Workforce planning is a remarkably effective tool in the arsenal of any organization, since it facilitates a clear understanding of an organization’s capabilities and personnel as individual units among a cohesive entity. This complete comprehension of every active component of an organization assures its success in identifying current and future workforce supply and demand, which can be integral in managing organizational performance outcomes during change, growth, or similar events.
However, a well-informed outlook on workforce planning is by no means an intrinsic ability found in all organizational leaders. In fact, since it is applicable to practically any organization, regardless of size or location, there is immense potential in the variation of a workforce planning process. To guide this process, ISO 30409:2016 – Human resource management – Workforce planning assists in its use, allowing those involved to harness its value for organizations, the industries or sectors involved, the organizations’ local regions, and the people.
The direct product of workforce planning is business intelligence, which can reliably inform businesses of the potential current and future impact brought on by external and internal forces. External influences can come from local, regional, national, or international sources, and they include government regulation, technology, and compliance issues. Internal influences cover varying market conditions and a variety of factors related to the individual processes of the organization, such as workplace policy and practices.
Understanding these business environments and their influence is integral for enabling an understanding of their value to the relevant parties. For example, workforce planning can allow people to know the current and future talent requirements of an organization, which betters the hiring process and future workforce. The modern workforce, however, is becoming increasingly challenging to navigate, due to increasing globalization, enhanced technologies, and an overall shift in demographics. Embracing this and successfully traversing the current industry and its regulations can grant seemingly innumerable benefits for an organization.
While ISO 30409:2016 does standardize the workforce planning procedure, it does not purport to specify a single shared method of carrying it out. Instead, it covers several means of conducting the process, identifying the many concerns and interests that human resource management should consider. At the core of this is the structure of workforce planning.
The structure should address the issues relevant to the organization, and it is often necessary to segment the workforce for assessment. The exact segmentation approach, according to ISO 30409:2016, is varied, but some approaches are recognized in the standard as being more mature than others. For example, one of the most basic segmentation approaches is by organizational structure, which clearly identifies workers among reporting lines, but overlooks essential factors like skills or capabilities.
A more mature approach is that of “job family”. This classifies the workforce by similar competencies, which allows for enhanced workforce planning and analysis. However, the most mature segmentation approach that ISO 30409:2016 identifies is “job criticality”. This classifies the roles by their level of importance to the organization, which can facilitate an efficient allocation of resources.
The standard also calls for a layered approach for segmentation, which dynamically incorporates aspects of the different segmentation approaches. An example of this is shown in Figure 1:
Explanations of the segments and examples of their application are shown in Table 3 of ISO 30409:2016:
This layered approach is useful for “job profiling”, the identification of skills and capabilities needed in an organization, which supports a highly mature approach of workforce segmentation. An important factor when handling the risk of this process is “unapproved demand”, or the “identified additional workforce that has not been approved for the organization.”
At the end of it all, none of the efforts made in workforce planning are useful unless the data can be analyzed properly. To conduct this analysis, there needs to be members of the workforce who can effectively make use of analytics.
ISO 30409:2016 – Human resource management – Workforce planning is available now on the ANSI Webstore.
1. International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 30409:2016 – Human resource management – Workforce planning (Geneva: ISO, 2016), 9.
2. International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 30409:2016 – Human resource management – Workforce planning (Geneva: ISO, 2016), 10.