The challenges around workforce planning have never been more imminent, with 2021 even being dubbed the “Year of the Great Resignation.” Employers are under significant pressure to improve how they manage and serve their employee base if they want to remain competitive. And it’s about way more than providing increased flexibility. The key to improving workforce planning, and ultimately employee satisfaction, is evolving its boundaries beyond HR to include collaboration among all departments as per the new planning paradigm, extended planning & analysis (xP&A).
Before now, organizations have planned manually in siloes to their detriment. It’s been a result of both cultural norms ascribed to widely adopted management styles, as well as the inescapable reality of what technology did or did not allow for at the time. This is no longer the case. With modern planning analytics tools, we now maintain the ability to make sense of what’s happening inside an organization in real time and react accordingly.
One thing is clear: talent needs and skills are changing rapidly across industries, and will only continue to.
So, how do you adapt?
Increasing employee satisfaction—and retention
Successful planning of any kind lies in an organization’s ability to aggregate disparate data, democratize access to it, and execute on the real time insights it provides. The same is true for workforce planning. Modern xP&A planning solutions, like IBM Planning Analytics with Watson, allow for true collaboration and the discovery of meaningful data-based insights. They ensure workforce plans are integrated across departments, providing a holistic view of talent needs, and align workforce plans to strategic and operational objectives.
Consider the aforementioned “Great Resignation.” To keep high performers from leaving, companies need to get the employee satisfaction equation right. That means analyzing employment survey data to discern who’s a flight risk and, based on their profile, identifying how to retain them. At the forefront of this issue is accurately predicting salary and compensation. Predictive analytics capabilities within modern planning solutions allow you to incorporate external benchmarks and industry trends to accurately forecast increases, to ensure salary and compensation remain competitive amid constant change. In addition, a modern planning solution allows you to model potential changes with scenario planning to see the impact of decisions before making them. For instance, if you apply merit increases for a certain number of employees, how will that impact your overall bottom line?
Managing headcount and skills planning is a crucial part of the employee satisfaction equation as well. Throughout the COVID experience, we’ve witnessed countless hospitals reach capacity, putting medical professionals through unprecedented burnout given the fact that their critical skills simply can’t be substituted. Yet understaffing even a single hospital floor can have life or death consequences. With prescriptive analytics, organizations can now use constraint-based planning to prescribe the best course of action or staffing schedule to better ensure they have the right resources with the right skills at the right time.
Case study: GKN Aerospace
A prime example of an organization using planning technology today to make the best use of their talent is GKN Aerospace. GKN Aerospace utilizes IBM Planning Analytics with Watson to standardize the workforce planning processes across the enterprise with in-depth insights into their team’s skills. Project managers can now find all the information they may need on their engineers within the solution, including detail on their skills, experience, availability, as well as the costs associated with moving their work on-location vs. to an alternate site. As new projects are kicked off, project managers can set a timeline, outline the resources they will need, and assign the right engineers accordingly.
“Working with IBM means that we will be much better able to match up our existing skills and resources with customer orders. In the past, individual sites had limited visibility of the expertise available elsewhere. For example, while one location might have been recruiting an expert welder, another center could have been letting one go. Now, our sites will be able to track the expertise available across the whole business…”
Learn more: With planning platforms that extend across the enterprise, such as IBM Planning Analytics with Watson, you can aggregate fragmented data, analyze the impact of departmental decisions at an organizational level, and identify how to best serve not only your customers, but your employees too. It’s a win-win. Get started with IBM Planning Analytics today to evolve your workforce planning from a reactive-based strategy to a predictive and prescriptive methodology.
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