Is your company prepared to secure the talent it will need to maintain a competitive advantage in the coming years? If the answer is yes, you're ahead of the majority. New research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) shows that fewer than half of companies do any kind of workforce planning, and that there are significant differences that distinguish high-performance organizations.
As highlighted in i4cp's latest report, Winning at Workforce Planning: Turning High-Performance Strategies into Action, eight activities are essential to workforce planning success. Of those, the three listed below showed pronounced variation between high and low market performing organizations:
Most companies do not consider workforce planning while developing the business strategy.
Involving workforce planning leaders in the development of the company's business strategy is a key ingredient to greater long term market performance. Doing this facilitates discussion and inclusion of human capital considerations and implications based on not only where the business is today, but also where it is heading in the future. While 40% of high-performance organizations include their workforce planning leaders in the development of business strategy, none of the lower performing companies surveyed reported doing so.
The majority of high-performance organizations conduct workforce gap analysis.
Workforce gap analysis is another essential, yet underused, talent planning activity. High-performance organizations conduct gap analysis to compare supply and demand forecasts to identify potential shortages or surpluses of future skills, talent and positions. Results inform hiring, development, training, creation/cessation/transition of jobs and other talent-related decisions. i4cp found that 60% of top companies conduct gap analysis compared to only 25% of lower performers.
Scenario planning is scarce but impactful.
Another key practice, which is typically associated with mature workforce planning functions, is the activity of constructing scenarios. Workforce scenarios are based on educated projections about conditions that might occur in the future and their consequent effects on an organization and its business strategies. Envisioning such possibilities is intended to serve as a means to getting executives to think beyond the status quo and of informing and fine-tuning decision-making in the present. This is another activity in which lower-performing companies are completely absent. However, nearly 40% of high-performance organizations do engage in scenario planning.
While many organizations recognize the value of workforce planning, they are still struggling to implement the right activities and processes in their workforce planning program. In fact, fewer than a third of companies said their planning teams engage in most of the eight planning activities to a high extent. If your company is just beginning to adopt workforce planning, the trick is to start small, prioritize and address the one or two activities that would have the greatest impact on market performance for your organization.
Bob Slauter, Senior Manager of Corporate Training at i4cp member company 3CInteractive, shared that Winning at Workforce Planning "brought home that we don’t have to launch all these things simultaneously – you can put a toe in the water, build up to it, and here’s how you might want to think about prioritizing it." Bob said the report "solidified the perception of where the i4cp value comes in" and "helped to really clarify some of those things and take away some of the overwhelming nature of doing that kind of initiative.”
3CInteractive, along with FedEx Ground, 3M, Luminant and Educators Credit Union, are featured in the report. To read more about all eight key workforce planning activities, download Winning at Workforce Planning: Turning High-Performance Strategies into Action (i4cp membership required).