May the workforce be with you… into 2017 and beyond!
This year brought home how far organisations have progressed with strategic workforce planning in Australia in recent years. Many of the participants in our programs are or have dedicated workforce planners who are working with the senior executives of their organisations to ensure their talent strategy is aligned with the business needs of their organisations.
Without a strategic approach to workforce planning and talent management – engagement, productivity and profitability are impacted. Further operating in VUCA environments requires adaptable, agile and resilient workforces that can leverage diversity of thought and anticipate future capabilities and competencies as and when required. No longer is it about scheduling labour, it’s about forecasting, identifying, attracting and developing the competitive advantage for organisations – high performance and high potential talent.
Our clients told us that their need for workforce planning arose from a desire to set the direction for future capabilities so they could have the right people and involve key stakeholders to create collaborative and innovative cultures for their organisations. They feared that even if a workforce plan was created (some of them had one collecting dust on the shelf), the biggest hurdle would be getting everyone on board enterprise wide, to implement the plan and continuously improve the process.
In our programs, we outline a high-level view of the entire workforce planning process, demonstrate the value of the process and help participants understand how to influence and engage key stakeholders to ensure success and adoption to enable it to cascade throughout the organisation.
Initially, many participants seemed overwhelmed by the process – particularly when we emphasized the importance of discovery, data collection and analysis. They were also concerned about scepticism and inertia in their organisations and their abilities to bridge the perceived gaps between HR and frontline leaders. However, by chunking down the issues and emphasizing that it is a continuous process that just needs to be started, wherever they are in terms of organisational maturity, all participants said they had greater confidence to enable the process in their workplaces after the programs.
With people doing more with less and reacting to what is going on around them rather than responding, few participants had made the time to come up for air and understand the broader market/context in which they are operating. Nor had they considered what skills will be needed for roles and lines of business that do not exist yet. We facilitated environmental scans, scenario planning and encouraged participants to share the internal workings of their organisations, with regard for current trends in capability development, demographics, technology, etc.
Diversity, inclusion and flexibility were big focus areas to improve engagement, retention and business performance for many organisations. These needs require creativity and executive sponsorship to attract the best and brightest to create competitive advantage and position employer brands.
We also explored the business imperatives behind workforce planning, enabling HR professionals to strategically advise their executive committees where and when to invest in talent management and learning and development initiatives to ensure accountability and return on investment.
Backed by case studies in both the public and private sectors and using group activities to enable optimal transfer back into the workplace meant clients rated the programs an average 9/10 and shared the following key takeaways from the program:
• Thorough overview with relevant examples
• It was not intimidating data or metrics centred
• Greater understanding of the concept and the process
• Course was very well organised and well-paced
• Presenters were excellent. Very engaging with lots of great content
• I will definitely utilize what I have learned today
Maria Newport (author) is the Managing Principal of Newport O’Connor, a talent management and leadership development firm and partner of Workforce Planning Coaching (www.newport-oconnor.com).
Jenny Hoysted is a Director of Workforce Planning Coaching, a coaching and consulting firm (www.workforceplanningcoaching.com.au)
Workforce Planning Coaching will be running more Workforce Planning Fundamentals programmes in 2017. You may contact us for further details, or if you need a customised program for your organisation, at www.workforceplanningcoaching.com.au or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
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