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Workforce optimization

Optimize your workforce to survive and thrive through market uncertainty. Manage cost and optimize headcount in the immediate term, while building resilience and agility for the future.

Entering one of the most confusing job markets in decades

An optimized workforce represents the pinnacle of organizational efficiency, where every team member is strategically positioned to use their unique skills and strengths in alignment with business goals. It involves not just assembling a group of talented individuals, but also continuously investing in their development, fostering a culture of collaboration, and implementing processes that enhance productivity and innovation. 

In such a workforce optimized environment, resources are allocated wisely, communication flows seamlessly, and technology is used effectively, enabling the organization to respond quickly to market changes and challenges. Ultimately, an optimized workforce is about creating a synergistic system that maximizes output and satisfaction for both the employees and the organization.

Today’s business environment is more complicated than ever. Words such as recession, economic downturn, or market uncertainty are heard everywhere, driven by multiple macro influencers including labor market disruption, inflation, rising interest rates or geopolitical tensions. 50% of companies are reducing their overall headcount, even as they remain concerned about hiring and retaining critical talent. 

Workforce optimization job market statistics

Benefits of workforce planning and optimization

Why workforce optimization? 

An optimized workforce is a workforce that’s made as effective as possible at any given time, and that includes planning around cost, headcount, performance, skills, talent availability and many other factors. 

In a market with both weak economic outlook and a robust demand for skills, organizations should look at rightsizing as opposed to downsizing. This is about balancing cost removal while ensuring the right resources are in place as your organization adapts to the fast changing economic environment.  

Workforce optimization diagram

Top priorities for workforce optimization strategies

Rightsizing in the immediate term

Speed is of the essence when facing a recession if you want to remove cost. Too often, businesses resort to reducing their workforce for short term gain, only to find it costs more in the long run when productivity drops and they have to rehire. The key is to be data driven, and with the right application to support you, you can begin identifying pockets of opportunity and risk within days, not weeks. 

Companies with data on work and skills are best positioned to make informed decisions, removing areas of poor performance or low productivity, and investing where skills are in demand.

With the right data insight you can create contingency plans, assess multiple scenarios, and see the impact of decisions you make. You can then communicate with transparency and be confident in your ability to achieve productivity goals. 

  • Figure out what work is essential and where your critical skills lie.
  • Consider workforce optimization scenarios such as attrition, reskilling, redeployment, furlough or a reduction in force.

How to do workforce optimization application

What should I do next?

Ask yourself:

  • What roles are needed as your business adapts to new goals and conditions? 
  • Consider lessons learned from pandemic playbooks like skills planning, redesigning jobs and work, and retention strategies for critical talent.
  • How will you build a sustained workforce planning and optimization capability?

In times of uncertainty, whether you’re thinking of cutting cost, adding new skills, or both, being able to optimize your workforce means you’ll have an agile and adaptable business, able to act quickly and effectively in times of change

Get started with our free two-hour workforce optimization strategy workshop to immediately identify the biggest opportunities for your business.

Free workforce optimization solution workshop

Apply now for this free two-hour advisory workshop with Orgvue’s expert consultants to quickly show you how to create sustainable productivity through workforce optimization solutions.

In advance of the workshop we will sign a mutual NDA and securely build your real HR data into Orgvue’s platform to run some immediate analysis to identify workforce optimization opportunities. Apply now for fast insights.

Why you should attend

  • Quickly understand early, highest priority opportunities for cost removal for your business.
  • In-person or remote readout​ by our expert advisory consultants.
  • Bespoke analysis using your HR data.
  • A customized six slide analysis report which shows you how to create sustainable productivity through workforce optimization application.
  • Peace of mind – At Orgvue, we put your data security at the center of everything we do.

Answer questions like:

  • How many layers do I have in my organization?​
  • Are my teams the size I want them to be?​
  • Are there too many contractors at the top of the organization?​
  • How do my headcount and costs compare to targets?​
  • Which department has the highest fully-loaded cost?​

Request a free workshop now

Point of view article

Recession planning: moving strategy to the top of the list

Orgvue’s Chief Executive Officer Oliver Shaw discusses three key behaviors organizations can adopt to help plan for recession and thrive in the future.

Common workforce planning and optimization challenges

Do you recognize some of these challenges? Although businesses have often been faced with the need to pivot quickly, leaders still struggle with the same challenges, such as:

Petal, Flower, Plant
Misaligned, incomplete and scattered data 
Petal, Flower, Plant
Slow processes due to highly manual work
Petal, Flower, Plant
Increased risk of human error and duplication of effort
Petal, Flower, Plant
Lack of transparency, leading to missed opportunities
Petal, Flower, Plant
Short term solution, with the risk of repetition in a few months 

So how can you bypass those challenges and improve profitability quickly and effectively while future-proofing your business?

