Strategic Workforce Planning


Future proof workforce with Alternative Delivery Models

How Strategic Workforce Planning & Alternative Delivery Models can future proof the workforce

Is your business or way of working going to substantially change in the upcoming 4-5 years? Do you have the new and right capabilities to achieve your business strategy? Is your workforce fit-for-the-future? Ultimately organizations are the sum of their workforce.

The below list of factors highlights the crucial need to understand your future workforce in order to stay competitive:

  • Increased demand to deliver higher quality, faster, analytics enabled services; the market price is under pressure from competitors
  • Recruitment challenges of getting the right skills at a very low conversion ratio
  • Increased agility required to scale up and down services depending on market demand which essentially pushes companies to face the realities of the a changing workforce – i.e., a diverse workforce encompassing contractors, crowdsourcing, delivery centers, and robots alongside the classical payroll employees

To that end, Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is a methodology which asks the above deceivingly easy questions to unravel deep strategic decisions around operationalizing business planning, fit-for-the-future workforce in terms of quantity and quality (i.e., skills & capabilities).

How to start with Strategic Workforce Planning?

  1. Strategic Workforce Planning starts by bringing in business representatives into the workshop as well as the leadership to create a tight link between business strategy and workforce. In other words, a common HR and Business vision is formed with regards to what workforce is needed to deliver the business strategy. 
  2. Looking at impact on business strategy and scarcity, in step 2, the needed critical roles are identified in order to deliver the business strategy. 
  3. The process continues with quantifying the existing workforce and capturing future demands in step 3. 
  4. The result is a gap analysis, both in terms of quality and quantity, of the critical roles identified. 
  5. Last, the Strategic Workforce Planning trajectory ends by proposing concrete talent routes to close the gap between demand (i.e., the forecasted need) and supply (i.e., the current workforce) by diversifying the workforce through contractors, crowdsourcing, delivery centers, robots alongside the classical payroll employees.

Diversifying your workforce by using Alternative Delivery Models

For example, a professional services company wanted to understand the appetite to diversify its own workforce and understand how ready it was to deliver services in the future. Four Alternative Delivery Models (ADMs) relevant for the client’s industry were identified (i.e., diversifying the workforce with four talent categories, specifically crowdsourcing, contractors, nearshore delivery & offshore delivery centers). The business demand prognosis for the four talent categories was captured. In parallel, supply data was gathered on current use of ADMs, as well as leadership’s vision on the impact of shifting to a more diverse workforce in terms of recruitment, capabilities and succession planning. The conclusion was that there was significant appetite to work with a more diverse workforce, as the Strategic Workforce Planning modelling tool specified per talent category and Business Unit a percentage increase. Additionally, this highlighted the need to adjust the internal organizational to support the shift and the need to make crucial decisions around how to ensure enough young blood in the talent pool to reach senior layers.

The benefits

In terms of recommendations, aligned to client’s culture, a “fail fast, learn fast approach” was recommended where, through pilots, the client would test delivering its services with contractors, crowdsourcing and off/near shore delivery centers. In the process, together with an implementation team, the internal organization would be gradually set up through success cases and “learn-as-you-go” best practices. Moreover, improvement recommendations to the internal talent strategy processes were made with the intent the talent processes to a future diversified workforce.
In general, based on our own experience of Strategic Workforce Planning projects, the benefits are two-fold, providing:

  1. Clarity on the future workforce, including how to make the best use of ADMs alongside onshore population, and 
  2. Actionable insights to inform other talent processes.

The client’s leadership was offered insights into the size of the needed change around Alternative Delivery Models as well as the list of capabilities needed for the future. However, any Strategic Workforce Planning insights should be seen from a broader Talent Strategy context which allows for feeding these insights back into other talent processes. Next steps on talent acquisition, succession planning and mobility were highlighted for further detailing. Through the Strategic Workforce Planning methodology.

How to become future-proof?

If you also want to be future-proof and benefit from ADMs, start your Strategic Workforce Planning project tomorrow. Bring the topic to the table in HR and business meetings and start drafting a plan of approach to put it into action. To ensure a good start, as an HR professional, you should ask (in close co-operation with the business) which roles are business critical in the future. For these roles, are there sufficient internal resources available, now and in the future? And what roles can you potentially source from the variety of ADM types? Make it concrete by defining the available and requested FTEs and job skills. Reach out to our Strategic Workforce Planning experts to help you further shape your project.

More information?

Do you want to know more about strategic workforce planning? Please contact Bob van Dijk, John Smolenaers or Anca Dranca-lacoban via the contact details below. 

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