Can Contingent Workforce Planning Ensure Your Business is Future Fit?


Pete Hamilton

Vice President and Managing Director, APAC

Everyone’s contingent talent planning journey starts somewhere, and many organisations and businesses are at the beginning of this path – able to respond to immediate talent needs but keen to expand their view and embed strategic workforce planning into their wider outlook. This is a great ambition and one that I speak and write about quite a bit, but it’s important to understand that strategic workforce planning isn’t something you can switch on overnight. True strategic workforce planning looks five to seven years into the future, and for most businesses, the pandemic has made this more of a challenge forcing them to re-evaluate their approach and have the right foundation in place to make that leap.

I believe it’s important to start with a strong understanding of demand and operational planning. This means getting to grips with the resources an organisation needs for the next quarter, the next year, or the next 18 months. By embedding strategic processes and analysis that help you look ahead to the medium term, you can bridge that important gap between immediate workforce needs and a deep, strategic outlook. Let’s take a look at the ways that businesses can begin to implement workforce planning and the benefits of getting future fit.

Starting with Visibility

To understand future demand, a business has to understand what its temporary workforce looks like right now. This sounds simple, but when you’re talking about complex or global organisations, it’s not. Gartner research shows that only 33% of HR leaders rate their organisations as effective at using data in workforce planning. To improve visibility, a business may need technical and analytical support from a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or input from an external talent consultant – but however you get to full visibility, it’s important that you get there, because without this oversight, it’s almost impossible to plan for what’s to come. Traditionally, contingent recruitment has been fast and furious, with providers designed to fill a role fast without looking forwards or back. Today, great providers have become more consultative, working with organisations to think beyond the next hire.

The Planning Journey

Once a business has a good grip on its current workforce, it’s important to start asking questions and keep asking them. What new projects do you have on the horizon? What are your business goals? What is your internal talent strategy and how is it evolving? What are potential catalysts for resourcing in the current or coming quarters? These answers should shape an organisation’s resource planning strategy and be refined and focused over time. This includes looking back at how closely resource predictions matched up with actual demand. Where these predictions fail to meet up, further investigation should be used to continually evolve a workforce planning approach.

Workforce Planning Benefits

Workforce planning is undoubtedly a lot of work, so what’s the upside? A significant benefit for most businesses is cost reduction; it can reduce unnecessary hires and ensure that resources are being maximised effectively across every part of an organisation. It can also have a positive impact on the people an organisation is hiring; when a business has a strong idea of who they are looking for and why, this can boost both talent engagement and retention. Ultimately, having a more strategic approach to contingent workforce planning can help to ensure that you have the right people in the right place, helping a business to meet its goals faster and increase revenue.

Want to talk workforce strategy, resource planning, or chat about my recent blogs? Drop me a line to start a conversation.


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