From an exceptionally tight labor market to the growing emphasis on continuous learning in the workplace, there are a number of reasons why workforce planning is becoming more popular. Workforce planning allows a company’s leaders to get a bird’s eye view of its workforce’s existing levels of skill and how that compares to where markets are headed. This can help companies predict hiring needs more accurately, deploy workers more effectively, and make more informed training and location decisions. It’s an especially savvy approach if any of the following apply:
- You’re in a volatile industry. Certain industries like energy, finance, and manufacturing are more sensitive to external market forces and often have to scale their workforces rapidly up or down in response. If a these industries are short on capable people during good times it can mean leaving money on the table due to lack of capacity. In less good times, a company may suddenly find itself overstaffed and carrying more overhead than it can handle which can lead to red on the balance sheet. Workforce planning can make it much easier for companies to maintain profitability through the inevitable cycles of expansion and contraction in high volatility industries. Suddenly, it’s possible to more fluidly calibrate the size of the workforce to current needs.
- Your company competes heavily for talent. Instead of having HR drive the hiring process, companies fighting the talent wars are now turning to data-driven platforms that let them see exactly where needs are greatest and where large pools of candidates can be found. This strategy turns talent trickles into true pipelines and it can also help to keep existing employees happy by introducing new levels of flexibility to the company’s structure. Companies that go to the effort of creating a skills framework and clearly defined paths for acquiring new skills are better positioned to be able to offer existing employees a chance to try new positions and locations within the organization. Employees appreciate this kind of flexibility and mobility, so it can be an effective way to attract new talent, reward loyalty, and create a learning culture.
- You’re in a heavily regulated industry. Organizations within the transportation, telecommunications, energy, financial services, and healthcare are all starting to wake up to how much more smoothly compliance related activities go when a robust competency management and workforce planning platform is in place. At one company where adoption of the platform had been a bit slow at first, team members started to appreciate it after their first big visit from a regulatory commission. Instead of rifling through drives looking for spreadsheets and other records, all the information they needed was right there, in one platform. Surveyors even complimented them on the platform during a visit. After that, adoption of the platform surged. The company has not had a single RFI (requirement for improvement) issued by regulators since introducing it.
- Your workforce spans several generations. The surge of retiring baby boomers means there’s often a high rate of transferable skills concentrated among the employees you’re most likely to lose soon, which means before they do, it’s crucial to set up a framework that facilitates transfer of that knowledge to younger employees. This practice, by the way, also assists in the hiring of those younger workers because it gives job candidates a strong sense that you’re invested in their progress and already have a clear, well defined path forward for their advancement. Mentor Finders is a popular feature within the Kahuna platform. It helps younger and less experienced workers connect to experienced allies.
- Your employees do a lot of work in the field. If you’re in energy, healthcare, or manufacturing, having a workforce planning tool that includes competency management is absolutely critical. One large healthcare system recently saved ten million dollars in four years by introducing a platform that allowed health care workers’ skills to be measured and validated in the field—all within a single, integrated system. This dramatically reduced the amount of time required to get an employee to working independently, which ended up being a major driver of cost savings. One supervisor said she knew things were working well when a nurse in a pediatric operating room transferred to primary care facility operating room and her training was already 90 percent done on the day she arrived. The field supervisor was able to take inventory of her existing skills so precisely that she was able to get her training done in a few weeks versus months.
- Your company has an unusually long sales cycle. Workforce planning can be real boon to organizations with long, complex sales cycles. If your company is submitting itself for a government contract, for instance, and you won’t know until two years from now whether or not you closed the deal, it’s important to be able to project how your workforce would need to change based on all possible outcomes. Bringing in a workforce planning solution and workforce modeling consultants can ensure you’re using best practices and taking industry trends into consideration.
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To learn more about Kahuna Workforce Planning and how it can help your business, click here or call 844-438-4852