As interest in forecasting talent and skill demands grows, talent managers will have to understand how workforce planning fits into talent management strategy.
Workforce planning is a dynamic and growing function that can deliver strategic organizational benefits. Planning initiatives focus on ensuring a company has the talent it needs to achieve business objectives now and in the future.
In a 2011 Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) survey, 76 percent of respondents reported that their organizations engage in some type of workforce planning to a high or very high extent. That’s an increase of 6 percent from a similar 2009 i4cp survey.
Because it centers on the human capital needed to carry out business objectives, workforce planning is a component of talent management. Further, it shares multiple similarities with other components typically included under the talent management umbrella, giving planning the potential to lend significant support to efforts to achieve better talent management integration and outcomes.
As growth continues in the implementation and evolution of workforce planning — and given companies’ ongoing imperative to maximize efficiency and productivity in all business functions — it will become increasingly important for talent managers to understand how planning fits into talent management programming and how they can best leverage that relationship.The Right Place at the Right Time
Workforce planning is often described as ensuring the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time to meet an organization’s needs.
The i4cp survey defined it as encompassing “different components of human capital practices, including thoughtful and deliberate review of current and future workforce needs. It includes analytics, forecasting, planning and aligning human capital processes to meet business requirements.”
To carry out their mission, workforce planners may engage in a variety of activities, with each category encompassing multiple tasks. Overall categories of workplace planning activities identified by i4cp’s survey include:
• Reviewing the organization’s business strategy to determine implications about talent needs.
• Helping to build business strategy.
• Action planning to address priorities.
• Performing environmental scans to assess internal and external business conditions.
• Forecasting talent and skills demands.
• Forecasting talent and skills supplies.
• Assessing gaps in talent or skills.
• Creating scenarios to envision future business conditions.