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Workforce Planning – Traditional Techniques Outdated

This is a complimentary article by PeopleStreme, an international Human Capital Management software company, which specialises in the development of HR and enablement technology to support HRIS solutions and management for businesses.

Everyone is talking about Workforce Planning. Why?

  • The ageing workforce is really starting to impact
  • We are at “full” employment
  • ‍Availability of Human Capital is at an all-time low
  • ‍Net workforce entrants versus exits are forecast to be negative for the next 20 years. This means more employees will exit the workforce than enter the workforce. This is not a short term issue.

Traditional Workforce Planning Techniques Outdated

Traditional Workforce Planning techniques no longer provide the granularity required in a very tight labour market.

Traditional Techniques call for:

  • ‍An examination of the Strategic Plan
  • Review of historical data such as employee turnover, age profiles, demographics and other relevant information
  • ‍Scenario planning, a High, Medium and Low Forecast of requirements by job family

This technique has served organizations well in days gone by but unfortunately has several flaws, specifically:

1. It does not push planning to line management where they can and should act. Workforce Planning has been an HR/OD issue that has seldom had implications for line managers. Line Managers have taken the approach “so another Financial Planner has left, notify recruitment to hire some more”. Unfortunately, we are in a market where this is just not feasible and line managers will now have to get involved in retention, succession planning and workforce planning.

2. It does not get to the heart of the issue, what is the probability that an individual will exit the organisation? What is the consequence if an individual leaves the organisation? What should we be doing about it to prevent this from happening? If it does happen, have we got a strategy in place to preserve our operational status?

3.‍ What Strategies should we be deploying now to ensure we can cater for our service delivery in our hot spots? Traditional Workforce planning does not drill down to people. A drill down to people will reveal impending problems that can be resolved with adequate planning; they cannot be resolved without planning.

Gone are the days where Workforce Planning is an isolated HR/OD activity that is basically a high-level estimate of future requirements. Company Boards, CEO’s, CFO’s want to know where they are exposed, what are the risks, what should we do about it, how serious is the ageing issue in my workforce, not a high-level forecast that glosses over the detail.

So what does Workforce Planning look like today?

The same principles of Workforce Planning are employed today as in the past. You need to understand a range of issues such as your organisations strategy, growth prospects, turnover and a number of other factors.

Where it has changed is that the forecast and strategy are not based on gross forecasts for the organisation or even a job family. Workforce Planning today goes further, right down to an individual.

 

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