At any given time, a variety of skillsets is required to meet the demands of a volatile market; and, getting people in the right place and with the right skills is a serious resourcing constraint that organizations often face. Large talent gaps in critical areas are likely to get worse as the competition heats up. Although a preferred module in most HCM solutions, talent analytics has to contend with many imponderables to create a business-driven workforce. Workforce planning fills the void by offering short- and long-term solutions that identify current pain points, future shortages or surpluses of critical talent. The world of workforce planning is getting more complex.

Building a workforce planning approach involves dealing with major challenges at every stage of staff lifecycle—recruiting, retention, organization design, learning development, compensation and benefits. Integrating each of the stages in the workforce planning approach provides insight on those talent segments that deliver high returns and need greater investment. To leverage this approach with impact and to deliver value, the HR leadership should consider the time and the type of support the business needs. Among other things, it involves the integration of internal and external data to drive talent management strategies that will help prepare for and respond to change.

The success of any resourcing strategy revolves around delivering value. Let us look at the elements that contribute to a successful workforce plan:

Focus on the critical business decisions. Workforce planning helps you to focus on talent decisions that will actually affect the ability of the organization to reach its business goals.

Consider different scenarios. By anticipating future workforce scenarios, workforce planning can give a heads-up on important trends with respect to market conditions, fiscal performance, labour availability, etc.

Monitor trends in hiring supply and demand. Making use of internal and external resource mix judiciously requires walking on a thin rope. With integrated workforce planning, the HR leadership team can manage an optimal mix of internally grown talent and external hires.

Make investments in workforce decision support systems. Investing in enabling technologies is a critical component that allows you to execute successful strategies.

Focus on sustaining and managing performance. Driving performance and efficiency throughout an organization is possible with the right framework in place. With workforce planning, you can have access to the information and analysis necessary to future-proof your strategies.

Evaluating current and future challenges. To make full use of workforce planning, you should not negate the critical workforce segments driving the business. This shall help you to drive allocation of talent investments and align HR with corporate strategy.