6 Pitfalls to Workforce Planning: The Fourth Pitfall

We’ve talked about the first three Pitfalls. Now it’s time to share a tough one…

Pitfall No. 4: Translating Plans into Business Lingo.

Workforce Planning is characterized by two components, the human side and the business side. We’ve talked a bit about the human side but it’s the business side that launches the Plan!

Mark my words: for every good decision an organization makes, the business leaders have known this answer … in advance! What’s the Return on Investment? What’s this plan going to cost? And what benefit will it bring to the company … in dollars and cents?

Quantifying even the best of Workforce Plans is a struggle for most human capital strategists. We know intuitively, however, that there are financial gains to be realized from having a good Plan in place. Identifying these metrics is the real challenge. Being able to show senior executives the financial value and risk mitigation strategies in a good Workforce Plan are more likely to buy you support than any humanistic benefits you can point out.

Workforce Planners have to get down to the nuts and bolts by asking (and answering) questions like:

  1. What costs are associated with vacancies in critical jobs? Estimate lost revenues, the number of missed deadlines (and future business losses), increases in contractor costs, and other costs associated with NOT having a ready workforce to fill key vacancies.
  2. How does a reduction in voluntary turnover translate into financial gains for the organization?
  3. What financial opportunities were saved because of a ready workforce?
  4. What acquisition and training costs were minimized by developing and promoting from within?
  5. What financial returns are to be gained by investing in productivity enhancement tools? What return will be realized by investing in training to enhance productivity?
  6. What real savings will be realized by developing employees internally rather than recruiting externally? Think about the time-value the organization gains by focusing its managers’ and human resources experts’ time on internal projects rather than recruitment efforts, the reduction in recruitment travel costs and overtime, the near-elimination of head-hunter fees, etc.
  7. What financial returns will be realized by reducing overall discontent in the workforce? Think about lost time, a reduction in workers’ compensation claims/insurance premiums, lower health care costs, etc.
  8. How much will the organization save, in the long run by minimizing their use of foreign labor markets today?Think about the changing costs in today’s labor markets, worldwide, and how the socio-economic conditions in foreign markets effect the costs of doing business there; how do these conditions effect the business value of good-will in the local, buying economy?

Workforce Planning is about business, afterall! Being able to translate a Workforce Plan into tangible benefits for an organization shows its senior executives that time is well-spent engaged in this effort. Building credibility with business leaders also goes far toward gaining future support …. and this will keep Workforce Planning alive and well in your organization.

[source: “Workforce Planning Pitfalls” a Whitepaper]

Related Articles:

6 Pitfalls to Workforce Planning – In the Beginning

Expecting HR to Own Workforce Planning

Missing the Big Picture

Biting Off More Than Your Organization Can Chew

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