CWS 3.0: July 31, 2013

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First Steps in Strategic Workforce Management

Strategic workforce management is targeted as just one of buyers’ priorities in 2013, and with three-quarters of buyers predicting their total workforce will grow over the next two years, it is an ongoing discussion.

At its most basic, strategic workforce management is knowing where the talent is in your organization and how to allocate and flex that talent according to business demands. Strategic workforce management at its most complex involves great data, executive stakeholders and courage. Employees and non-employees are all part of your strategic workforce mix, so you will also need organizational cooperation and input from key areas such as HR, finance, legal, purchasing and ultimately interest and ownership from the C-Suite when pursing strategic workforce planning.

Here’s what we advise contingent workforce program managers to do when first exploring strategic workforce management.

  • Talk to executives about hard and soft savings in appropriate time periods, : monthly, quarterly, yearly, five years out and beyond.
  • Consider how you will construct your strategic workforce plan and who will need to be on the journey with you to drive adoption and compliance.
  • Design very clear objectives and targets to create clarity around what the expectations are and how they can be met and measured.
  • Define future expectations that tell your company where you are taking the talent management strategy next and what the pay-off is in terms of quality, cost, efficiency and risk as it applies to your talent ecosytem.
  • Finally, make sure you clearly know what the obstacles are when embarking on such a far reaching and ambitious business strategy, find out what the risks are and make sure your organization is prepared to address them.

There are very few organizations today that have achieved a strategic workforce management program that encompasses all talent. Talent in terms of strategic workforce management includes regular W-2 employees, staff augmentation, temporaries, internal temps, interns, independent contractors, offshore workers, payrolled workers and statement-of-work workers.

Many organizations are well on their way to knowing who is in their talent pool through vendor management systems, managed service programs and better visibility in general; strategic workforce management is a natural next step as programs mature. Lay the framework for your organization to leverage its most important resource — talent. Be brave and see if you can create a cohesive high-level business case to get the attention of your stakeholders and the C-suite to drive interest and buy-in before they ask you to go there. Strategic workforce or total talent management is the next phase, be prepared.

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