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Revolutionizing Workforce Planning With AI

Workforce Planning – as most people know it – usually involves a group of executives coming together once per year to discuss things like their talent needs, and hiring goals and timelines.

This is the way Workforce Planning has been done for a long time, and many companies are still trying to do it this way. The problem is, the pace of change in the external market has increased exponentially, which means the decisions you made around your talent needs nine months ago, are (almost certainly) no longer what you actually need today.

In this article, we want to share how technology, such as explainable AI, can help revolutionize your Workforce Planning strategies.

Traditional Workforce Planning doesn’t work

“Traditional” Workforce Planning is no longer effective in today’s ever-changing world. It’s not that there’s no value in getting top executives together annually to discuss business strategy and make plans – it’s that the external market, technology, and other factors that affect your business are changing so fast, that a once per year planning session around talent is not enough.

Many business leaders will agree that their organizations have struggled to meet changing business needs – especially around talent. According to our survey of business leaders, 51% of respondents said that being able to adapt talent approaches quickly to changing market conditions was one of the top challenges they are facing this year.

So what can HR, Talent, and business leaders do to ensure their Workforce Planning is better suited to today’s market and (more importantly) effective? They must first rethink what they know about Workforce Planning, on a fundamental level.

It’s time to adopt a new mindset

It’s clear that organizations need to find a better way – if they want to keep up with demand and gain a competitive advantage. The good news is, with AI, there is a better way.

In an ideal state, your organization should be able to adapt its Workforce Plans as quickly as skills gaps open, talent moves internally, or as soon as employees develop new skills. Workers are dynamic, and have unique skill sets that are growing all the time. Why shouldn’t your Workforce Plans be dynamic as well?

The truth is, that today’s business leaders need to change the way they look at Workforce Planning as a practice – it should be treated as a living, breathing “document” that changes as talent supply and demand shifts.

But how do you actually go about doing that? In order to make the transformational switch to real-time Workforce Planning, you must first understand the skills you have internally, the skills gaps that need to be filled, and what talent is available in the external environment. This requires sophisticated and dynamic Skills Intelligence.

Enter AI & Skills Intelligence

What exactly do we mean by ‘Skills Intelligence’? This means having a holistic view of the skills each of your employees have, and a complete understanding of the skills landscape outside of the organization. Crucially, this data should be kept up to date automatically.

This is only possible with a clear skills taxonomy and AI-driven technology. When you have a skills taxonomy established, and skills are commonly defined across all areas of the business, your organization can better understand the connections between specific skills, projects, jobs, and business outcomes.

With this deep knowledge around skills, HR and Talent leaders can effectively allocate talent where it’s needed most – faster and more accurately than ever before.

AI is a vital part of this process. The technology has the ability to make inferences about skills that a worker likely has (or could pick up quickly), based on the work they’ve already done. AI can go even deeper than that – by helping to determine workers’ proficiency level of certain skills at any given time.

Within Workforce Planning, Skills Intelligence empowers HR and business leaders to make better, more confident decisions around talent, backed by skills-based data. True Skills Intelligence takes the guesswork out of Workforce Planning – you know exactly what skills your organization has, what skills gaps need to be filled right now, and what gaps you’ll likely need to fill in the future.

With explainable AI and Skills Intelligence, your organization can begin to enter a new era for Workforce Planning and Talent Management.

Embrace real-time Workforce Planning

It’s time to bring your Workforce Planning back to life. As the needs of your business change, your plans around hiring, talent mobility, and learning and development must be able to do the same.

With the right AI-powered technology, businesses can get closer to “skills nirvana” – having the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles, at the right time. AI-driven technology can help you make more agile decisions around talent, allowing your organization to be extremely nimble and resilient.

This makes filling skills gaps as they arise much easier – whether that’s due to a new or emerging technology or an unexpected resignation. You can simply look at the holistic picture of your organization’s skills, and see if you already have employees who possess the skills you need. And if you don’t have those skills internally, you can look to your Talent CRM to identify candidates in the market who do, and might be ready for a job change.

None of this is possible without choosing the right HR Tech partner. At Beamery, we understand that a Workforce Plan can provide your organization with a continuous competitive advantage – yet that is not the result when it’s done in an outdated manner. Large-scale skills transformations are long overdue across most industries, and we’re here to help.

If your organization is working towards a skills transformation, or is struggling to effectively anticipate your workforce needs, reach out to one of our experts.

Download the report, RIP Workforce Planning, to learn more about how real-time skills intelligence can transform your Workforce Planning.

And register for our virtual event with HR Brew, to learn how to make your talent data work for you.