Workforce Strategy

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Workforce Strategy Plan
The 12 deadly traps
Workforce Strategic Planning has become a ‘hot’ issue for many organisations as they seek to better manage their most vital intangible asset – their people. In this article, we summarize some of the key contemporary workforce challenges, and argue the business case as to why organizations should develop a workforce strategy, including the adverse implications in failing to do so. We clarify what is meant by the term ‘workforce strategic planning’, given that some misconceptions abound. Finally, we warn of 12 traps to be wary of in developing a workforce strategy.

We contend that many organizations are delusional about their workforce strategy claims. Whilst they may have bundles of HR
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Despite the overwhelming evidence that the people factor is now regarded as the single most important driver of business success, according to surveys of CEOs, it is one of the least effectively managed corporate functions (Hall, 2008).

The Adverse Consequences of Not Having a Workforce Strategy
Many HR functions are typically disparate, yet integration multiplies business value. Often workforce strategies (if indeed they exist) are misaligned or disconnected with business strategies.

The adverse consequences of not having a workforce strategy include:
• A lack of insight and poor or ad hoc people decisions;
• A waste of resources (e.g., could include paying the wrong people too much and the right people too little);
• Locking in low performers by over delivering, and pushing out high performers by under delivering on expectations;
• Operational inefficiencies, poorer performance, excessive vacancies and lack of capability with dissatisfied customers;
• Lack of labor flexibility;
• Lower engagement levels and increased turnover;
• Ignorance of people risks; and
• A lower ROI in
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Failing to recognize and distinguish between ‘make’ versus ‘buy’ roles, critical roles, and roles suitable for outsourcing is the epitome of a non-strategic workforce approach.
5. Offering the same Employment Value Proposition (EVP) for all roles is a formula for substantial recruitment inefficiencies and downstream retention problems.
6. Paying all people at the same market point is a recipe for mediocrity.
7. Reporting turnover for the organization as a whole is an exercise in futility.
8. Many so called workforce strategic planning approaches are really a ‘dressed up’ form of workforce planning (i.e., simply a gap analysis including supply and demand considerations) and are lacking in a whole of workforce approach.
9. Despite the rhetoric, the link or alignment between business and workforce strategies for many organizations is weak or non-existent (i.e., lacks a focus on strengthening critical capabilities and core competencies).
10. The difference between ‘lag’ and ‘lead’ data is poorly understood resulting in HR analytics confusion.
11. The current focus on embracing HR analytics and investing in associated technology before having developed a workforce strategy is like ‘putting the cart before the
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