Ideas and insights for today’s people-centered leaders.



CSI for HR? Test the Workforce Planning Waters Today With This Forensic HR Template

What is the biggest perceived threat to an HR professional’s productivity?

Time spent on employee management – specifically, answering questions, resolving issues, employee recognition and discipline, according to this study conducted by BambooHR. More than seven out of 10 (71%) of HR professionals who participated in the survey say they spend a lot or most of their time on such employee management issues.

With these statistics as an indicator, I would wager that updating data and tactical employee management tasks often get in the way of more strategic work, like tying talent to business results.

With so little time in an HR practitioner’s day, how is it possible to go from micro-manager to strategic planner?

Getting started with strategic planning means that you need to think about the big ideas driving your business over the next year, and ask: What are those strategic objectives that are the focus of the executive team? Once you know the answer, you just have to figure out how to tie those to actions that affect the workforce. Easy, right?

Actually, linking talent initiatives to business results isn’t as difficult as many think — all you need is a mental framework to help you out. That model involves doing some sleuthing into where you are now, how you got there, and some hunches on where you could be going next. The results look more like a CSI script than you may think.

That’s right — I’m advocating that HR work it CSI-style by becoming a kind of forensic detective. According to Jac Fitz-Enz, the “father” of human capital strategic analysis and measurement, the term “forensic HR Management” is the process of “methodically gathering objective and subjective data about what has happened in the past inside the organization and outside in the market — yielding what analysts call descriptive data.”

This may seem rather complex, but you can get your feet wet today with this handy template:

forensic hr model for workforce planning

HR can take the lead in making business strategy real by proposing how to turn broad strategic objectives into more specific workforce actions. The key here is to make sure to quantify the ideas. Estimating costs and timing isn’t just for Finance anymore! HR is uniquely positioned to fill in how to achieve strategic objectives given their knowledge of the trends and patterns inherent in the internal workforce and the external supply of labor.

Make Workforce Planning a Regular Habit

Workforce planning involves many things, including technology enablement and a culture of strategic thinking. But by making small changes right away and developing a planning-oriented mindset, you can get yourself — and those around you — in the workforce planning habit today.

About the author: Dave Weisbeck

Dave enjoys problems that require both logical and creative solutions, and thus exercise both his left- and right-brain. He started out his career in the 90s writing code as a computer programmer, and then moved on to product management, marketing and general management roles. Dave has a strong background in analytics, having played a key role in the analytics businesses at SAP, Business Objects, and Crystal Decisions. At Visier, he looks after product and market strategy. A proficient do-it-yourselfer (he made his own PVR for fun), Dave’s hobbies include the logical and creative challenges of cooking, home brewing, and photography.

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