Workforce, November 2002, pp. 46-50 Why You Need Workforce Planning
Workforce planning lets HR manage talent shortages and surpluses. By understanding business cycles and tending to "talent pipelines" and current talent inventories, HR can act, instead of just react.
By John Sullivan Workforce planning is one of the most important issues that human resources professionals are talking about today. Still, many have not gone beyond the talking stage. The task of actually implementing workforce planning is daunting because it is so difficult to define. The following suggestions are designed to demystify what workforce planning is and to discuss the reasons why every HR department should implement such an effort. Being prepared is better than being surprised Workforce planning is a systematic, fully integrated organizational process that involves proactively planning ahead to avoid talent surpluses or shortages. It is based on the premise that a company can be staffed more efficiently if it forecasts its talent needs as well as the actual supply of talent that is or will be available. If a company is more efficient, it can avoid the need for layoffs or panic hiring. By planning ahead, HR can provide managers with the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, and at the right time. Workforce planning might be more accurately called talent planning because it integrates the forecasting elements of each of the HR functions that relate to talent--recruiting, retention, redeployment, and leadership and employee development. Businesspeople who just wait and then attempt to react to current events will not thrive for very long. The new standard is to provide managers with warnings and action plans to combat full-blown problems before they become more than a blip on their radar. The HR world is no different. The rate of change in the talent market is dramatic. We now know how important talent is to the success of a business. It’s time