Stepping Up Workforce Planning Strategy by Closing the HR-Finance Gap
Coordination is everything. In an uncertain and rapidly changing business environment with an increasingly fluid labor market, organizations need tight alignment across all departments and functions to respond quickly to these conditions now and in the future.
With close collaboration between finance and human resources (HR) functions, organizations can access the shared real-time insights they need to simplify complex challenges, respond to change in the moment, make the best strategic moves for the workforce, and share a mission that supports strategic growth.
But many organizations today still lack planning processes that include and align the entire enterprise. When each function keeps its planning siloed and disconnected from the others, any data that could support meaningful analytics may be incomplete, leading to inconsistent planning assumptions and conflicting analysis.
An inability to connect operational, people, and financial data to business outcomes impairs agility, according to 49% of leaders responding to a 2022 global survey by Workday. And only 12% of those leaders say their organization’s data is fully accessible to those who need it.
Connecting Functions to a Single Strategy
The key to success is the ability of the finance and HR practices to lead effective, integrated workforce planning across the organization.
Workforce planning is more than budgeting for, attracting, and hiring talent. It’s about supporting your entire workforce—building an intelligent feedback mechanism between your current and future business interests and the acquisition, retention, and development of the employees who will drive those interests. When you build sophisticated connections between your shifting talent requirements and your available resources, you’re giving your organization the freedom to solve ambitious strategic challenges.
While it’s still essential that each function or business unit can operate its own planning environment, it’s also critical to bring all the pieces together into a unified plan for clear accountability, enhanced strategic planning, and better business performance.
Strategy Beyond Spreadsheets
When finance and HR leaders can collaborate on building powerful, complex workforce planning models, they can accommodate internal and external changes, link operational workforce plans to strategy, and meet demand and strategic objectives for restructures, mergers and acquisitions, and ongoing talent needs.
Until recently, Philips, a global health technology leader that operates in 77 countries, managed its global workforce planning primarily with disparate, legacy spreadsheet-based systems. The organization needed greater insights based on consistent, accurate data that standardized local variations so it could make more informed decisions and more effective workforce plans across the business.
By transitioning from manual spreadsheets to a unified workforce planning platform, Philips created a single source of truth, aligned processes, and gained a new understanding and precision for its headcount costs. Its corporate and local management teams can now plan ahead with much greater confidence and with the agility to make adjustments in real time and on short notice to address evolving conditions and update the company’s priorities.
Hundreds of Hours
At one commercial financial institution, newly unified and collaborative workforce planning has yielded unprecedented efficiencies. Adopting a robust workforce planning platform has helped the bank’s 133 department leads update their workforce planning to align with its strategy and management processes.
The bank’s HR technology team, budget-managing department leads, corporate finance heads, and compensation managers all have secure access to the data they need to forecast workforce needs within each cost center, and they can now communicate on corporate budgeting and workflows to align on planning.
Whereas finance managers once ran reports on each department one by one, they can now provide this intelligence for all 133 departments collectively—saving company leaders hundreds of hours on creating budgets and freeing business leaders to think about strategy instead of numbers.
Workforce planning is essential to keeping organizations adaptable. Having the right platform empowers HR leaders to see and plan for workforce performance in collaboration with finance and the rest of the business. To achieve this integrated planning, organizations need a platform that can help unlock HR teams’ insights from silos and connect them to finance teams and other business partners so the entire workforce shares a core mission—and a vision for today that’s ready for the future.
To learn more, read KPMG and Workday’s white paper Strategic Workforce Planning: Closing the Gap Between Finance and HR.