The final part of my thoughts on McKinsey’s recent “flaws in strategic decision making”, which reports some findings that those guiding strategic workforce decisions should be thinking about.
Reaching good outcomes had three themes – assessment, process and targets.  I already posted on assessment and process, this one is on decision making TARGETS.  McKinsey described this theme as “aligning incentives and basing the decision on a mix of financial and strategic targets as well as on a mix of short- and long-term targets.”
  1. Individuals’ incentives were aligned with strategic objectives defined by this decision.  Here’s one that’s a big deal for management – aligning goals.  What’s critical in the workforce planning process, though, is ensuring that you are clear about what your strategic objectives are.  These objectives are not “hire X headcount”, they are a rich picture that define how you will achieve the right workforce for future success.
  2. Based on balanced mix of financial, strategic targets.  Wow, that’s one we are seeing more and more – making sure that your decisions AREN’T just based on your workforce budget for the next year, or on short term pressures to save money.  Rather, mix these financial targets with analysis and discussion on how those decisions will impact the overall ability to deliver on your strategy
  3. Based on long- and short-term considerations.  As with point 2, considering both is vital.  We often hear people saying, “Oh, three years is too long, we can’t look that far into the future”, or “there’s too much change happening now”, but the reality is by making the decisions that you are making about what you’re doing today in the context of how you need to be successful in the long term, you simply make better decisions today – the two should not be separated, and planning for the future is vital…even if those plans change
it’s a great paper that can give you some really good insights into what qualities will mean you are helping your organization make better workforce planning decisions.  As with all opportunities to be better at workforce planning, the idea with these is to think about which are the most important for improving your process, and tackle improving in one or more of them…taking steps in the journey!  Which steps are most important to you?