Enterprise Workforce Planning: A Strategic Business Imperative

By Claudia Coker | December 19, 2019

The future of work is here and critical skills are its new competitive currency. McKinsey’s famous “war for talent” refers to the increasingly fierce competition to attract and retain employees at a time when too few workers are available to replace the baby boomers now departing the workforce in advanced economies. 

This view has been validated by most business and human resources publications. Moreover, this sound bite is fueled by the rapid evolution of robotics, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), big data and predictive analytics, coupled with talent scarcity. As a result, the ability to match the right talent with the right skillset commands the highest premium salaries (including stocks, and market shares). According to the Economic Times, AI professionals are getting 60-80% pay hikes when switching jobs, compared with 20-30% in other skill areas.

Why are companies paying such premiums for talent?

Critical skills and talent concerns are noted as top business implications within many C-suites across multiple industries, business sectors, and regions because the global workforce is hedging on a talent shortage pandemic that will affect most companies. 

According to IBM’s Institute of Business Value (IBV), 60 percent of executives indicate that they struggle to keep their workforce current, acknowledging that the skills of the future may be unknown or entirely new to their organization.  Here are other notable findings on this topic: 

To address these concerns, some forward-thinking organizations have prioritized their talent strategy as a key tenet in their business processes, and decision makers have invested in strategic workforce planning activities with Talent Growth Advisors at their side. These organizations and their leaders understand that having the right talent with the right skills can drive high performance.

Hallmarks of Talent Growth Advisors’ Workforce Planning Model

The hallmarks of Talent Growth Advisors' workforce planning are anchored on simple operational workforce planning steps that thoroughly evaluate, assess, and align organizations' long-term and short-term workforce priorities with its business strategy. 

As a result, Talent Growth Advisors have helped COEs, Human Resource executives, business leaders and their teams clearly answer the following questions:

  1. What is the health of our current workforce (i.e., attrition, retention, and retirement); what positions and skills are hard to find and retain, and why?
  2. What does our future workforce need to meet our business objectives now and in the next 2-3 and 3-5 years? Does our succession plan consider these needs?
  3. What is our optimal workforce profile (i.e., size, shape, mix, diversity, and capabilities) today and in the next 3-5 years? 
  4. What emerging technology and skills are critical to ensure business success and competitive advantage today and in the next 3-5 years?

These leaders agree that failure to clearly answer these questions can cause significant loss of business, misaligned resources, failed delivery, and loss of customers. To mitigate these risks, organizations must employ a robust and agile strategic workforce planning practice in its talent management efforts.

If your organization is clearly answering the questions, keep up the good work! We’d love to hear about your workforce planning process, and feel free to share your best practices or other comments below to continue the conversation.

However, for those who are struggling to answer key workforce planning questions and who do not know where to start, Reach out to us, we’d be happy to walk you through our diagnosis process and together design a thriving workforce strategy rooted in your organizations’ critical skills and driven by your business processes. Want to discuss examples of our work in this area? Email us at info@talentgrowthadvisors.com.

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Claudia Coker, PhD

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