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What is workforce planning and analysis, and why is it valuable? – Dresner reports

In a recent podcast, I delved into the details of Workforce Planning, and its value, with Dresner Advisory Service VP and Distinguished Analyst, Jim Erickson, and Michael Lengenfelder, Unit4’s Head of FP&A Product Management. 

We discussed the value of this digital tool and why companies should pay attention to the product as it grows in use.

Why is Workforce Planning and Analysis important?

In simple terms, workforce planning tools provide insight into HR that can’t be gained from legacy systems like Excel

Michael Lengenfelder identifies two key reasons why these tools are important, and why they are increasing in use. Firstly, “the workforce is key in achieving corporate objectives” and that analysis and forecasting of workforce data are vital for business success.

Secondly, Lengenfelder points out that costs related to the workforce are the highest in most organizations, to which Jim Erickson adds that as these organizations grow these tools become more important.

Moreover, these tools provide vital data that can be integrated into other business functions such as financial analysis and general budgeting, allowing them to be even more far-reaching and accurate. When you are in control of your data, you can better prepare for the future. 

What is Workforce Planning and Analysis?

Workforce Planning and Analysis (WP&A) is a performance management tool. Many organizations may already use performance management and analysis tools within their financial function. 

Jim provides his own definition in his report: “Workforce planning and analysis are the tools and processes that help align workforces with business goals, strategies, and workplace dynamics.”

Ultimately, HR can cost when not managed. The main goal of these tools is to analyze the performance of HR processes and use the knowledge gained through analysis to forecast current and future needs, address imbalances, and reduce costs.

Strategic workforce planning provides performance analysis data that can identify HR operations that require work to be cost-efficient or provide a better employee experience - the kind of insight that would take investment and effort to gain manually. 

Once organizations adopt these tools, they gain great insight into not just HR processes and people performance, but how this affects other areas of business such as finance. 

With this, we can forecast for the future and be more prepared for, and adapt easily to, future problems.



How an integrated Workforce Planning tool can inform wider corporate strategy

The fact the C-suite is interested in workforce planning tools demonstrates they are more than a cost-saving practice, but the wider integration of the tool is key to informing wider corporate strategy. 

Jim Erickson identifies how companies that adopt workforce planning tools achieve success with ‘business intelligence’ which is a testament to the ability of this tool to inform wider corporate strategy through integrated data.

Business intelligence is a key metric for Dresner Advisers, which Jim defines as “knowledge gained through the access and analysis of business information”. 

In this report by Dresner, they found that, of the 40% currently using workforce planning tools, 60% were considered very successful with business intelligence.

Success with business intelligence is defined by strategic success, led by informed decisions based on insightful and integrated data analysis. Integrated insight allows financial teams to include this in their forecasts and better prepare for future events.

It’s clear that those who have the tools to manage, analyze, and forecast their HR data are in better control of their business, their costs, and their ability to inform and achieve corporate goals.

By integrating finance and HR data, we create synergy between functions, delivering huge returns on investment through optimized use of current resources. Again, this synergy means when the unlikely occurs teams are informed with the data and can adapt easily.

Join the conversation about the value of workforce planning by listening to our podcast and get the full story today or consult our blog that goes into more detail of the report

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Oliver Sullivan

Oliver Sullivin

Sales Growth Director - Global FP&A

Oliver joined Unit4 in 2020 and is the Director of Sales Growth for Unit4 FP&A globally.  Oliver has also worked as the Global Head of Solution Consulting at Unit4 and has more than 20 years’ experience in transforming organizational planning, analysis and reporting processes.