Engage managers in workforce planning

Collecting meaningless data is no way to get buy-in
By Thomas Bechet
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/09/2006

For workforce planning efforts to be successful, line managers must fully embrace, support and participate willingly in the process. Yet many organizations try to implement workforce planning processes in which managers participate reluctantly or perhaps not at all. What can an organization do to ensure managers are active players in workforce planning? How can it get managers to value the process and enthusiastically implement the staffing strategies and resulting plans?

Understanding the problem

Managers will always support processes they find valuable — those processes where results outweigh the time and effort required. Usually, managers who are not engaged in the workforce planning process don’t feel it helps them to manage and meet their day-to-day objectives. They probably recognize that workforce planning yields some greater good or macro-level benefit to the organization as a whole, but they often feel there is nothing in it for them as individual managers. If it really did help these people to manage better, they would participate in the process willingly. Instead, workforce planning processes often waste managers’ time by asking them to do things and provide data that are not valuable or required. Here are a few examples: