Right-Sizing the Workforce for a New Reality | Visier

Workforce Planning

Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a vital capability that many organizations have increasingly focused on building over the past few years. SWP is an essential part of an organization’s strategic business planning process but is especially relied on during times of crisis in which organizations must quickly evaluate their talent needs and make decisions. These decisions have both short and long-term impacts, which makes the stakes high. Currently, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on organizational talent needs has varied. Some organizations have stopped hiring completely and have reduced their workforce; others have had an increase in talent demands, while some organizations are simultaneously experiencing both reductions and increases. Regardless of an organization’s unique situation, SWP can help arrive at better decisions during this time as well as in the future. This article offers a 5 step framework for doing so, including 1) identifying both short and long-term business impacts, 2) identify who is in a critical role 3) define specific operational requirements 4) model scenarios, 5) plan continuously. Concerning #2 (critical roles), a framework is provided for differentiating these roles from others. The framework segments roles by a) critical, b) strategic, c) core, and d) non-core to help guide SWP efforts and decisions and other talent management activities, such as succession planning and strategic hiring. Segmenting roles in such a way can enable better and more precise planning and decisions. I will add that the criticality of a role is not dependent on the person who occupies it but rather the extent to which the role disproportionately enables business objectives. Further, a positions’ criticality can change as the business strategy and organizational priorities shift, so it is vital to periodically review these roles to determine a change in status. Once roles are segmented, organizations can then focus on incumbents and determine whether talent upgrades are needed, particularly in roles that are critical or strategic.

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