Determining the human resources required by an organization involves identifying the jobs, skills and knowledge required by those jobs and the performance level of the current workforce. Using this data, you can forecast hiring or reorganizing needs for both the short and long term.
Human resource forecasting techniques typically include using past data to predict future staffing needs. Additionally, organizations can use survey, benchmarking and modeling techniques to estimate workforce staffing numbers. Use several HR forecasting process methods and cross-check your findings to obtain the most accurate results.
Analyzing Work Operations
The foundation for any HR forecasting process is to conduct a detailed job analysis for each function in the company and list the policies and procedures required to complete each task. From there, you can document the standard output per hour per person. The purpose here is to figure out the desired level of output in order to calculate the number of people you need to produce that volume of operations.
The Delphi Technique
The Delphi technique is a method for conducting surveys. It involves asking several experts in your organization their opinions on forecasting needs based on their experience of managing the employees in your organization who directly contribute to the creation of products or services. Experts typically do not share their opinions with each other – hence the need for centralized surveys.
It’s easy enough to create and distribute a survey using a tool such as SurveyMonkey to gather your data. Examine the input and prepare a forecast. Send the forecast to the original participants to get their new input, and repeat the survey process until all participants reach consensus that the forecast appears accurate.
Run HR Forecasting Process Calculations
Use calculators available from the Society of Human Resource Management website to calculate metrics such as the “average length of service” and “90-day turnover” rates based on your current human resources data. Use this information to help predict future staffing needs. A few specific calculations you can run include:
- Turnover rate
- Retention rate
- Overall cost of your workforce
Calculating these figures can help you budget and plan for future staffing needs. They can also help you find ways to lower your turnover rate and increase your retention rate, which can save your company money.
Using Industry Benchmarks
Organizations and trade bodies such as the Department of Commerce often publish data that can support your workforce planning needs. Use these to learn about trends in your sector and forecast your budget for hiring, training and paying staff required to compete in a global marketplace. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) pays eligible DOD civilian employees up to $500 per pay period when they’re engaged in intelligence-related duties, and up to five percent of their salaries when performing non-intelligence related duties., according to Ask Fedweek.
The DOD pays their multilingual employees this bonus because these employees bring much greater value to the agency through their fluency. Knowing two or more languages enables them to complete tasks monolingual employees cannot. Keep this in mind when you’re recruiting and training staff – an employee who speaks more than one language could make her a far more valuable asset to the team than a monolingual employee.
Get Organizational Buy In
Document your forecasting process and follow it consistently throughout your company so that all managers align their forecast to your strategic direction, identify skill gaps, create action plans to address shortages, implement plans to hire and retain skilled personnel and evaluate forecasts on an ongoing basis. Using this model, you can more accurately guide workforce planning efforts for all skill areas such as information technology and knowledge management.