Advancing L&D’s Role in Strategic Workforce Planning

A chalkboard with Xs and Os strategically placed.

Rapidly changing business landscapes present challenging strategic workforce planning opportunities. Employees need go from zero to 60 quickly to adapt to their company’s newest offerings, the latest news in their industry and any new responsibilities that appear on their to-dos.

The L&D team is responsible for the development of new skill sets. The team is also tasked with providing the business intelligence needed to support a plan that constantly adopts to their industry’s changing landscape.

Check out these strategies learning leaders can employ to lead workforce development to help employees keep up with the times.

Create and regularly update a workforce development plan

L&D leaders can start by working with business units to proactively identify the skill sets that are needed to achieve business goals. Plans need to identify new skills and significant updates to existing competencies. And the plans should identify strategies to acquire needed expertise, either through rapid upskilling from within or hiring subject matter experts from outside the organization. Workforce development isn’t a once-and-done long-term document; it requires frequent updating as needs become clearer and situations change in a rapidly evolving environment.

Upskill people in their current roles

With rich L&D resources, it’s easier than ever to encourage current employees to update skills and to give them the training and learning resources they need to do so. Learning leaders should identify opportunities to align digital learning assets to support skill development in critical areas and to market those materials to people in the roles that demand elevated skills. The management team can be kept informed of progress on updating skills through automated LMS reporting features that detail completion of training and uptake on digital resources. They can use that information to further encourage and recognize skill development on their teams.

Design accelerated skill development programs

Learning pathways should be designed to help employees transition to exciting new opportunities. L&D should fashion rich, fast-tracked training and development strategies for building emerging skills—consistent strategies that link formal training and digital learning components and certify skill acquisition. That way, interested employees can enroll once in a skill development track and be guided through a full array of learning opportunities for developing the competency level they desire. LMS reporting can automatically inform leaders of how many people are pursuing skill acquisition and their progress on the development path so leaders know how to shape their recruitment plans. Reports can also identify people who may be ready to take on new challenges, helping to manage the pipeline to new roles.

Use business intelligence for making strategic decisions

An effective LMS offers robust reporting capabilities that provide real-time data on progress toward strategic workforce planning goals. Hiring managers can quickly see which employees may be ready for transition and how quickly the strategic workforce planning goals are being met.

These strategies require vision, collaboration, planning and ongoing attention from the leadership team. L&D leaders are critical partners in this effort, and LMS reporting can provide important business intelligence. With all the right pieces in place, organizations can be ready for the future.