With the surge of interest in Strategic Workforce Planning we are seeing, it’s not a surprise that so many models and approaches are being brought into the workforce planning sphere. So I thought it was a good time to do a few notes on how these models are being used…and what the strengths and pitfalls of using each in WFP is.

  • Supply Chain. A perennial…slightly bad penny. Yes, I know it’s very trendy in workforce planning to say that optimization and supply chain approaches will provide the most efficient approach to the workforce, but let’s be honest…humans aren’t quite the same as the planning units used in supply chain. David Learmond at The Conference Board said it best, some years ago: “a tonne of pig iron doesn’t tend to have a spouse and children”. Look, there are definitely aspects of supply chain planning which are relevant to workforce planning, but never EVER lose sight of the human aspects…or you will lose relevance and effectiveness. We are not machines, and we should not plan as thought we or the workforce are machines!!! Hmmm, maybe one day I should write an article on this…with David Learmond!
  • Prediction Algorithms. OK, I confess, this one moves me a bit (I am a serious nerd deep down), and Aruspex does do quite a lot of stochastic and other predictive modeling. BUT, there’s a limit! Maybe the key here is not to believe that the outcomes of the predictive models are the answer to your problems…rather that they can help lead you to the real question?
  • Kano Models. This one was mentioned at the Human Capital Institute Event, and is based on an 80’s customer satisfaction model – essentially the practitioner was using it to determine if the services (which were metrics and reporting services, not really SWP services) were valuable to the business. This model is usually used in product management, and as SWP should be thought of as an internal product (as should all change initiatives), there is some value…but don’t get lost in this model – the other models described on the wikipedia page probably provide as much value, if rather less potential to confuse! Choose the one that resonates with you.

These are just a selection – what “non traditional” approaches are you seeing in use?