Workforce Planning: Recruiting’s Got to Get Involved

While close to half of organizations consider workforce planning an integral part of their overall staffing and recruiting, only 27% of workforce planning processes are conducted by recruiting and staffing departments. See the chart, showing ownership of workforce planning.

That’s data from the Bersin & Associates’ Workforce Planning survey (which a lot of people from ERE took earlier this year). Sixty-seven organizations, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, responded. Bersin partnered with the Newman Group.

The majority of workforce planning processes are owned by individual business leaders, and thus disjointed from recruiting and even HR. At many organizations, such as T-Mobile, talent acquisition directors expressed a strong demand for workforce planning, but the responsibility to lead this program lay with the benefactors of the data, the business unit leaders.

Workforce planning needs to be an integral part of the overall staffing and recruiting organization. In this capacity, talent acquisition should not only create interest around the topic; it should help drive the process.

In order to gain a seat at the table, talent acquisition needs to share in the level of ownership and accountability for workforce planning.

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In strategic workforce planning processes (something I’m writing about in the June Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership), 43% of workforce planning efforts are conducted by recruiting and staffing. As a result, 64% are able to better plan recruiting and staffing needs. Companies that implement consistent workforce planning processes throughout their entire organization rely heavily on their talent acquisition departments.

They take a different approach and involve recruiting: 53% of these organizations indicated that workforce planning is conducted by recruiting and staffing. One key driver for workforce planning is to link recruitment, development, and training decisions to organizational goals. Without involvement and support from talent acquisition departments, organizations will not achieve this goal.

Madeline Laurano is the Research Director, Talent Acquisition Solutions, within Aberdeen's Human Capital Management research practice, and is responsible for leading and collaborating on Aberdeen's research coverage across a range of HCM topics, including talent mobility, workforce planning, sourcing strategy, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), employer branding, onboarding and talent acquisition. Additionally she is responsible for delivering research findings via published works, speaking engagements, on-line events, and Aberdeen's annual Human Capital Management Summit. Before joining the Aberdeen Group, Madeline was a talent systems analyst for the Newman Group, driving the company's success in the area of Talent Management Technology Evaluation and Selection. Madeline joined The Newman Group from Bersin & Associates, where she served as Principal Analyst of Talent Acquisition. Prior to joining Bersin, Madeline served as the Research Director for ERE Media where she created the ERE webinar series, published the Talent Acquisition Industry Analysis and Buyers Guide, lead the community discussion groups, and conducted various research products and services.


2 Comments on “Workforce Planning: Recruiting’s Got to Get Involved

  1. While I would agree that integration with recruiting and staffing is essential to successful workforce planning, I disagree with the follow-on logic that this function must own workforce planning.

    Based on Infohrm’s 2008 Global Workforce Planning Survey, we found that when ownership of workforce planning resides with Business Units or Management, organizations are more likely to recognize a competitive advantage – this can be interpreted as a direct competitor or competition for labor. After all, the goal of workforce planning is to reduce the risks to business strategy that are associated with workforce capacity, capability, and flexibility. As such, the foundation for workforce planning is the corporate/business unit strategy – so it follows naturally that workforce planning should be owned by the business units themselves. In the end, the business units are the ones responsible for the success or failure of their strategic plans, and the human capital requirements of the strategy are no less part of their responsibility than the financial, technical, operational, or other components.
    This is not to say that HR’s role, including recruiting and staffing as well as learning and development, isn’t critical. As stewards of the process, HR professionals need to be the content experts and consultants in the workforce planning process – articulating the value of workforce planning, providing the necessary tools and processes, aggregating results, and driving accountability. Our research has shown this is best managed from a Center of Excellence.

    HR must ask the challenging questions that compel managers to think about what drives workforce demand, assisting the business in translating their strategies into human capital needs. HR also leads the business in developing the strategies to ensure the needed workforce is delivered. Many of these strategies will be focused on recruiting or impact recruiting, so involvement in the process and integration of strategies is essential to success.

    Workforce planning brings several critical functions together to strategically manage human capital. Recruiting and staffing is one of them, but this does not mean they must own the process.

  2. Paige – would you be open to sharing the data from the survey and, of equal importance, the questions used to compile the survey?

    I wonder if we aren’t all in violent agreement on the topic and struggling over definitions of things like “ownership” of the process? Clearly without the participation of the line, the HR Business Partner, and Recruiting, then what you tend to end up with is tweaked analytics rather then a true executable work force plan.

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