Certification Course Spotlight: Strategic Workforce Planning

October 3, 2017 | Bill Craib | HCI
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How good is your company at workforce planning?

Even if you’re just beginning to be more proactive about workforce planning, you’re still ahead of the two thirds of US employers that don’t do it at all. Recent research from HCI has shown that workforce planning is still a struggle for many organizations, for many reasons. Let’s take a quick look at the data.

A number of factors including increased competition for top talent, growing employee disengagement, and skills gaps for critical roles have driven 69% of organizations to report that strategic workforce planning is an essential or high priority at their organization.

Unfortunately, of those organizations surveyed, less than half said that their workforce planning process is scalable across the organization. Even fewer said that their workforce planning process was used at all throughout the organization. Other factors such as a lack of commitment to the process, an unclear definition of the process, and a lack of staff to do the work were cited as barriers to successful strategic workforce planning.

Workforce planning has always been an important consideration for organizations, prompting HCI to launch the Strategic Workforce Planning certification program in 2009. In today’s dynamic business environment, fluency in strategic workforce planning is more important than ever. HCI’s certification program is designed to equip HR and business leaders with the skills necessary to identify critical roles and competencies, develop organizational agility, and align workforce planning with integrated human capital and business strategy.

HCI believes that in order for workforce planning to be truly strategic, it must:

  • Be aligned with the business strategy
  • Differentiate roles by their contribution to the business strategy, and focus first on roles that have the most significant impact
  • Leverage both quantitative and qualitative measures of the workforce
  • Consider current-state and future-state perspectives
  • Use futuring techniques to imagine a targeted future state
  • Result in action plans that are owned and monitored by the business
  • Become embedded into the broader enterprise-wide strategic planning process

These principles are built into HCI’s Model for Strategic Workforce Planning. Taking a closer look at the model, however, reveals a bit more alarming data. HCI research survey respondents report that they are most effective at Segmenting Roles, Environmental Scanning and Current State Analysis. Most struggle to tie together current state with future scenarios and plan for resulting outcomes.

For optimal success, the SWP model should be replicated and repeated throughout the organization.

Clearly, there is room for improvement. Strategic Workforce Planning has historically been the domain of HR, but it is the facilitation of the process rather than the creation of “hypothetical” workforce plans that gives HR the opportunity to demonstrate its value as a strategic partner to the business.

Enrolling in the SWP certification program is the first step on this journey. In addition to mastering the SWP model, course participants explore case studies from leading companies like Keurig Green Mountain and Kimberly-Clark. Each participant walks away with HCI’s exclusive SWP Toolkit, which contains dozens of practical job aids that reinforce principles learned in order to save time and simplify execution. The kit includes tools for environmental scanning, assessing current state, risk mitigation, talent segmentation, cascading competencies and more. Enroll in SWP today.