5 HR Tech Tools to Support Labor and Demand Forecasting

Labor and Demand ForecastingTalent is in high demand these days. It’s also scarce. That’s a simple recipe for talent shortages in any labor climate, but it’s an even bigger problem in the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation.

According to SHRM, companies across the spectrum are investing more in hiring and recruiting this year as they aim to develop a reliable pipeline of candidates to fill open roles. At the same time, workers want jobs that offer more flexibility, competitive pay, and professional development. Employees are also increasingly looking for jobs outside their immediate geographic area as more companies fill roles with remote workers.

All of this means that the talent landscape is undergoing a massive shift. To keep pace, companies will need more sophisticated recruiting methodologies and tools to support labor and demand forecasting, succession planning, and talent management.

That starts with an effective HR planning process that helps you identify gaps and project future needs. If you need help with this, the folks over at Creately have put together a useful HR planning guide that walks you step-by-step through the process.

To implement your process, however, you’ll need a well-structured HR technology platform and accompanying tools that will give you the most bang for your talent buck.

HR Tech Tools to Tip the Scales in Your Favor

The time needed for recruiting, evaluating, and training employees can be lengthy, particularly for highly skilled or managerial positions. Timing these factors to align well with planned and unplanned changes within the company can be one of the most difficult aspects of labor forecasting. That’s why it’s essential to have the right tools to help you stay on top of demand.

Here are 5 ways your HRIS can help.

Succession Planning

Succession planning isn’t just for the executive suite. A well-developed succession plan can strengthen your organization at all levels, enabling you to identify critical positions that impact productivity and profitability. Predictive analytics based on your people data will give you a good basis for skills and competencies that will be needed to fill particular roles.

Once you have those guidelines in place, you can use a tool like PDS Vista‘s succession planning dashboard to identify candidates based on job qualifications and skills. You can also manage succession planning on an individual level with qualifications, rankings, skills, manager notes, and action items. 

Candidate Pipelines

Labor forecasting is often broken up into short, intermediate, and long-term needs. Still, making sure that qualified employees are available at the right time can be easier said than done. You’ll need time to recruit, evaluate, train, and onboard employees, and you’ll need to align the timing of these steps with planned and unplanned talent changes. 

Creating a reliable candidate pipeline to fill positions that typically have faster turnover can be a good solution to maintain productivity. Your HCMS may have recruitment tools built in to assist you with this. If it doesn’t, consider investing in an ATS or working with an outsourced recruitment firm that will manage this aspect for you. 

Here’s an example from Ceridian that includes candidate skills, job descriptions, application status, candidate scoring, and other options for ranking and filtering candidates:

Ceridian Talent Management module

As you determine your labor needs, consider any upcoming changes to company structure, release of new products or services, elimination of products and services, and price increases or decreases. 

People Analytics

People analytics includes all of the HR metrics associated with your workforce. Tracking these metrics can help you manage talent more effectively and create better outcomes such as:

  • Recruitment cost savings
  • Lower turnover
  • Better retention
  • Improved diversity, equality, and inclusion
  • Hiring for cultural fit
  • Improved efficiency
  • Skills gap identification

Most HRIS platforms have data tracking and analysis capabilities, although they will differ in complexity and depth. If your current software doesn’t have the depth of capabilities you’re looking for, it may be time to invest in a platform with more sophisticated functionality. 

UKG‘s People Analytics module, for example, makes tracking the right metrics easy with built-in and custom reports, real-time dashboards, integration with external data sources, and email alerts for key business intelligence data.

UKG People Analytics

Position Budgeting

Position budgeting enables you to to efficiently plan your workforce for the next fiscal year by budgeting for new and existing positions throughout the organization. This gives you a clear financial picture of the organization from a hierarchical perspective, and makes it easier to keep tabs on budgeted vs actual statistics. With the right tech tools, you can streamline and automate this process so you have all the necessary information at your fingertips

PDS Vista’s position budgeting tools, for example, allow you to track job and position data such as qualifications, applicants, position history, salaries, and more. You can also define number of positions and full-time equivalents for each role, as well as associated salary amounts.

PDS Vista position budgeting tool

Machine Learning

Machine learning combines the power of data with predictive analysis to identify trends and forecast future labor needs. It’s still an evolving area of technology, and there are a wide range of tools on the market to help you automate and streamline labor forecasting processes.

One of these is WorkForce Software, which combines multiple data input streams to deliver more accurate analyses. The goal is to get more mileage out of your data with deeper insights that help you control costs and optimize both labor allocation and productivity.

Plan for Success

An effective labor forecast will use current information, past experience, and future possibilities to form an intelligent and flexible plan that grows with the company. It’s a complex process that requires good data, well-structured technology, and precise analysis. 

If your HRIS doesn’t have the tools you need to get the job done, consider investing in a software upgrade. You can find a full list of software requirements and modules in our comprehensive HRIS Comparison Tool. It’s a great first step for determining what you need and narrowing down the vendors who will be a good match. 

HRIS Comparison Tool

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