London, 25 August 2008 - Workforce planning is set to become one of the dominant issues facing human resources managers according to What is the Value of Workforce Planning, a 2008 global survey of 325 human resources practitioners conducted by The Infohrm Group, the leader in workforce planning, reporting, and human capital analysis. For more information view the executive summary online.
The study identifies that 45 percent of organisations intend to implement workforce planning within the next three years while almost 50 percent have already begun introducing such processes. Only 6 percent of the total survey sample does not intend to implement workforce planning in the near future.
Yet, despite the growing interest, few organisations are succeeding in evaluating the impact of workforce planning processes. 47 percent of respondents can point to positive results such as a reduction in the gap between labour demand and supply, but none are confident that they can demonstrate a return on their workforce planning investment. Only 39 percent indicate that they hope to introduce performance measurements in the future.
If HR executives are serious about obtaining resources for future workforce planning projects it is imperative that they take the time now to evaluate how they will determine the return on that investment, said Peter Howes, CEO, Infohrm. Demonstrating the outcomes of a workforce plan with a quantifiable return that is readily understood by business managers will be essential to the growth and success of the practice.
The main drivers for workforce planning are: labour shortages, skills shortage and business growth, with over 70 respondents motivated to a large extent by one of these factors. Other triggers (in decreasing order of
popularity) include the ageing workforce, changes to business strategy, high labour turnover and the actions of competitors.
Successful Workforce Planning Tied to Business Unit Ownership and Clear Management Support
One of the key findings is that the structural location of workforce planners has a direct impact on the success of the planning process. The majority of organisations (61 percent) maintain workforce planning within the human resources function, while 22 percent are located with management and only 12 percent reside within business units. Unexpectedly, it is the latter two groups those that integrate workforce planning within the business which report the most success. The report notes that reasons for this are as yet undetermined, but speculates it may be related to the remoteness of human resources departments from core business decision making.
One of the other major success factors for workforce planners is senior management involvement which respondents indicate is directly linked to the quality of the planning process and to the provision of adequate resources.
Despite the predicted increase in workforce planning as labour and skills shortages continue, the majority of organisations (61 percent) expect their workforce planning resourcing to remain the same. The report suggests that in most organisations improved workforce planning outcomes will need to be achieved within current resource levels. This may present an opportunity for specialist software, as over half (56 percent) the respondents who currently use workforce planning software believe there is a link between the software and successful planning outcomes.
The proportion of organisations deriving an advantage from workforce planning also appears to be influenced by their approach to demand forecasting the process of estimating future staffing requirements. 57 percent of respondents employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques state that workforce planning gives them an advantage compared to only 35 percent of organisations relying on solely on quantitative measures.
The report concludes by noting that successful workforce planning requires an effective marriage of processes and enablers. The two fundamental processes are the evaluation phase of the workforce planning framework and the inclusion of quantitative techniques in demand forecasting exercises.
The primary enablers include appropriate resourcing, the use of workforce planning software, executive level management involvement and line management support.
Results from this survey will be presented in a free web conference at 10am BST on 2 September, 2008. Visit the survey homepage for details.
About Infohrm Group
The Infohrm Group is the global leader in on-demand workforce reporting, workforce planning, and human capital analytics solutions. With over 30 years of experience, and a strong customer base consisting of Fortune 500 and 1000 clients, Infohrm has paved the way for organisations to measure the impact of human capital initiatives and drive business results. The Infohrm solutions couple a leading edge on-demand technology platform with strategic consulting services; to focus on the analysis of data to help organisations make informed decisions around human capital practices.
Infohrm has offices in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. For more information visit Infohrm.
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