Ditch the crystal ball. Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) removes the guesswork from talent acquisition.

When it comes to tech trends, the potential of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) has been promising great things for some time. Google Glass went early as the next big thing, before being shelved (at least in its original form), while last year Pokémon Go quickly became Pokémon Gone.

But some unexpected industries are embracing AR. New AR technologies are helping to address the cost and schedule overruns that plague the construction industry, by taking virtual design data and overlaying it on a physical space. It allows developers to walk through a computer-generated space, effectively enabling them to see into the future, spot potential issues and address them, back in the real world, before they cause problems.

The deployment of AR in the construction industry shows what’s possible when intangible data is made real. It takes a data-driven exercise out of the realm of crystal ball gazing and grounds it in reality to produce tangible results.

Fortune telling, grounded in facts

In our recent online seminar, the second in our series on the future of work, we looked at the power of strategic workforce planning (SWP) – a process that is removing the crystal ball from talent management in a similar way.

The reality that SWP builds is based on aligning your business cycle, which dictates demand, with the people cycle, which forms the supply side of the equation. Done properly, SWP helps an organization fully understand the implications of their strategy and to create an adjustment loop between strategy and resourcing to make sure you deliver your target, without overspend.

A perfect talent storm

There’s no doubt that the drive towards digitization is changing the way businesses organize. In both emerging and mature markets, organizations are looking for a different talent profile, focused more on collaboration and agility. Potential employees and members of the gig economy, on the other hand, are demanding more flexibility from the organization itself.

These conditions are resulting in a war for talent across APAC, with 57% of talent acquisition professionals reporting that sourcing qualified candidates is harder today than it was one year ago. Good people are hard to find, as businesses realize that the skills they’re looking for aren’t necessarily provided by a university degree.

There are demographic effects too, which play out differently across the region. While China’s workforce is shrinking, India’s is growing rapidly but training and professional development aren’t keeping pace.

From fast growth to smart growth

The way these challenges are felt by businesses can be surprising. We recently worked on an SWP exercise with a Chinese organization which revealed that fast growth in a growth market runs the risk of becoming unsustainable. While the company’s sales were growing at a healthy rate of 12.6%, their people costs were expanding even faster, progressively destroying value in the company.

The SWP analysis helped the organization understand the productivity gains that were necessary to support the growth. In doing so, they changed their path from fast growth to smart growth.

Getting started

  1. Understand the full implications of business strategy – the time has passed when business could focus on growth and then optimize cost. SWP provides the data to do both at the same time, providing the key to understanding what your strategy requires in terms of resources.
  1. Elevate the conversation – SWP demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between strategy and people and provides the analytics to elevate the conversation to the strategic level.
  1. Find a pilot – the power of SWP is best shown in practice. Look for opportunities to pilot a program in a new venture or country or through a gender parity analysis.

You can find the recordings of all our Future of Work online seminars here. Learn what the Future of Work means for your people strategy, why strategic workforce planning plays a crucial part in it and how to attract, retain and lead your workforce of the future.

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About Contributor

Cynthia Cottrell is a Senior Client Partner within Korn Ferry's Organization Strategy practice. With over 20 years of experience, she works closely with clients to deliver business transformation by effectively ensuring alignment between customer needs, business strategy, operations, and organisation.

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