from HR Insight, our HR newsletter, no. 1
Planning is back
HR planning is back at centre stage for many organisations, after a period of neglect. Whatever is driving the move: a tighter labour market, new resourcing challenges, or the threat of failing to meet business challenges, organisations are reviewing their HR planning capacity.
Past criticism has been that the world moves on too fast to bother with predicting the future. Agile companies succeed through flexibility to respond to changing events, whereas planning was associated with bureaucracy and form-filling. As organisations dismantled their HR planning teams and devolved any requirement to forecast workforce numbers to line managers, the capacity to plan withered. IES’s work reflected this trend with a noticeable reduction in projects associated with HRP. As the examples in this newsletter demonstrate, this situation is changing.
So why is HR planning back in vogue? An obvious answer is that the labour market has been tighter over the last few years compared with the past. Under these circumstances one might expect organisations to ‘hoard’ labour. And while retention of the best remains a priority, pressures on cost efficiency and the likelihood of frequent corporate re-organisation, have made it inappropriate to be anything other than tightly staffed. Yet the concomitant pressure to deliver to demanding specifications has meant that the quality of labour and its performance has to keep on improving.
Such a squeeze on organisations has led to the ‘war for talent’ that has extended beyond a few high potential graduates. So organisations need to get a better handle on the size, nature and quality of their own workforce, an idea of the same features of the labour market from where it can draw its staff and, crucially, a reasonable impression of the organisation’s demand for labour over the next few years. Answering these questions will not only develop HR planning capability, but will also gain greater understanding of the organisation’s human capital, and help fill in some important metrics for human capital reporting.
Examples of IES work in HR planning:
IES has been helping BAA examine its HRP capability and, specifically, the resourcing of the Terminal 5 project and the supply issues that might exist for airport employers in the Heathrow area over the next ten years.
Contact Peter Reilly about supply issues.
Workforce modelling assists the HR planning process by showing the results of different ‘what if?’ scenarios. Much of the value of workforce modelling lies in the process of putting together the model. Finding out how the ‘HR system’ actually works for an organisation, employee group or profession, is a voyage of discovery — and sometimes leads to an immediate pinpointing of problem areas.
- IES was asked by the Home Office to determine how many people should be recruited annually onto the fast-track scheme in the police service if, in 20 years time, former fast-track graduates were to fill half of the top rank posts.
- RCVS needed to know the implications of the feminisation of the veterinary profession on the number of students recruited onto undergraduate courses in veterinary schools. What will happen if demand for veterinary services stops increasing?
Contact Dilys Robinson about workforce modelling.