Effective workforce planning in a disrupted world

03 July 2019

In an environment of constant change and disruption, many organisations are struggling to manage their workforce needs. Growing customer expectations along with increased digitisation are presenting challenges for organisational leaders and HR professionals. The most pressing of these challenges being how to deal with a potentially displaced workforce. 

A rise in contingent labour

Whilst arguably the way of the future, digitisation and automation can raise organisational red flags from a workforce management perspective. From our experience, many organisations that have undergone automation changes have struggled to effectively manage the need to retrain, redeploy and/or appropriately let go personnel.

To handle this uncertainty, many organisations are increasing their use of contingent labour, hiring staff on an on-demand basis.

One such organisation that the BDO Human Capital team recently assisted had an IT function where nearly 40% of their workforce was contracted labour. The reasoning behind this included:  

  • Not having internal capability
  • Not being able to match market remuneration
  • An inability to effectively manage performance of the permanent workforce.
  • This increase in contracted labour resulted in a defaulting position whereby the organisation had to reach out to the market regularly, increasing annual costs into the tens of millions of dollars, and reducing the ability to develop and build internal capability. 

Balance for success

Although we acknowledge that the use of contingent labour can be an appropriate response, a balance is required which aligns future service delivery models, strategic goals of the organisation and growing customer expectations.

In the above example, our team worked with senior executives and line managers to better understand their workforce. This was carried out through workforce segmentation and by providing a clearer understanding of current emerging capabilities. 

This work has resulted in a more sustainable and aligned workforce, assisting the organisation on their change journey moving forward. The risk of core capability being lost has also been mitigated through a better and more appropriate use of contingent labour.

Keep your organisation ahead of the curve

BDO’s Human Capital team can work with you to improve alignment and drive organisational value, contact us today.