Competing for talent that is scarce in today’s marketplace has created a need for more comprehensive, blow-by-blow analysis of a company’s current and future workforce. In this article, we’ll define what this sort of planning involves, provide an example, and discuss how companies can use labor market data to more effectively manage their pipeline of talent.
Strategic workforce planning is the use of data and analysis to make longer-term (or strategic) decisions on human capital needs to supplement shorter-term (or tactical) decisions. Some companies are more data-reliant, and data-savvy, than others, but what’s clear is that the emergence of Big Data and analytics is having an effect on recruitment and human resources departments. One challenge that comes along with this, as noted in Bloomberg BNA by Boeing’s Dianna Peterson, is “changing behavior throughout the company with facts and data.”
But once companies adopt a data-focused mentality, they face another problem: what types of information do they make part of their decision-making process, and what information do they discard? The Human Capital Institute’s Amy Lewis writes:
In Talent Management, the first, and most obvious, use of Big Data applies to workforce planning. Firms that have struggled for years to even capture the right information now stare down the barrel of not having analysts who know how to use it. This is real problem to address in workforce planning: how to link workforce data with business goals, educate managers, and adapt as the business changes.
An Example: Boeing
How are companies using data to build better near- and long-term plans? A good example comes from Boeing. The aircraft manufacturer, with 170,000 employees worldwide, uses workforce modeling to predict talent gaps in its organization — before they emerge.
Among the factors Boeing considers are: “…. predicted business trends at Boeing and associated workforce skill needs; workforce demographics (including skill populations, job levels, age, and retirement eligibility); predicted changes in the national economy; workforce-related policies (including staffing growth or reductions, promotions, and retirements); and workforce trends in retirements, voluntary terminations, internal transfers, and promotions.”
By tracking and modeling data on its company and the economy at large, Boeing can better identify critical skills and analyze the supply and demand for those skills. It has a stronger grasp on its huge internal workforce and when it needs to ramp up the supply of talent to fill gaps. In the long term, this helps Boeing minimize turnover.
How Labor Market Data (And EMSI) Fits In
Look at the factors Boeing considers in its workforce modeling. Workforce demographics, changes in the economy, jobs trends – all these, and more, can be tackled with robust labor market information. EMSI brings together huge amounts of employment, economic, and education data from more than 90 sources to give our clients the big picture on their regions and a better footing on which to make workforce-related decisions. We have the data and services to help workforce planners and recruiters on a strategic and tactical level.
To discuss how to get a handle on Big Data and use labor market data for strategic workforce planning, EMSI and Kelly Services are hosting a webinar on April 11 at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT). The webinar will also give a sneak peak of our new Talent Market Analyst, which is designed to help you easily navigate labor market data and apply it in your business development strategies. Register for the webinar at this link.