With many organisations still forecasting their headcount in line with their annual budgeting process, crucial and costly decisions are often not made in a timely manner. Adjustments to the forecast are at best being made on a quarterly basis and this disconnect with the day-to-day operational needs of the business incurs unnecessary costs and these costs can quickly run into the tens of millions in larger organisations of over 10,000 employees.
If this sounds familiar, it is worth asking yourself; how frequently are you currently able to adjust your plans to reflect the changing needs of the business? And, are these plans meeting the operational needs of the resource managers on-the-ground?
The four main reasons that we see budget being unnecessarily wasted are:
1. An imbalance in the number of contractors to employees
2. Delayed implementation of growth or reduction objectives
3. Failure to manage proper ratios of job grades across business units
4. Missing opportunities to capitalise on relocation of certain functions
Of course, all of these can be avoided with more accurate and timely data but this can feel like a big undertaking if your current systems and processes don’t naturally support this.
The impact of transparency and currency in your workforce planning?
The ability to make timely decisions based on the most up-to-date data from across your business requires data from multiple systems (HR, Project/Programme Management and Finance at the very least) but more importantly, it requires the active engagement of your managers on the ground, those that are responsible for delivering the company’s strategy.
While integrating or consolidating the system data can take a lot of time, effort and cost, engaging a large, distributed workforce in the process in a transparent and coordinated way is often the far bigger organisational hurdle to overcome; especially if the contributors are expected to learn new systems and processes to deliver the information the business needs.
When undergoing any organisational change, the most significant costs are typically related to the workforce. People coming into and out of the business, being transferred and relocated or simply being promoted in their current business area will all have an impact on the budget that won’t necessarily be in line with what was planned. You’ll see the impact the next time you run-the-numbers sure, but by then you could already have been wasting significant funds and the process of gathering those numbers is still a time consuming and labour intensive process.
Delegation + Transparency = better decisions, today
Better transparency comes from a more up-to-date view on the progress of your plans. Decision-makers need to be able to deep-dive into constantly updated workforce data that surfaces any cost inefficiencies as they occur. With the right technology it is possible to delegate the data gathering directly to the managers closest to the ground, set relevant permissions and control the approval of changes they make to guarantee the integrity of the data from the source.
From a decision-maker perspective, this allows the financial brains of the business to focus their attention on the higher value activities of planning and providing strategic insights rather that spending the majority of their time collecting, consolidating and validating the data.
Once you have calculated the cost of not making changes to your planning process, and with the business on-board with the need to improve, getting there might not be as gruelling a journey as you might think. Surfacing the existing data that is needed to baseline your plans (the ‘past’), and understanding the state of your business today (the current ‘actuals’) can be achieved with little to no integration using a tool like LiveDataset. That allows you to focus on the roll-out of delegated planning across the workforce, engaging the wider business and sharing the effort (and knowledge) required to deliver real-time forecasting.
LiveDataset: a Strategic Resource Planning tool to complement your HR and Finance Tech
Our team have developed a solution that joins the dots, enabling transparency and accountability, integrating with the HR & finance tech that already works for you and replacing the tools that don’t (typically a plethora of forecasting spreadsheets).
With LiveDataset, everyone gets access to a consolidated, real-time picture of past, present and future movements in terms of both people and $ – all in one place where forecasting is delegated to those closest to the action.