Brian Salkowski: How strategic workforce planning can cushion the blow of digital transformation

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Brian Salkowsk

With rapid technological advancements changing the way we work and manage our teams, businesses must adapt their methods of attracting and retaining talent to be suitable for the digital age – and the best way to do this is with a strategic workforce plan.

Guidant Global, found that two-thirds of hiring managers believe implementing strategic workforce planning will help them with the problems that come with tech innovation.

So, here’s everything you need to know about creating your own advanced strategic workforce plan so you can also cushion the blow of digital transformation.

What is strategic workforce planning?

Firstly, to effectively utilise strategic workforce planning, we must understand what it is. Strategic workforce planning has a few synonyms – advanced workforce planning, total talent management, people strategy and more. Essentially, it’s a process that anticipates the current human capital needs not only for today but for the future too.

It’s all about making sure the right person is in the right job, in the right place, at the right moment and with the right type of contract. This optimised approach ensures that there aren’t too many people available (overstaffing) or too few (understaffing).

By predicting both the behaviours of internal employees and market demand fluctuations, you can create an in-depth plan to overcome forecasted skills gaps and encourage growth.

How can strategic workforce planning cushion the blow of digital transformation?

As the digital economy is rapidly changing both the way teams work as well as the structure of teams within a business, leaders within the HR and procurement professions are beginning to realise a strategic approach is the only option.

With technology fuelling the growth of the contingent and remote workforces, it’s more important than ever that firms plan in advance how they will manage change and disruption. Doing so enables a business to build a stable and productive workforce that continually works at optimum efficiency.

Despite the benefits of workforce planning being universally recognised within business circles, many companies are still not utilising it. A recent Workday/Human Capital Institute survey of 400 professionals who deal with strategic workforce planning within their firms revealed 69 per cent consider the function either an “essential” or “high” priority – but only 44 per cent actively engage in it.

The building blocks of an advanced strategic workforce plan

A big part of strategic workforce planning is predictive business analytics and data-driven insights. Both of these are powering innovative approaches to today’s most complex talent challenges.

Information gleaned from predictive analytics can be used to identify where the best hires come from, as well as to highlight unnecessary job requirements or sourcing biases that may limit the talent pool. Restricting talent pools in this way leads to an inevitable increase in both costs and time-to-hire.

What are the benefits of a strategic workforce plan?

A strategic workforce plan can help organisations to stay one step ahead of their competition by identifying gaps within their current talent pool and by highlighting exactly where they need to hire. This means HR teams can better focus their effort, reduce time-to-hire and cost-per-hire.

This also impacts organisational key performance indicator (KPIs). Driving growth is essential for success in business and data delivered from advanced workforce planning can allow firms to constantly evaluate and reassess their performance metrics. Without such insight, it is easy to stagnate and growth naturally deteriorates.

Most importantly, advanced strategic workforce planning provides a more thorough overview of the future. It provides HR teams the tools they need to define business strategy.

How the changing role of Managed Service Provider (MSP) and recruitment processing outsourcing (RPO) providers is helping?

Intelligent data gathering and analytics are time consuming and complex to execute well, but are vital for anyone responsible for designing a future-proofed sourcing strategy.

Market-leading MSPs and RPOs and their clients are taking an increasingly strategic and proactive approach alongside their suppliers, using digital workforce analytics platforms – such as Brightfield’s TDX and VMS technology like Beeline and SAP Fieldglass– to pool their expertise and data to deliver the best possible outcomes and efficiencies.

Smart staffing industry professionals are choosing to partner with advanced MSP and RPO specialists who can analyse business analytics data and implement a strategic sourcing strategy that delivers talent at the right times. In this temperamental period of growing skill gaps and rapid technological change, doing so can help future-proof a business.

By taking action now, and creating a strategic workforce plan, you can begin laying the foundations for success. Thanks to digital workforce analytics platforms, there is a plethora of data that can be accessed and harnessed.

By utilising this and other analytical tools in your strategic workforce plan, you can ensure you’re hiring in a better way.

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About Brian Salkowski

Brian Salkowski is Guidant Global’s Chief Operating Officer.

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