How to plan for a better workforce and align with strategic goals

November 2, 2021 | 3 minute read
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Virtually all aspects of business operations were upended by the events of 2020. Through it all, employees proved they could keep the gears turning even when working from home (or anywhere), all while juggling caregiving responsibilities and healthcare challenges.

Employees are now rethinking their relationship to work. Many want to remain remote in some capacity just as businesses are looking at a return to the office. Others are itching for a job or career change.

In July 2021 alone, 5.8 million U.S. workers left their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—the highest rate in 20 years. With job openings at historic highs, workers are looking for positions that give them the flexibility and satisfaction they crave.

Against this backdrop, changing how and where you search for talent is critical. The hiring and HR practices of the past need to adapt to today’s fluid workforce.

For businesses, “work from anywhere” has broadened the talent pool, presenting a unique opportunity to find skilled hires without geographic constraints. But there are also workforce cost challenges, such as compensation disparity, tax complications, and currency considerations, that HR managers should address by collaborating more closely with other departments, like finance and operations. By aligning more closely with these teams, HR can identify candidates with the right skills and help the company meet its growth and revenue targets.

Connected workforce planning is the way to navigate these challenges and opportunities.

A paradigm shift in the way we work

Without connected workforce planning, it’s hard to get your arms around how your team is changing in real time. Are your workers quitting in record numbers? Are they moving to other regions? What are the costs being impacted by employee movements? Connected workforce planning helps you quickly identify the impact these employee trends will have so that you can respond swiftly.

Workforce spend is the biggest cost driver for many companies. Cost-of-living considerations factor into compensation models for remote workers and may give your company a better ability to control workforce expenses. What’s more, changes in business strategy will prompt changes in workforce composition; for example, if your customers would rather buy online than at a retail outlet, it might prompt your company to hire a different skillset to fit the business model.

To take advantage of these trends and limit workforce costs, you need to work hand in hand with finance so that your strategic workforce plans are aligned with the workforce and financial planning process. Connected workforce planning gives you the visibility you need to move forward and confidently hire for the right skills and talent, at the right costs.

Dropbox tackles staffing challenges

One example: Dropbox had to quickly staff new development and support functions as part of its rapid growth in the fast-moving technology industry. Moving to Oracle Cloud, DropBox eliminated legacy system and spreadsheet-based workforce planning processes, integrated tightly into Oracle Cloud EPM, and reduced data aggregation from two weeks to seconds. Dropbox was also able to model its talent needs and hire the right people to meet its requirements for growth.

Getting started with connected workforce planning

Here are a few action items to get you thinking about the importance of connected workforce planning, which are described in greater detail in our starter kit.

  1. Start with the path of least resistance. Eliminate spreadsheets and integrate HR and financial planning processes using a common application. You’ll be able to place your data within the context of a continuous workforce planning solution.
  2. Sweat the small stuff. Ask why, where, and how to provide a deep understanding of all related workforce costs and their impact on workforce strategy and the business.
  3. Align everything. HR and finance are natural partners on workforce planning, but it doesn’t end there. Workforce planning touches every line of business. Align data, systems, and other lines of business with finance and HR to ensure a successful workforce plan is in place.

Learn five best practices to get started with connected workforce planning. Download the starter kit.

Dan Smucker

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