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Strategic Workforce Planning: how to calculate the ROI?

Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is gaining increased importance in the current employment landscape, where the emergence of artificial intelligence and robotics is predicted to bring about a radical transformation of jobs. According to a study conducted by Dell and the Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs in 2030 have not yet been created. This inevitable professional shift highlights the central role of Human Resources in identifying and effectively managing the skills that will be required 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 goal is to organize the workforce in a way that helps the company achieve its objectives. To achieve this, it is possible to implement a dedicated tool that facilitates the reconciliation of field data with Human Resources data.

But how to evaluate the profitability of such a tool? We help you to see more clearly.

What is Strategic Workforce Planning?

Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is the process of aligning business objectives with the workforce. Implementing this method requires a detailed knowledge of the skills and abilities required for each workstation to function properly. The result is greater versatility, but also a good ability toanticipate recruitment needs.

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

(To learn more, read our article"Strategic Workforce Planning, the Tool for Achieving 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

Thus, it is complicated to implement strategic workforce planning without adequate tools. Excel spreadsheets, which are popular with many companies (especially in industry), are unfortunately not enough.

Nevertheless, there are software tools designed to meet the above-mentioned requirements. These are called SWP tools. The advantage of this software is that it provides HR managers with real-time data, which is 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 following the implementation of a strategic workforce planning tool is not only at the Human Resources level. 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 proper functioning of the production line. The risk is therefore the following: interrupting production due to the absence of this skill. In concrete terms, if an operator is absent due to illness, thecompany must ensure the continuity of his activity. However, a manual schedule does not always allow for 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 unexpected absences. Indeed, 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. Some tools like Mercateam help define how many people should be trained and/or empowered to perform strategic tasks, thus improving the versatility level of teams.

Examples of performance indicators to track:

  • The number of production stoppages
  • Versatility rate

A precious help for managers

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

A SWP tool makes managing schedules much easier. These are digitized and shared with teams in real time. Mercateam goes further in assisting planning, by suggesting the most suitable operator combinations.

Mercateam automatically takes into account various constraints to place an employee in the right position at the right time: absenteeism, skills, authorizations, training, shifts, schedule conflicts, etc.

This allows team leaders to focus 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 data 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 workforce planning tools also help optimize costs, especially those related to personnel training. They also serve as an aid to Talent Management. Indeed, rather than recruiting, it is often possible to train the existing personnel within the company.

In the same vein, the SWP accompanies the company in its development strategy by identifying recruitment needs early enough so that this does not become a barrier.

Examples of performance indicators to track:

  • Turnover rate
  • The number of sick leaves
  • Labor costs

In summary

Implementing a Strategic Workforce Planning tool means making the workforce a major resource in the company's development. The company benefits from a visible reduction in costs at several levels: production, management and human resources. On the other hand, operators benefit from improved time management and easier access to skills upgrades. It should be noted 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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