Are you nearly or really getting strategic workforce planning right?

Are you getting strategic workforce planning right

David Knight discusses how getting the best from your workforce today and in the future, is at the heart of successful business planning and strategy


Associate Partner

KPMG in the UK


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Getting the best from your workforce, today and in the future, is at the heart of successful business planning and strategy – are you getting it right?

The war for talent continues at pace, and combined with changing demographics, an ageing workforce and unpredictable markets, there has never been a greater need for organisations to proactively plan the scale, shape and skills profile of their workforce.

The recently published report on the subject from KPMG and the Corporate Research Forum on the subject highlights the fact that many UK employers have strategic workforce plans in some shape or form, however relatively fewplan well and, quite simply, many of these plans are underperforming - something that resonates enormously with my own experience in supporting clients with their strategic workforce planning challenges. At the same time, there is a greater desire to perform much better in this area - and this increased commitment to more effective workforce planning is coming from the wider executive team and not just the HR Director.

The reality is that so many things can block and dilute the impact of strategic workforce planning in an organisation. Every case is different, but there are a number of shortfalls that I see regularly and these also stand out in the report findings. For example, poor alignment of the workforce plan with the business strategy; not recognising the new skills implications of a change in strategy; and a vagueness from executives on workforce plan fundamentals.

It’s clear to me in consulting with a wide range of clients, that executive teams can see the enormous business benefits from improved workforce planning – better talent management, more effective recruitment and retention, cost optimum service delivery, enhanced workforce agility and above all else, improved shareholder value.

This is a long list of outcomes which any organisation would willingly sign up to, but before then, a clear commitment and sponsorship from the executive team, along with a willingness for Operations, HR and Finance to collaborate and work together, are all imperative.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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