Attributed to Jedox
Economists call it labor – a term that has a far more complex meaning in the modern digital economy. This input gives us streamlined supply chains; it gives us initiative, drive, and purpose. It gives us innovation, strategy, and efficiency. It is little wonder that today we much prefer the word “talent” to describe the thing that no business can be without – its people.
In days gone by, offer the right salary and compensation package and you could attract top talent. Today, we must look to a host of other factors that allow us to attract and retain the skills we need to remain relevant in our markets. Recruiters face a different talent market now, and not just because they describe it as a “talent market”. Expectations have changed. Around two thirds (66%) of UAE workers will seek a new job in 2023, 46% expect to learn new skills, and 44% will be demanding a pay rise. Numbers like these strongly suggest a workforce that now considers itself on the outer side of the shop window.
Here is the bottom line: if enterprises want to grow, compete, and prosper, they must recruit; and if they want to recruit, they must have a plan for how they attract and retain their target skills. A unified workforce plan is essential. It will leverage a shared technology platform to strengthen collaboration between finance and HR, which have already teamed up to care for employees as never before during the pandemic. It will shave the onboarding cycle by pruning the process, thereby also being less of a drain on resources. And all the while, the platform (rather than the HR team) will take care of regulatory compliance by protecting employee and proprietary data. Even environment, social, and governance (ESG) postures can be supported by unified workforce planning, especially as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Hearts and souls
A unified and strategic approach to workforce planning has some obvious long-term advantages. Good planning means considering how the organisation needs to be built for future challenges. Through a comprehensive knowledge platform, HR will always know the workforce’s current capabilities, the varied ways they can be leveraged to deliver on business goals, and how quickly teams can be staffed and skilled while retaining focus on DEI. What follows are five major benefits of unified workforce planning.
1. Expectations setting
Given the intense competition for talent across the region, organisations must move quickly on their skills targets and retain the right talent. Then they must walk the line between day-to-day autonomy for these new starts and the productivity needs of the enterprise. The planning platform allows leaders to calculate target productivity ratios and compare them with industry benchmarks. This is helpful for boards and potential investors but also for employees, who are more likely to trust expectations when they are aware of an objective methodology behind them.
Technology platforms for unified workforce planning represent a single source of truth. This makes it easier for multiple stakeholders to work together. Every department head will be able to see potential delays in hiring and use these insights to come up with more realistic budgets. Transparency and monitoring allow executive teams to quickly and accurately answer questions from investors and other stakeholders. And questions of who to hire and when are more easily answered.
3. Capital raising
When investors evaluate the potential of a business, workforce planning data can give them a clearer picture of what may lie ahead. If a company can demonstrate that it has the insights on hand to plan the ebb and flow of its skills base, it will have an easier time inspiring confidence in sources it relies upon for capital. Productivity ratio data tells investors a lot, revealing agility and flexibility that are of vital importance when markets move from bull to bear states.
4. Capital allocation
Funds in hand, the planning platform is also invaluable in letting HR, finance, and other stakeholders know the best target areas for investment. Technology can evaluate risks and potential benefits so that CFOs can make the right moves. The unified workforce planning solution empowers them with more intelligent control over the workforce and its associated costs.
In the years since COVID struck, we see an increasing number of reports around the world, and regionally, that tell a story of the new employee – one that expects their employer to care about societal issues. Workforce planning solutions can track DEI metrics and pay equity, forming the foundation of a framework for cultural objectivity. Formalised data, combined with total transparency, can reveal a range of inequities, and deliver insights for the formulation of solutions.
Having realized that people matter, people matter becomes all the more critical. Human capital markets everywhere have become more competitive. And let us never forget that as remote work continues to take root, those talent markets will become more globalised. This is an entirely new challenge that upends recruitment strategies and forces employers to revisit the employee lifecycle and cultivate greater harmony between finance and HR teams. This is a job for unified workforce planning solutions, which plug the data gap between workforce plans and financial planning and analysis (FP&A). Businesses that opt for unified workforce planning can strike the balance between superlative employee experiences and the age-old productivity equation.