company needs in terms of talent and skills. And breaking it down into these five key areas will allow your organization to develop and sustain high quality workforce planning programs and be rid of the traditional barriers that can restrain effective workforce planning.