Top 3 Areas of Visibility Required for Workforce Planning

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Workforce planning is a constant challenge for HR and Talent Acquisition leaders, and it’s getting even more difficult. Unless you’re Nate Silver, or perhaps a psychic, it’s impossible to predict the types of jobs you’ll need to fill down the road, when you’ll need them, or the volume of acquisitions that will be required every time. We live in an unpredictable world, and there are simply too many unknown factors. 

HR leaders are dealing with different employee demographics than we’ve ever seen before.  Due to the last economic recession, some jobs that used to be filled by students and recent college graduates are now being occupied by retirees while Baby Boomers are forced to hold off on retirement and remain in the workforce. The evolving role of tech has also introduced new roles and positions that introduce emerging skill sets and different disciplines than in the past. For example, a major automotive manufacturer (and Seven Step client) now hires exponentially more IT employees than they did just a decade ago, all thanks to rapid advancements to their in-car technologies. 

With that being said, there are three areas of visibility that Talent Acquisition leaders must have to best prepare for the inevitability of workforce planning surprises. 

Visibility into the competition 
You’ll always have insights into your peers and direct line-of-business competitors, but you should also pay attention to other employers in need of the same types of candidates. For example, top technologists don’t just work at software companies. So be aware of the broader trends of your entire competitive landscape that affects the candidates you anticipate bringing on. 

The HR department must stay on top of this, read news articles and industry analysis, and determine which direction the wind is blowing. We’d suggest employing analyst firms such as Deloitte Bersin, TalentFunction, Nelson Hall, and Everest Group, as this task is becoming increasingly more difficult to accomplish on your own. We’ve found that spending a few extra dollars to receive expert, validated content has a tremendous ROI, and will allow you to accurately prepare for hiring challenges down the road.

Visibility into your own performance trends
In a sign of the times, the executive suite is putting far more emphasis and pressure on the HR department, demanding an unprecedented level of analysis and accountability in regards to an organization’s hiring practices and resources. Effective HR leaders track their own success, ensuring that data on time-to-fill and source-of-hire are captured and monitored to inform their sourcing and recruitment strategies. 

Data and analytics are embedded in everything Seven Step RPO does. We’re experts at measuring, analyzing, and reporting on recruiting and hiring results, and comparing the data against market trends. This type of hard analytics will ensure that you have resources allocated appropriately when new workforce needs present themselves. 

Visibility into the business itself
It may seem like a given, but it is certainly worth mentioning that HR executives need to meet with other business leaders in their organizations, even if it’s just once a quarter. Meeting with the head of sales, for example, will give you an inside look into your company’s prospect pipeline or insight into anticipated loss of clients and customers. Knowing these details will help you to better predict and plan for labor challenges on the horizon while opening up constructive lines of communication ahead of your inevitable hiring requests. 

No matter how well you plan and prepare, your workforce needs can still change on a dime. In today’s economic environment, it’s impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen. However, by following these basic best practices, and engaging with an RPO provider that can adapt to your ever-changing hiring demands at a moment’s notice, you’ll certainly mitigate your company’s risk.  

As HR leaders, what workforce planning challenges do you anticipate facing moving forward, and how do you plan on addressing them?


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