Workforce Visibility - What every HR Leader Should Know

Post reproduced from Sage Employer Solutions Blog.

“How many people work in your business?” It’s a simple question, but one many HR professionals are hard-pressed to answer without several weeks of research. And in a fast-changing business environment, that’s several weeks too long.

Having consistent, accurate, up-to-date information about your workforce is essential. It allows your business to be more efficient, responsive and effective. Lawrence D. Brown, Professor of Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests there is evidence that robust HR systems can even improve shareholder value.

But having the right processes is only part of the story. Aberdeen Group says the value of workforce visibility is in “the ability to define the talent required by business needs in terms of skills, behaviors, and attributes.”

Essentially, it’s the acknowledgment that obstacles are overcome through different skillsets. HR leaders need to be able to see the make-up of their organization to match individuals with different goals.

Making people tick

Workforce visibility will help you become a more efficient HR professional… and a better manager. It will help you understand the needs and desires of your people and find ways of empowering them to contribute more to your business.

On the other hand, bad people management shoehorns individuals into roles or teams to fill a resource gap. It’s detrimental in the long-term because it disengages people. Employees who feel involved in their work are less likely to consider leaving their current position for a raise.

When offered a 20% raise elsewhere, only 37% of engaged employees would consider leaving, whereas 54% or unengaged employees would leave. So, it’s vital you know what makes your people tick.

Efficient environments

Businesses need to design better working environments, to help employees become engaged and effective.

During the last decade many organizations began transiting toward the open office working environment to increase employee engagement. New research shows that the open office concept is actually reducing productivity and eliminating creative thinking.

In an IPSOS survey, 84% of workers reported their work environment did not allow them to concentrate easily, express ideas freely, work in teams without interruption, or choose where to work based on the task at hand.

Many top workplaces now include everything from go-karts and climbing walls to volleyball courts. These may seem like novelty ideas, but they can stir creative juices and attract top talent.

Coupling a positive environment with the right training and motivation programs can reduce staff turnover costs too.

“People care if you take a genuine interest in their future. Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate,” says Forbes contributor Victor Lipman.

Building for the future

Understanding your workforce will help you to plan more effectively for the future. It will help you to understand who the next rising star is and identify the natural leaders with the ambition to get to the top.

It will also help you to think more clearly about your business strategy and the direction your business is heading in.

Don’t just think about the skills you need now, think about what your business will need in five or ten years’ time. Then, start training your star performers to fill these roles.

This way you can support the aspirations of top talent, place the most important people in your business at the heart of its future and reduce the cost of recruiting.

People are your core asset. With the right technology solutions, organizations can gain greater visibility into people strategies across their operations. It’s about HR having the necessary information to guide workforce planning, ensuring the right resources are in place, and delivering a great employee experience that retains and engages your best talent.