Human Capital Trends 2020: How Strategic Thinking Will Drive Future Business Success

As we enter a new decade, businesses are looking inwards to ensure that they are ready for the future of work. But what is the key trend that will change the workforce this decade? And how can businesses adapt to ride the waves of change?

The past decade saw some fundamental shifts in human capital. The interminable growth of new technologies — from artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics, virtual reality (VR) to automation — brought into question whether people would be doing any work at all at the turn of the decade. Of course, the techno-futurists’ hopes and predictions were some way off the mark, but the world of work in 2020 is undoubtedly different from its 2010 incarnation. The most significant human capital trend remains talent shortages. In the 2020s, the global trend that will continue to drive the greatest uncertainty is undoubtedly talent and skills shortages, particularly in technical sectors. In the latest Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 61% of survey respondents found “finding qualified experienced hires” to be their biggest challenge. Meanwhile, 34% found “finding qualified entry-level hires” as their most significant challenge. What does this tell us? Accessing talent has never been more difficult. Hiring managers who previously went through the process of advertising roles on an ad-hoc basis have started to notice that it’s taking longer and costing more to find the talent they need to encourage business growth. To solve the problem of dwindling productivity and rising costs, businesses need to engage with strategic workforce planning. It’s no silver bullet, but it’s as close as we’ll come to solving today’s talent challenges. It’s no silver bullet, but it’s as close as we’ll come to solving today’s talent challenges. To consistently access talent, HR departments need to strategically leverage worker data and analytics to preemptively predict when and where they require new people. Instead of focusing primarily on permanent hires, they need to look at alternative sources of talent — mobilising existing talent within their business, engaging with untapped talent pools, and engaging with contingent workers. What is strategic workforce planning? Strategic workforce planning is a process within a business or organisation that anticipates human capital needs. By implementing a strategic workforce plan, a business can ensure that it has the resources in place to achieve its long-term goals. Though strategic workforce planning is essential, it is far from a simple process. It is primarily built on advanced data analytics from both HR and procurement, which can then be interpreted by data analysts to obtain a full grasp of current talent gaps and overstaffing in certain departments, as well as anticipate the need for new staff as a business develops. Doing so enables a business to build a robust, productive workforce that works at optimum efficiency. This is achieved without investing money in unnecessary talent; thereby fully optimising return on investment (ROI). Given that the digital economy is rapidly changing the way teams work and how they are structured within a business, HR leaders with a finger on the pulse realise that taking a strategic approach is the only sensible option. In the US, two-thirds of hiring managers believe that implementing strategic workforce planning will help soften the impact of rapid technological change on the way we work. This number will no doubt increase as businesses better understand the benefits of strategic workforce planning. It’s time to adopt strategic workforce planning in the 2020s. For many businesses, strategic workforce planning will be a new undertaking. Some leaders may even be wary of the approach. But with the war for talent continuing to gather pace, adopting strategic workforce planning will be imperative to business success in the 2020s. Skills gaps are widening. Talent is becoming scarcer. People have more choices than ever when choosing where and when they work. These trends are unlikely to change as more highly-skilled people retire. As such, businesses need to think strategically if they are to find the talent necessary for growth — whether strengthening a market-leading position, gaining ground on established competitors or deflecting disruptive startups. Strategic workforce planning requires high-level data analysis skills and is an inherently complex undertaking. Faced with a raft of potential hurdles, how, then, should HR leaders go about incorporating the process? The knowledge and expertise of workforce solutions providers may provide the answer. Forward-thinking businesses in the workforce solutions industry are fully embracing the strategic workforce planning approach — implementing the latest AI-powered technology within client programs and hiring highly-skilled data analysts to interpret data and offer actionable insights. At Guidant Global, we have taken this approach to help our clients unlock and analyse complex workforce management data, uncovering solutions to their biggest human capital management challenges. As a result of our detailed analytics, our clients are able to move forward with purpose, supporting responsive action, improving talent pipelines, and assigning the right resource for future growth. Whether a business chooses to invest internally or call on their workforce solution partner, one thing is certain: in the talent-led age, strategic workforce planning will be the key differentiator for businesses this decade. Not sure where to start? Download Guidant Global’s Guide to Workforce Planning to ensure your business has the talent to succeed as we enter the new decade. Looking for more? Join Guidant Global on January 30 to learn how to Evolve Your 2020 People Strategy with Strategic Workforce Planning. Beeline welcomes this guest post from our partner, Guidant Global. The post represents Guidant Global’s opinions and not necessarily those of Beeline.  

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