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Top Challenges to a Successful Workforce Planning Strategy

The lack of consistency is the primary roadblock to a successful workforce planning strategy. Only 52% of companies take an enterprise-wide approach, while 32% of companies only follow the strategy in some business units, and 8% of companies leave it up to individual business units. Furthermore, companies face challenges such as the lack of tools and technology, inability to align business needs with workforce requirements, unclear process ownership, undefined methodology, and past failures at strategic workforce planning.

Organizations that predict future financial planning must apply the same logic to their workforce. However, many companies need direction, leadership, or technology to implement a formalized process. A significant issue is the lack of technology because only 22% of companies are satisfied with the current technology they have in place. Companies that invest in workforce planning solutions must consider existing solutions that may need more capabilities or deeper functionality.

Did you know that just 22% of companies are content with their SWP technology?

Another challenge is the inability to correlate business needs with workforce requirements. Companies must align or involve key stakeholders to implement workforce planning strategies and understand business strategies before, during, and after implementing a workforce planning approach. Strategic workforce planning should be incorporated into budgeting cycles, business planning, and recruitment and talent development strategies.

Undoubtedly, unclear process ownership can cloud judgment with strategic workforce planning. Though, HR has a unique opportunity to own workforce planning, making it a foundation of every talent initiative. Many workforce planning strategies lack definition, making it challenging to implement tactically. To see results and reach the full potential of strategic workforce planning, companies must move beyond headcount and incorporate a skills gap analysis, scenario planning, dynamic scenarios, and deeper comprehension of the employees' skillset.

Top Challenges That CHRO and Workforce Planners Face:  Rollout SNAFUs Companies that take an enterprise-wide approach but fail to achieve consistency are only setting themselves up for disappointment. In fact, a recent study showed that while 52% of such businesses implemented a company-wide strategy, only 32% of those reported full adoption across all their units! It's no wonder they struggle to see results from their efforts.  Tech Frustrations Did you know that just 22% of companies are content with their technology?  It can be difficult for companies to anticipate workforce requirements without the guidance and direction the right technology provides.  Misalignment Mayhem To ensure your company is on the right track, it's important to have a strong connection between business objectives and workforce requirements. One way to achieve this is by integrating strategic workforce planning into business planning, budgeting cycles, and recruitment and talent development strategies.   Unclear Who Owns the Process? That's where HR comes in - they can make workforce planning the bedrock of every talent initiative. But to really nail it, it's crucial to establish clear ownership for this critical task within the organization.   Get Away from the Whiteboard Many workforce planning processes are too conceptual. To actually create a successful workforce planning strategy, companies must stop relying solely on abstract ideas. It's time to break down complex concepts into executable plans with a defined methodology.  Workforce Planning Mishaps As companies faced the trials and tribulations of the Great Recession in 2008, many reignited their workforce planning efforts. Even with their best intentions, a lack of internal support and inadequate solutions meant their efforts often fell short.  Strategic workforce planning doesn't just help overcome challenges; it does so with ease by gathering a deeper understanding of skills, skills gap analysis, scenario planning, and dynamic scenarios that can be leveraged to enable an unparalleled advantage. Consistency and technology usage can correlate business objectives, define ownership, and implement effective methodologies for success. Learning from past failures and revisions will help companies create an impactful workforce planning strategy. You got this! 🚀  Source: eQ8’s Aptitude Research Report

By understanding these top challenges, CHRO and workforce planners can start working towards finding solutions to improve their workforce planning strategies. It's time to move beyond just understanding the current headcount and start understanding the role of skills gap analysis, scenario planning, and a deeper understanding of skills.

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