Giving human resources its complex due

Workforce analysis has long been summed up to a simple gap equation of supply v demand. But with an ageing workforce, mass retirement looming and an increasing proportion of the workforce offshore, companies need more sophisticated tools: welcome to 'Strategic Workforce Planning'.

by The Conference Board
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Rather than yet another corporate weapon (yawn), strategic workforce planning, developed by The Conference Board, suggests applying the same logic and analytical tools used in finance or risk management to ensure that companies have the right people in the right place at the right time and at the right price.

People management is complex and should benefit from appropriate resources. At the heart of the process is getting good, organisation-wide data. The data should then be easy to use and integrate workforce planning into the wider strategic plans of a company.

Organisations should then be able to control labour costs, assess talent needs, make strategic decisions as to where to open new facilities or whether it's more cost-effective to add full-time employees or contractors.

Many companies have already started implementing strategic workforce planning, with great success. "While no organisation claims to have achieved it yet, many believe that the ultimate payoff will be a vibrant, internal job market that transcends the boundaries between business units and geographies," says Mary B. Young, senior research associate at the Conference Board and author of the report.

Ultimately, strategic workforce planning should help HR departments achieve their long-held desire to play a more strategic role in business decisions.

Source: Strategic Workforce Planning: Forecasting human capital needs to execute business strategy
Mary B Young
The Conference Board, report #1391-WG

Review by Emilie Filou

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