Workforce Planning and Analytics Can Properly Steer Talent Management Initiatives
For most organizations, the Talent Management strategy is the overarching workforce strategy. For others, there is still a disconnect between recruiting, performance and succession planning, learning and development, among other disciplines. Most of this is driven by the organization’s heads down approach required to handling the day-to-day business, so much so that there is little time to focus on the talent management strategy itself.
Earlier this year, Bersin & Associates published a study on customer satisfaction with talent management suite vendors. The report summary can be found here
. Two of the statements in bullet 10 are very indicative of the success we see with our own clients. First, many of our clients built their own talent management philosophies and defined how they want people to be managed prior to implementing a talent management solution. Secondly, Bersin states “what drives [business] performance (improved revenue per employee, retention, productivity) are the practices themselves: career development, accountability, goal transparency, feedback, coaching, development planning, and leadership development.” We couldn’t agree more.
With that being said, here are some ways we see organizations using workforce planning and analytics to optimize the Talent Management process to drive optimal business performance.
1. Proactive and Effective Recruiting. The HRD Recruiting function by nature is very reactive. A position opens up, a requisition is delivered, assigned to a recruiter and the recruiter begins searching for the right person to fill this spot. Sometimes an internal search is done first, if talent information is available to them, and then the requisition is posted on job boards, social networks or it’s passed along to an external recruiter to be filled. Meanwhile, the position sits empty and either someone is picking up those duties and therefore doubling their workload while the managers look for a replacement, or the work simply isn’t getting done. Sound familiar?
Many of our clients operate very differently. They have a mechanism for determining who is going to leave the organization and when. They have an idea of who will retire, who has a high risk of leaving because they’ve been in a position for too long. They know what new jobs are opening up at the beginning of the fiscal or planning year because they’ve either had discussion with managers or business leaders, or they have received a budgeted forecast from the finance or strategy department.
Fundamentally, they KNOW who they will need and an approximate time frame and they create pipelines for those positions to avoid a negative situation. Best in class organizations often promote from within and hire at the entry level, where recruiting costs are less and they can get excellent candidates out of college. Companies that operate this way save MILLIONS of dollars in unnecessary recruiting, fill, overtime, turnover costs etc.
Which leads to…
2. Proper Career Development, leadership development, career planning. Organizations that practice effective workforce planning can better retain their top performers. Why?
Because they know where the opportunities for career growth are found. They put them on tracks they know will have openings in the next few years. Top performers generally have a 3 year threshold. After that point, you promote them or they leave due to boredom or because their careers are stalled. These groups require more feedback than any other employee group. Then…
3. Track their movement so you can measure results. Do you have groups, divisions, stores, hospitals or locations that outperform their peers? Do you know why?
Companies that are effective at workforce planning and use an analytics tool often do. They track movement through the organization; they know where people came from and how they got to where they are. They know if tenure in one position correlates to success in another. They benchmark teams against each other using critical workforce drivers and then…
4. Reward managers who breed top talent. This piece is critical to the success of your talent management strategy. A manager never wants to lose his/her best people. Sometimes they understand when someone moves on, but the politics surrounding this movement can impact operational performance and ultimately profitability. How many times has a top performer left because they thought there was no career path? Was the reality the fact that the manager simply never discussed it for fear of losing the person?
Rewarding those managers producing top talent encourages them to coach, mentor, and develop career plans, while they themselves become better leaders. HR can identify these leaders if they have the ability to track such movement. A good Workforce Planning and Analytics system provides this visibility.
5. Set talent management goals that will drive business improvement and track progress toward meeting those goals over time. What changes in your in your talent management strategy will have the most impact on your organization? Is it hiring more of a specific skill set, having a more diverse workforce, improving employee engagement scores?
Pick goals with a solid correlation to better business performance. Then use the correlations to build and promote your business case to senior management so they understand how your initiatives will impact performance. Be sure to compare your organization to others in your industry. This will enable you to gain support from the top down and include talent related goals in manager performance reviews. Talent initiatives and performance will become transparent across the organization.
Workforce Planning and Analytics can help direct, track and optimize your talent management strategy. In fact, that is exactly what it does. It enables you to align your talent management strategy with your business strategy, understand where and exactly how talent impacts performance and where to make changes to drive optimal results.