When we asked HR leaders to evaluate their function’s ability to successfully execute workforce planning, only half felt at all confident. These initiatives are short of resources — including talent analytics skills — and awash in data that isn’t always current or accurate. So building workforce planning capabilities and maturity is vital for HR.
To succeed, you’ll need to gather the right information to inform workforce planning and build your own workforce planning capabilities. Here are three things you can do.
1. Get business input on evolving needs
A process is only as good as its inputs, and it’s even more important when business and operating models are constantly changing to be current on what’s needed to drive enterprise ambitions. To do this:
2. Gather external labor market intelligence
Organizations don’t operate in a vacuum, so they shouldn’t assess the talent situation in a vacuum either. Still, many workforce plans fail to recognize and account for external information, which is critical to the organization’s strategic success, including:
Without this information, you’re unlikely to identify — or may misidentify — talent risks, so you can’t preempt and plan for them. Perspective from beyond the organization can also help you to gain credibility with business leaders. In fact, if you can come to the table with insights that business leaders aren’t thinking about, you can get them excited about what HR can contribute to strategic conversations, energizing them to participate in workforce planning conversations.
Make sure to prioritize the need to leverage data on talent and skills even if the business doesn’t. Many organizations are new to using talent data, so business leaders don’t even know to ask for it.
To get a better understanding of the external environment:
3. Build HR’s ability to use and interpret talent data
Leveraging data isn’t only important for identifying talent; it can help determine the best strategy to close talent gaps. Gartner research shows that only 12% of organizations use talent data effectively to inform business decisions, but data can drive your decision to build, buy, retain, outsource, automate or look for gig workers, depending on the type of talent gap you face, the business environment and your overall talent strategy.
For example, to fill a talent gap with a build strategy, HR might recommend formal training programs. To shrink a talent surplus, HR might recommend a job rotation. Using and interpreting data is a key input to such decisions.
To improve HR’s ability to understand future organizational talent needs and the external labor environment:
The original article by Emily Rose McRae, director at Gartner, is here. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends. Photo credit: iStockphoto/tadamichi