Workforce planning is always going to be inherently human. After all, it takes a human touch to make the instinctive decisions that define an organisation’s vision. That said, new developments in technology in an increasingly digital age mean that human strategists can take a step back from more mundane, automatable tasks and instead focus on big picture ideas. So when it comes to workforce planning, where exactly is digital technology making its mark with talent?
digitising talent for workforce planning
If workforce planning is about aligning an organisation’s overall objectives with the makeup of its workforce, then it’s fair to say that talent acquisition should sit near the top of the agenda. These days, new technology can help identify current gaps in the workforce and gaps that might arise in the future. The online nature of work means that finding candidates to fill those positions has also been digitised through online databases and marketplaces. This is especially true with the rise of the contingent workforce and gig economy.
Permanent hiring processes have also been transformed by workforce planning digitalisation. Long gone are the days of sticking ‘help wanted’ signs to windows. Instead, postings are found mostly on online job boards or social media sites like LinkedIn. The actual recruitment process has been streamlined too, with AI assisting in everything from ATS resume scanning to workplace simulations, games and tests, while simultaneously providing usable data about which candidates will best fill workforce needs.
Something to keep in mind with the now online nature of talent acquisition is employer branding. When candidates can leave scathing reviews for anyone to see, it’s important to be both transparent and careful in the recruiting process. This, as well as monitoring online branding overall, should feature in any organisation’s workforce plan.
The other side of talent acquisition is talent management. Aside from simply keeping track of employees in a digital database, employers can use new technologies to assist workers in reaching their maximum potential. At the most basic level, software can streamline processes like onboarding and boost employee satisfaction by offering company culture schemes, a direct line of communication between employees and the C-Suite, and (perhaps most importantly) the possibility of flexible employment through work-from-home setups.
Digitalisation is also an invaluable tool for retaining staff, which, for many, is at the crux of workforce planning. Aside from measuring employee satisfaction, digital performance management tools similar to those used in recruiting new candidates can also ensure that current employees are equipped to succeed. As we move even deeper into the digital age, upskilling and retraining are essential to workforce planning and development. They are made all the easier by online workshops and classes. On top of this, using analytics to measure the results of retraining provides the opportunity to pinpoint employees with the potential to become future business leaders. It is these future leaders that will see the established workforce plans through to their realisation.
At the moment, talent related technology is the cornerstone of digital workforce planning, yet it is not the be all and end all. Services like Randstad Technologies and Randstad Technology Solutions are assisting organisations take advantage of the digital age with everything from technology consulting to reinvigorating stalled projects, alongside traditional workforce planning needs. If a business is to be prepared for the digital revolution, it first needs to make the most of what’s already available.