Uniting Finance and Human Resources for Better Planning

Organizations that connect their workforce planning with their finance planning are better able to chart their futures in an ever-changing digital world.

The past two years have been a wild ride for forecasting and planning talent requirements, and the future looks equally bumpy. That’s especially true for organizations whose future view is clouded by disparate systems. Combining finance and human capital management (HCM) into a single, cloud-based system allows companies to see the whole picture, a must for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams who need to forecast and plan for the necessary talent to grow the business.  

According to a recent Workday-sponsored episode of the Financial Executive Podcast, an audio digest focusing on the ideas and strategies of senior-level financial leaders, the potential payoffs for finance to get into the workforce planning game are clear.

Developing quality workforce planning models that help forecast future needs can deliver huge benefits to corporate planning while mitigating staffing disruptions. Accurate data allows managers to stop playing an annual guessing game to decide how many people they’ll need to get the job done in the months or years ahead. Instead, they can determine staffing based on analyzing the anticipated growth or slowdown of the business and the cost of new employees.

To make these insights possible, companies must break down the silos between finance and human resources (HR) functions. Finance needs to view headcount not merely as a cost center but explore ways in which salary, benefits, and other motivational HR levers can be pulled to meet operational goals and boost profitability. HR, meanwhile, must take a disciplined look at the cost and benefits of hiring new workers weighed against workforce gaps that threaten to limit a company’s success.

By joining as allies to plan, measure, and optimize talent, finance and HR can elevate workforce planning from a static exercise that attempts to guess future needs to an active process that can rapidly adjust to operational realities.

Organizations that don’t operate with agility are failing the business. Understandably, that’s why a growing number of finance and HR leaders are adopting an integrated workforce planning approach.

HR’s Great Potential

Siloed and misaligned workplaces hamper HR leaders in meeting their goals. Providing them with integrated workforce planning, meanwhile, allows them to plan their workforce in sync with all other business plans—corporate strategy, financials, operations, departmental budgets, and forecasts. Ultimately, that helps HR teams transition from tactical headcount planning to more strategic workforce planning where they can put the right people in the right place at the right time.

“It’s important to get your headcount forecasting accuracy right,” explained Workday’s Rehman Rashid, senior director, strategic planning finance, during the discussion. “Getting headcount wrong can take away from investment opportunities in initiatives that drive top-line growth. This is a measurable negative impact for the company.”

To learn how your finance and HR teams can work more closely to ensure your company delivers better performance and profitability, listen to the podcast.

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