Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a priority for many organizations, yet SWP practitioners often struggle to implement SWP in their firms. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study of 32 HR practices, SWP is among the top three practices with the most significant gaps between the importance organizations place on the capability and their ability to deliver it effectively. At the same time, HR Teams are increasingly encouraged to leverage data to inform their talent and workforce strategies, including SWP.
This 16-page Gartner reference provides three steps for how HR Leaders and their teams can effectively use data to assess talent risks to business strategy and use the findings to guide SWP:
- Identify talent risks that are most likely to affect the business. Table 1 on page 5 shows 11 of the most common talent risks to executing business strategy in SWP. For example, Development Risk is when not enough internal talent is developing critical skills to meet the organization’s needs. Pipeline Risk refers to not having enough engaged talent in the recruitment pipeline to meet critical skills needs.
- Evaluate the talent risks to determine which are currently risks to business strategy execution. Table 2 on page 7 shows the example metrics to use as key risk indicators for each of the 11 most common talent risks.
- Share top talent risks with relevant stakeholders in a visually compelling way to drive action. The reference provides examples for communicating talent risks to stakeholders.
While there is more involved in SWP (e.g., scenario planning, labor market analysis, etc.) than presented in the three steps above, you can use this framework as ONE of several tools to help drive actions in SWP.
As a bonus, here is one of my articles on strategic workforce planning that was published in People+Strategy Journal (2019).