While giving a webinar on "Becoming a Great Workforce Planner" yesterday, one of the questions which came up was whether it was a good idea to have strategic workforce planning in the staffing team:

Does it make sense for workforce planning responsibilities to be embedded in a strategic sourcing function in staffing? Or does this dilute the focus needed to realize success in workforce planning?

imageGreat question, and it reminded me immediately of an expression Mary Young (of the Conference Board) used recently when we were discussing where the "right" place for strategic workforce planning in the organization. Mary said "if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" - an expression you may have heard, but one that applies really well in this case (Mary's leading edge work in strategic workforce planning usually does!).  When you put workforce planning in staffing, as the question suggests, there is a danger that the "answer" to all of the issues is a staffing answer, and the same is true for any niche areas of HR.  Of course the right individual can overcome this as they can overcome most obstacles and challenges, but it does add an extra layer of challenge.

Think of Mary when you ask yourself - does my strategic workforce planning project have a full toolbox, or only a hammer?