Since the Carnival of HR will be all about productivity this time, I wanted to share one of workforce planning’s little mysteries….

Why, oh, why do most organizations do their workforce plans based on headcount calculations? 

When we do planning based on headcount, we are assuming that productivity and capability will remain the same in the future as it is today…an assumption which is fundamentally flawed.  So even though workforce planning is not just about math…the math that it DOES need requires an underlying unit of measure that’s not headcount.  Use output instead – that way you can incorporate the impact of your productivity improving programs and really be able to plan for the benefits.

If you are planning using headcount, you are ignoring productivity.  Have a look at Eric’s blog and overall at the Institute for Corporate Productivity’s site to understand just some of the reasons why that’s a really bad idea!