How Technology Tools Help Produce Better Quantitative Insights for Workforce Planning

Workforce planning in federal agencies is limited in many ways by the current resources and technology in place. Agencies need to measure not only retirement and quit rates, but the impact of key factors on those rates, projections for workforce demand over a multi-year period, the productivity rate of the current workforce, and the gap between projected needed and current staff based on grade, occupation, and duty station level.

High level agency data evaluated within spreadsheets isn’t enough to provide the insights needed to analyze all these factors effectively. For this reason, technology tools are needed to support and produce better quantitative insights about workforce gaps.

Measurement of Quantitative Gaps vs. Perceptions

Currently, many federal HR offices have limited insight into assessing perceived gaps and tracking trends visible in recent data. This leads to a risky guessing game that can create even larger problems three-to-five years later. Quantitative measurement of workforce gaps allows these same offices to draw on historical personnel outcomes and financial constraints to generate an accurate analysis of gaps and future hiring requirements.

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A good example of the difference between quantitative measurement of these gaps and common perception of the expectation of a retirement wave in the federal government. Currently, there are more than 600,000 federal employees eligible for retirement, making up more than 30% of the federal workforce. There is a sizable concern among HR managers that a retirement wave is imminent as a high percentage of these people decide to leave. However, such a wave has not yet occurred. Instead of the perceived gap of 600,000 people who could decide to leave soon, quantitative analysis of the gap between demand and supply for a multi-year period provides greater insight for planning for how to manage hiring.

Workforce Simulation of Alternative Assumptions

What makes technology such an important part of the analysis needed to accurately measure workforce gaps is the ability to simulate alternative assumptions. Rather than a single hardline plan of action, HR managers can evaluate the potential outcome of several different scenarios, including:

  • Supply Scenarios – As attrition rates rise or fall, it’s possible to see where gaps in the workforce will develop.
  • Demand Scenarios – As new programs are implemented, agencies are expanded, or segments of the federal workforce are downsized, these scenarios can evaluate different levels of demand.
  • Policy Scenarios – Specific policies can be evaluated to determine their effect on workforce gaps. For example, if a new pay incentive program is implemented to enhance recruitment and retention rates, what impact will it have?

Using technology tools, agencies are now able to evaluate how they will be affected by several outside factors and develop contingency plans.

Integrating Better Quantitative Analysis into Your Workforce Planning

Data helps agencies make better decisions, but that data is only as good as the tools and individuals available to analyze it. To learn more about how federal agencies can leverage technology tools for workforce planning, download our eBook, How Federal Agencies Can Leverage Technology Tools for Workforce Planning: