What challenge(s) do our clients face?
A business strategy alone, no matter how strong or clearly articulated, cannot become a reality without the right people, in the right positions, with the right abilities at the right moment to implement it.
Yet, having the workforce in place to achieve the strategy, in terms number of people as well as technical and behavioral profile, is no easy feat.
Companies face numerous challenges when it comes to the planning and development of the workforce. Many of these, such as people attraction/retention or culture entropy, have remained a persistent challenge for all employers over the decades. However, others are new or have become exacerbated by an increasingly volatile market:
- Digital disruption: Rapid technological changes require new skills of the workforce which are increasingly in demand
- The need for agility: The increasingly dynamic environment requires companies and their workforce to be flexible and to be agile to change to respond market needs
- Tight cost control: High competitiveness reinforces the need to be streamlined and control workforce costs – there is no room for over or understaffing
- Diversity and different generations working together: Unique individuals, with different profiles, habits, and expectations must work alongside each other in a constructive and collaborative way despite more pronounced generational differences (GenZ vs Millennials vs Baby Boomers).
How do we help?
We help our clients understand the external and internal variables that affect their operations and think strategically to predict the workforce evolution and guarantee actions which safeguard their future.
We help our client to understand the gaps in their workforce today and typically across a horizon of 3 to 5 years and identify/prioritize actions to address them. This ensures the right quantity of people with the right skills is available for the right job at the right time.
We support our clients across a simple journey:
- To understand the company’s current reality in terms of business objectives, human capital and Human Resources processes, as they relate to employee recruitment, development and retention.
- To identify current and future gaps in competencies and the number of professionals needed, as well as current and future risks to the company achieving its strategic objectives considering internal and external factors.
- To create strategies and action plans that address the identified gaps. These may include recruitment or knowledge development plans.
What are the benefits?
- Increased likelihood that strategic objectives are achieved through mitigating risks in human capital
- Higher success rate in talent attraction and retention
- Improved effectiveness of the Human Resources area, driven by better visibility/understanding of current and future workforce gaps and demand-supply dynamics in the market.
- Increased efficiency in the company’s actions to develop its professionals and workforce
- Improved company readiness to face future challenges and unpredictability
How does it work?
Integration´s approach aims to ensure two key objectives (i) the connection and coherence between workforce planning and strategy, culture and people and (ii) a successful implementation.
As a human-centric practice inside of a strategy consulting firm, we ensure this challenge is addressed with an eye on both people and business. Often working side-by-side with our other practices, we build a deep understanding of the company strategy to understand its impact on workforce demand and technical skills. We couple this with a deep dive into the necessary culture to sustain the strategy, which identifies the necessary behaviors and competencies of the professionals within the organization.
As we believe that the success of a project depends on the success of its implementation, we work with our implementation professionals to guarantee a pragmatic action plan that is adherent to the client’s reality, with the involvement and participation of the client’s team from day one. This ensures not only ownership, but also that the client team can update the Workforce Planning when necessary, allowing it to become a continuous living process within the company.
One of the largest manufacturers of glass bottles in the world, was struggling to match the variable demand in its factories with its workforce planning.
With a very high demand variation and low predictability, and a blast furnace production line which could not be turned off, the challenge of the client was to be able to predict on a weekly basis how many workers they needed. The current process lacked flexibility and the workforce costs were difficult to control.
To address this challenge, together with senior professionals in the client we created a dynamic workforce planning process, acting across 3 work-fronts:
1) We developed a workforce simulator and a process flow that linked the factories and S&OP process with the HR area, making an annual budget for the workforce, monthly forecast, and weekly readjustment in line with S&OP revision.
2) We defined various strategies to increase workforce flexibility – training employees to be able to assume multiple roles, using temporary workers in high demand seasons and third parties when the actual vs predicted demand varied greatly.
3) We designed HR strategies which would support this dynamic – creating a ‘temporary works curriculum bank’ and conducting negotiations with 3rd parties to achieve favorable prices.
The governance process and simulator were fully implemented, delivering the key objectives for the company: visibility and control. It also led to a better mood within the factory staff due to increased certainty of working hours, better organization and communication.
It also delivered an overall reduction in total workforce cost through optimized allocations and improved contracts with 3rd parties.
A leading company in the private education sector was going through a digital transformation, seeking to modernize the student service model, increase its net promoter score (NPS – that was low compared to benchmarks), and be more efficient.
While reviewing its whole student service model and planning various technologies implementation, the organization needed to predict its workforce demand over time. They asked for our support in determining the required quantity, location (in more than 200 units), competences and plan for transition, focusing on cost minimization.
After designing the new student service model and defining the processes that would be automated and be centralized, we supported the client with the workforce planning in the student service area.
To accurately reflect the clients operations and best plan for it, we considered numerous variables in our financial simulations including: the variation in demand over the year, use of third-parties for specific periods of very high demand, flexibility in the employees’ working hours, and the 3 waves of technology implementation and model transition.
To guarantee the highest efficiency, we also considered the relocation of existing professionals around the business to support the development of the necessary skills for the new model.
We delivered successfully the new digital delivery model, achieving a 50% reduction in operating costs, with the number of FTEs required dropping from 1500 to 600. The planned transition guaranteed the increase of NPS as desired and the relocation of as many professionals as possible to other parts of the business.
A company in the rental car segment with double digit growth over the last 5 years and a vision for expansion to new countries and segments, was facing challenges in its speed of recruitment and professional development to sustain growth.
They asked for Integration’s recommendation to overcome this challenge as part of a wider programme, that sought to strengthen its HR area, tools and processes, and update outdated systems with new technology.
Integration supported the design and implementation of the workforce planning process, quantifying the workforce size for the next 5 years and also the competencies that needed to be developed.
Working alongside the client, we built a simulator based on the company’s history and growth projection assumptions, identifying gaps and specific needs for defined categories of employees. This informed the definition of 9 programs to meet the demands of the Workforce Plan, addressing current bottlenecks, and securing a leadership pipeline.
To address their major skills gaps, we supported the launch of a new trainee and internship program and a specific digital talent recruiting process. This was coupled with implementation of a much more digital and automated process to improve internal recruitment efficiencies, using innovative systems and platforms available on the market.
Based on this work the entire recruiting program was redesigned, strengthening the employer brand and improving the employee experience from first contact with the company.