Plan Your Workforce Without the Limitations of Roles | Gartner

Workforce Planning

As work becomes increasingly fluid and less predictable, many HR and talent practitioners continue to find practical ways to help their firms organize and plan “work” beyond the limitations of “jobs.” Several thought leaders have provided ideas and guidance on how to make this shift. In his article, From Workforce to Work-task Planning, Dave Ulrich discusses the practice of deconstructing jobs into tasks and activities and then using this information to determine the most optimal way to accomplish the work (e.g., full-time employees, contract workers, AI, etc.). In her article, Beyond the JobSusan Cantrell shares various options for disaggregating jobs into tasks and using those tasks as the basis for workforce planning. And John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan—the most prolific writers and speakers on this topic—have shared extensively how unpacking jobs into more discrete tasks can provide firms with more options to deliver work in a more agile manner (see their book Work Without Jobs: How to Reboot Your Organization’s Work Operating System). This additional article by Gartner provides four steps to break down roles into a group of tasks and then analyze those tasks to determine the best workforce strategies. Figure 1 on page 37 shows five criteria that can be used to assess a role’s “composability”—the degree to which it can be broken down into tasks. Figure 2 on page 38 shows a 2×2 matrix (one axis for task complexity and another for the degree of human interaction needed to complete the task) illustrating which tasks might be best delivered through automation. Practitioners can draw from each of these resources to experiment with different ideas and approaches for breaking roles into tasks and incorporating them into workforce planning.