Gary Barbosa & Bob Myers on Analytics and Workforce Planning

Wednesday's Analytics and Workforce Planning breakout session featured panelists Gary Barbosa, Director of Workforce Strategy and Planning at Lockheed Martin, and Bob Myers, CHRO of Black Hills Corporation, who discussed the single biggest challenge they currently face in their organizations. For Bob Myers it's the astounding statistic that 25% of their workforce is about to retire, taking about 35% of their total experience with them. For Gary Barbosa, the problem is similar: the U.S. government is shrinking as a purchaser of Lockheed's products. Both of these issues create long and short-term issues that they are addressing via workforce planning.

The discussion was moderated by i4cp's Amy Armitage, who facilitated the conversation about the strategies being employed at both of the featured organzations. Gary, for his part, has built a team of 60 or so subject matter experts (SMEs) in workforce planning who are being embedded throughout Lockheed and are helping to create standardized methodologies, techniques, and solutions. Bob has taken the long-term approach of building a team with specific skill sets that will help guide the business through these crises.

Both agree that the HR practitioner of the future -- at least in workforce planning -- will have a different makeup than they do currently. Skills such as statistical analysis, comfort with technology, and critical thinking will have to be paired with the ability to work collaboratively across many distinct business units. The point being made was that preparation and strategy are requisite. As Bob says, "Workforce planning is done best when you are in front of the elephant with the peanuts, not behind the elephant with a shovel."