Why Is Workforce Planning Critical In Today’s Talent Market?
Updated: Aug 24
The talent market has significantly evolved over the past two years making workforce planning a strategic requirement impacting every company. The saying “people are your greatest asset,” means all companies regardless of size, need top talent to execute business plans to achieve company objectives and goals.
What is Workforce Planning?
Workforce Planning is the analysis of current employees, developing a plan for future talent, utilizing an in-depth talent gap assessment, developing talent management processes and procedures, and implementing talent acquisition strategies.
Workforce Planning ensures companies are staffed appropriately at all points in time with the talent, knowledge, skills, and experience required to successfully complete client work and drive the business forward.
It allows companies to assess talent costs and understand required investment opportunities in the retention, acquisition, reskilling, upskilling, and conducting appropriate performance assessment for its people. It is a fluid balancer and influencer across all disciplines in the company.
Strategic vs. Operational Workforce Planning
Strategic and operational workforce planning are tightly linked together, performing different roles for the business.
Strategic workforce planning looks at longer term design solutions to support business goals. It looks at future state talent plans and decisions to ensure HR can measure and manage talent requirements against the company’s mission, vision, and business goals. Key to this area is how it supports senior leadership and big picture planning, and integrating HR across business plans. Areas include: the future state structure of the company, how talent can be redeployed depending on company goals, succession, financial budgeting, capacity, and consistently managing compliance to reduce risk.
Operational workforce planning is focused on the company’s immediate needs and how to best deploy talent to answer client priorities and demands “today.” Knowing the operational workforce allows the strategic workforce planning to occur correctly.
Workforce Planning Requirements
Analytics: Knowing your workforce is the first step. Accuracy and the details means having the ability to staff properly at any stage for the business.
KSAs: Having the right mix of knowledge, skills and ability throughout your workforce allow the business to be effective and achieve its goals.
Financial Acumen: How much does the workforce cost? What is the optimal cost? What is the balance between cost and investment? Can HR speak effectively with the CFO in realistic terms to better achieve its budget goals?
Adaptability: The ability to quickly change paths to accommodate employee/workforce demands to align to business requirements. This is incorporating work life/remote work requests, contingent workers, market changes, and the like.
The Future of Work
The effectiveness of workforce planning depends on in depth analyses and constant flexibility to accommodate business goals, market trends, and employee changes in the workforce. A company’s ability to strategize and design their workforce with effective short- and long-term planning and objectives sets them apart from their competition. It mitigates problems by providing a clear and fluid analysis of its workforce. Workforce planning is iterative as progress is monitored and measured against specific milestones and long-term goals.
MSI’s HR Consulting and Advisory Team supports the design and development of Workforce Planning Strategies that align to HR and senior leadership goals. Our focus is helping organizations optimize and develop long range strategies for success.