Strategic Workforce Planning: how to calculate the ROI?

SWP, or Strategic Workforce Planning, is becoming increasingly important in the current employment context, where the emergence of artificial intelligence and robotics is forecasting a radical transformation of professions. According to a study conducted by Dell and the Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs of 2030 do not yet exist. This inevitable professional mutation highlights the central role of Human Resources in identifying and effectively managing the skills that will be needed for these future jobs.

Implementing a SWP tool, in particular, can have a significant impact on different levels of the company, from production to finance.

Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is a methodology whose primary aim is to organize the workforce in such a way as to help the company achieve its objectives. To achieve this, it is possible to implement a dedicated tool, facilitating the reconciliation of field data with Human Resources data.

But how do you assess the profitability of such a tool? We can help.

What is Strategic Workforce Planning?

Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is the process of aligning a company's objectives with its workforce. Implementing this method requires a detailed knowledge of the skills and competencies required for each workstation. The result is greater versatility, as well as the ability toanticipate recruitment needs.

To implement this method, it is essential to link data from the field (the "trades") with that available to the Human Resources department.

(To find out more, read our article "Strategic Workforce Planning, the tool for your business objectives")

Therefore, Strategic Workforce Planning involves a number of prerequisites, such as:

  • Know the skills related to each process
  • Have constantly updated field data
  • Be able to connect field data with HR data
  • Enable managers to benefit from this information
  • Guarantee the confidentiality of sensitive information

Without the right tools, it's hard to implement strategic workforce planning. Excel spreadsheets, so popular with many companies (especially in industry), are unfortunately not enough.

There are, however, software packages designed to meet the above-mentioned prerequisites. These are called SWP tools. The advantage of such software is that it provides HR managers with real-time data, particularly useful for steering labor costs and optimizing productivity.

If the return on investment is generally reached quickly, its calculation can be rather vague.

Where exactly does the return on investment come from? And how can a company increase its profitability with such software?

The return on investment of Strategic Workforce Planning tools

The return on investment resulting from the implementation of a strategic workforce planning tool does not only apply to Human Resources. In fact, the total ROI is the sum of several benefits:

The impact of Strategic Workforce Planning on production

Certain skills are essential to the smooth running of the production line. The risk is therefore as follows: interrupting production due to the absence of this skill. In concrete terms, if an operator is absent due to illness, thecompany must ensure continuity of activity. However, a manual schedule is not always able to cope with unforeseen situations.

One of the roles of a strategic workforce planning tool is to ensure that the company can constantly adapt, even in the event of unforeseen absences. In fact, the tool defines a certain level of criticality for each position, and thus estimates the number of people to assign.

The risk of slowing down or stopping production lines is therefore greatly reduced.

But that's not all. Tools such as Mercateam help define how many people should be trained and/or empowered to carry out strategic tasks, thus improving the versatility of teams.

Examples of performance indicators to track :

  • Number of production stoppages
  • Versatility rate

A precious help for managers

Without a strategic personnel planning tool, scheduling managers report spending an average of 7 hours designing their teams' schedules. And that's every week. Managing schedules can even become a real headache. You have to make sure that each person respects his or her working hours, and has the right skills and authorizations, while taking into account other constraints in the field.

A SWP tool makes time management much simpler. These are digitized and shared with teams in real time. Mercateam goes even further in assisting planning, by suggesting the most suitable combinations of operators.

Mercateam automatically takes into account various constraints when placing an employee in the right job at the right time: absenteeism, skills, authorizations, training, shifts, scheduling conflicts, etc.

This allows team managers to concentrate on higher value-added tasks.

Examples of performance indicators to track :

  • Time spent managing schedules

How HR benefits from SWP

Finally, strategic workforce planning provides HR managers with the data they need to rationalize costs.

Firstly, the SWP helps to harmonize the schedules of employees. The latter are less exposed to risks such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD), thus limiting work stoppages.

Strategic personnel planning tools also help to optimize costs, particularly those associated with staff training. They are also a useful tool for Talent Management. Indeed, rather than recruiting, it is often possible to train existing staff.

In the same vein, the SWP supports the company's development strategy by identifying recruitment needs early enough to prevent them from becoming a bottleneck.

Examples of performance indicators to track :

  • Turnover rate
  • Number of work stoppages
  • Labor costs

In summary

Implementing a Strategic Workforce Planning tool means making your workforce a major resource in your company's development. The company benefits from visible cost reductions at several levels: production, management and human resources. On the other hand, operators benefit from improved time management, and easier access to skills upgrading. It's worth noting that some strategic workforce planning tools also take into account the different constraints in the field. This is the case with Mercateam, of which you can request a demo now.

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