3M's Winning Strategies

3M's Winning Strategies for Workforce Planning on a Global Scale

From Scotch® Tape and Post-it® Notes to flexible circuits, fiber networks, and pet care products, we know the extensive brands and reputation for innovation that characterize global consumer and commercial market leader 3M. An i4cp member company, 3M was among the high-performing organizations that shared winning workforce planning strategies in i4cp’s Winning at Workforce Planning: Turning High-Performance Strategies into Action.

Technology + Ownership = Stronger Planning Outcomes

Results of our most recent survey of business and workforce planning leaders confirmed that planning outcomes are strengthened when teams leverage technology effectively, and when they are able to get business units to understand that planning isn’t an HR-exclusive activity but one that must be owned by all organizational functions. Thanks to 3M, Winning at Workforce Planning profiles the strategies the company uses to achieve those ends.

3M Pairs Workforce Planning with Strategic Planning

Jon Thurston, Global Human Capital Planning Manager for 3M, explains how the company overcame one of the most commonly encountered workforce planning challenges: the tendency of organizational stakeholders to view planning as an HR activity. 3M matches its human capital planning cycles to strategic planning that occurs in the scores of countries and regions where the company operates, says Thurston. In fact, he labels this approach one of 3M’s biggest successes in workforce planning because it establishes a “rhythm” that reinforces each country or regional location’s ownership in the planning process.

“We do a five-year workforce projection globally across 18 different jobs, which are actually job families or combinations of jobs,” Thurston notes. With a workforce that numbers about 85,000, “we try to find enough detail with the groupings, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming,” he says. 3M’s workforce planning efforts are supported by the use of technologies that have been in place at the company for some time and that help to speed the annual planning process by delivering country-specific or region-specific data to HR managers in those locations.

Thurston reports consistent accuracy when it comes to the results 3M’s planning process produces. He explains that the information derived from the planning process ultimately figures into many aspects of the company’s business and strategic planning. Read more about human capital planning at 3M in i4cp’s Winning at Workforce Planning: Turning High-Performance Strategies into Action, available to i4cp members only.

Carol Morrison
Carol Morrison is a Senior Research Analyst and Associate Editor with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), specializing in workforce well-being research.