How Stale Data Can Impact Strategic Workforce Planning 



Today’s workforce presents more obstacles and greater challenges to organizations than ever before. Amid a global pandemic, unprecedented turnover in “The Great Resignation,” and the general difficulties of remaining competitive on a daily basis, business leaders are recognizing that it’s more important than ever to take a smarter, more strategic, and data-informed approach to workforce planning.


Whether you’re trying to backfill vacated positions or wondering about whether to add headcount in support of new business objectives, smartly allocating and deploying your resources is imperative for achieving your business goals. 


However, strategic workforce planning is often only as good as the data it’s based on. And for many organizations, simply managing their workforce data for accuracy, currency, and completeness is a monumental task that can lead to costly mistakes like bad hires or moving too slowly and missing out on top talent that can significantly impede business success. 


Stale or “dirty” data — incorrect, outdated, or incomplete — is often the result of trying to aggregate information from multiple disparate systems and applications that inevitably leaves huge visibility gaps in the operation that can make accurate planning virtually impossible. Here’s a look at the adverse business impacts of stale data and some actionable insights on how to dramatically improve your workforce planning strategies. 


Bad data creates a host of problems

Like most business functions, effective workforce planning is completely dependent on having correct and complete data available to decision-makers to help ensure they have all the information they need to adequately address gaps and future needs. 


But what happens when that’s not the case? What happens when data is outdated, inaccurate, or simply not available? 


Here’s a look:


Mismanaging and missing out on talent

Having real-time data on your existing staff, their roles, skills, and credentials, and how they are being utilized are paramount to effective workforce planning. It gives you a crystal clear picture of whether you already have the right people and skills in place to accomplish specific planned objectives by simply moving them around or if you need to ramp up your recruiting efforts to get the talent you want and need. 

Yet stale underlying data is a recipe for disaster. Basing recruiting, hiring, or transfer decisions on fundamentally incomplete or inaccurate data significantly increases the likelihood of making a costly bad hire or taking too long to reach out to top talent and losing them to competitors.


For example, let’s say you run a business that employs 100 full-time software engineers but you aren’t sure how many — if any — would be interested and qualified to work on a new product you’re planning to launch at the end of the year. Overlooking qualified and interested employees because you don’t have enough information to know who they are, and what their interests are, increases the chances they’ll leave for another company they feel values them more. 


On the other hand, poor workforce data can also significantly delay your ability to recognize that you need to bring in some outside talent and that by the time you do, you’ll have missed out on the top talent available. Instead, you may end up rushing to fill new positions with sub-par talent that could cost you up to 30% of that position’s annual salary in recruiting and training costs, plus the indirect costs from lost productivity and delays. 


The painful realization for many organizations is that workforce planning requires existing institutional data to align with market insights and trends. Understanding where your market is heading and having a complete set of accurate, rich data available to determine the types of roles and specific skills you’ll need, as well as the compensation and benefits you’ll need to offer to attract that talent cannot be done effectively or efficiently when data is haphazardly cobbled together from disparate and asynchronous data systems. 


A recipe for workforce planning success

To succeed — to accurately, effectively, and efficiently plan your evolving workforce needs — in a data-driven world, organizations need to be able to align emerging market trends with their own internal information


Understanding what the market demands, what your organization can presently offer, and the type and amount of talent your company needs is vital to remain competitive, relevant, and profitable. Strategic workforce planning tools such as integrated, cloud-based HCM combine all the internal data executives and team leaders need — current headcount, projected and actual spend, organizational and reporting structures, and other information — into a single location, making it easy to compare the snapshot of the business with the demands of the market. 


Adopting purpose-built strategic workforce planning tools can help teams dramatically shorten hiring cycles for top talent, increase internal and upward mobility of current employees to improve retention and productivity, and eliminate costly hiring mistakes that set them back in both time and dollars. 


Why use an integrated, cloud-based strategic workforce planning solution? 

  • Consolidates organizational data into a single source of truth for more granular, real-time insights into the health and state of your business — including insights into individual teams and departments. 

  • Position-based architecture that keeps data linked to the position instead of the person occupying the role eliminates time-consuming and error-prone manual data aggregation and management.

  • Greater business agility and responsiveness to the market by knowing exactly when to staff up or reconfigure existing talent. Easily plan and staff ad hoc or short-term initiatives with existing resources rather than wasting time and money on unnecessary new hires.  

  • Identify historical trends to predict future needs and run what-if scenarios to see what the business could look like in the future — all without breaking the current org chart. 


By implementing a dynamic and continuous improvement software that aligns your people with your business goals you can better adapt to the foreseeable and unforeseeable business challenges. 


New business reality demands new planning models

Today’s businesses don’t have the luxury of time. Client expectations change rapidly, market demands evolve virtually overnight, and talent acquisition for introducing new products and services to the marketplace needs to be nearly instantaneous. 


Organizations that once relied on disparate systems and disjointed data streams to inform their workforce plans are quickly realizing that limited visibility into their workforce composition can slow time to hire, increase the likelihood of missing out on acquiring and retaining top talent, and significantly add to the risk of making poorly informed decisions that can cost millions in the long run. 


Strategic workforce planning solutions are specifically designed to improve visibility and transparency across the organization, arming business executives, line of business owners, and team managers with the real-time, granular data they need to properly plan for both near-term and long-term needs of the organization. 


Subscribe to our newsletter for more information on this topic throughout February or schedule a free consultation with one of our workforce planning experts today. 


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John Cuellar

John Cuellar

John is responsible for SyncHR’s product, engineering, and system operations teams. He is focused on streamlining the business processes related to HCM and finance by distributing SyncHR to all members of the workforce and by using patented security and workflow to control these developments. John is also responsible for delivering SyncHR as a cloud based application with “extreme ratio” financial metrics.

He has a background in engineering, workplace applications, and business administration, bringing over 25 years of experience deploying strategic HCM applications. Prior to co-founding SyncHR, John was the CEO of Harbor Technologies, since acquired by Mellon Financial Corporation. Previous to Harbor Technology Group, he spent an internship with the Swiss Bank Corporation in their derivatives pricing and trading group and also worked as a senior manager for the US Navy. John received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

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