With the global workplace facing a skills shortage and the emergence of roles that were once unheard of, workforce planning is now a major differentiator. Advanced analytics can give HR professionals a comprehensive yet granular view of workplace trends and future needs. We discuss the benefits of adopting this technology in 2019.
In the last few years, advanced analytics has emerged as a popular technique for making sense of organizational data and guiding HR strategies. Spread across three primary arms – historical, predictive, and prescriptive – analytics can give HR professionals a deeper understanding of current movements, future shifts, and the best ways forward. As the global workplace witnesses, multiple waves of skills shortage and rising demand for new expertise types, effective workforce planning is essential to stay ahead. A well-articulated workforce planning strategy can help HR teams and organizations remain abreast of the most dominant trends, preempt any issues, and proactively deploy solutions for positive business outcomes.
Workforce planning is defined as the planning undertaken by an organization to ensure that it has the necessary human capital for its current as well as future requirements. HR teams often use HR technology to ensure maximum utilization of resources. In this article, we discuss how analytics serves as the technology HR teams need for strategic workforce planning.
Why is Workforce Planning Imperative to an Organization’s Growth?
Dave Weisbeck, Chief Strategy Officer at Visier, a people analytics provider, tells us why workforce planning will impact an organization’s bottom line: “Being able to pull out the most important details from increasingly bigger and more complex data sets in order to make informed decisions will have a strategic value to the business. More specifically, it will be crucial to master people analytics and use predictive models to improve workforce planning and routinely update these plans as the business and market changes.”
How Can Analytics Improve Workforce Planning?
Here are four ways in which organizations can leverage the power of analytics to streamline workforce planning in 2019.
1. Analyze Performance Data to Spot Talent Gaps
Performance management information can offer a wealth of insights into the needs of each department, the capabilities required for a department, and underutilized resources, if any, who may be able to fill the capabilities gap with some upskilling. In addition, a small team may require stronger leadership to aid learning and to sharpen members’ focus; or, a particular employee may be shuffled from department to department without finding the right place. This indicates a lack of talent planning and poor utilization of existing resources. Analytics can identify these patterns and anomalies, indicating to HR professionals where training would be required or if a new hire is the best alternative.
2. Solve Recurring and Long-term Labor Issues
Teams might be consistently putting in overtime hours or weekend efforts, signaling a demand issue that needs to be resolved. This not only indicates a labor shortage, it is also indicative of an eventual burnout of the current workforce, leading to low engagement, attrition, and a weakened bottom line. Using analytics, HR teams can link the increased demand of labor to a specific time of the year, seasonal changes, or a calendar event. HR professionals can, therefore, incorporate these milestones into their yearly workforce planning roadmap, preparing for this shortage beforehand, and preventing employee burnout.
3. Schedule Staffing based on Real-Time Updates
While performance analysis and labor management deals mostly with historical data, daily staffing requires the most immediate and relevant information. This will offer a comprehensive view of everyday demand volumes, the level of output required, and the best resource/s for the job. By combining this information with an intelligent workforce scheduling software, HR professionals can ensure that each project in the pipeline is functioning smoothly, and no resource is left idle/overburdened.
4. Ensure Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
Attracting, engaging, and retaining top performers is a major priority for any HR professional. In fact, a big part of workforce planning is having a strategy specifically geared to identify and engage these individuals. Employee feedback and surveys that feed into the analytics engine help to highlight problem areas in the workplace. Data can even be extracted from time and attendance (T&A) modules, productivity measures, and turnover rates to arrive at a holistic picture of employee satisfaction. HR professionals can then use these insights to reinforce employee engagement efforts to maximize retention.
Essentially, analytics assists workforce planning initiatives by revealing information which would otherwise remain hidden. From ineffective business models to personal complaints, from errors in engagement programs to unfulfilled skill requirements, these challenges could prove damaging to an organization in the long term. In 2019, as HR moves into an era of proactive workforce planning powered by data (instead of traditional models guided by only short-term needs), analytics will be one of the most powerful tools for HR teams.