Introducing Orgvue

Orgvue is a SaaS platform, built to help you optimize to your workforce quickly and immediately, while investing in productivity and agility in the longer term.

Whatever tactics you want to implement – whether cost cutting, workforce rightsizing, skills design, etc. Orgvue allows you to do it quickly, risk free and with complete visibility.

  • Centralized and trusted data.
  • Advanced modeling capabilities.
  • Alignment across departments.
  • Fast transformation and minimized risk.
  • Long-term capability and increased agility.
A diagram of a cycle reading clockwise: Analyze, Design, Plan, Monitor

What it looks like in practice

Once you load your data into Orgvue, you can immediately start modeling scenarios and quickly implement them within weeks. Whether you’re looking to make changes now, or build a long-term capability, Orgvue’s got you covered.

1

Quickly consolidate data in Orgvue and start analyzing your business

  • Bring data from multiple platforms into Orgvue, such as your HCM, people analytics, payroll, skills, performance, etc.
  • Clean the data and align it to create an accurate source of truth.
  • Analyze different aspects of your workforce, such as overall cost, spans and layers, duplication of work, retirement risk, etc.
Orgvue workforce optimization dashboard

Orgvue dashboard showing an overall summary of the workforce as it is today

 

Showing the VP of Market Research being outsourced in the modeling process in Orgvue

2

Model scenarios and design your future workforce

  • Using drag-and-drop, easily add, remove or change positions across your business
  • See the impact of changes on your organization, and discard unsuccessful options
  • Use criteria such as skills, performance, tenure, or activities to make data-driven decisions
3

Implement your plan, and allocate the right talent to your new structure

  • Build talent pools by shortlisting people based on role requirements
  • Once ready, confirm the right candidate for the right roles
  • After changes have been decided, manage implementation and exits if applicable
Orgvue screenshot talent selection workforce optimization

Orgvue image showing the talent selection progress on an org chart

Orgvue screenshot workforce optimization headcount costs

Orgvue image showing the comparison of current headcount and cost against targets

4

Monitor your progress, and maintain long term productivity

  • Track progress against your plan and report on value realization
  • Track employee movement (joiner, mover, leaver)
  • Instantly iterate plan and re-model if necessary based on internal or external developments

Customer story

Re-designing 250,000 positions as quickly and effectively as possible

Logo, Trademark, Symbol

Under normal circumstances we would expect a 20-strong team to take 6 months to do this, but with Orgvue a team of 8 did it in 2.

Chief Transformation Officer, global bank with 250k+ employees

Business goals

  • To re-design 250,000 positions in a global bank, into a new structure focussed on customer service experience.
  • To automate select roles and activities with a target saving of $60m over 3 years.

Solution

  • Using Orgvue, they modeled different design options and visualized scenario impacts.
  • They then mapped the ‘to-be’ design against a sub-group of 45,000 employees and tested.
  • They built a transformation center of excellence based around Orgvue for workforce modeling.
Orgvue workforce optimization customer story statistics
Survive and thrive through market volatility

Solution brief

Survive and thrive
through market volatility

Immediately adapt your workforce in line with your long-term strategy. Read our latest solution brief to discover how Orgvue can help you to thrive and succeed in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Learn more about how we can help you:

  • consolidate data and analyze your business 
  • model your future organization
  • allocate talent to your new structure
  • monitor your progress against targets.

Workforce Optimization FAQs

What is workforce optimization?

Workforce optimization is a comprehensive strategy aimed at maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s human resources to boost overall performance and achieve company goals. It integrates a wide array of practices and technologies, including talent management, workforce planning, training, performance management and enhanced communication through technology, all underpinned by data analytics.
 
This approach ensures that the workforce is well-aligned with organizational needs, optimally deployed, and fully utilized, thus reducing labor costs and increasing productivity. At its core, workforce optimization seeks to enhance customer satisfaction by fostering a work environment where employees are engaged, skilled, and motivated, ensuring compliance with labor regulations and enabling the organization to swiftly adapt to market changes. This not only drives innovation and growth but also creates a satisfying and efficient workplace, benefiting both employees and the organization.

What is an example of workforce optimization?

In a retail chain example, workforce optimization is demonstrated through the adoption of an advanced scheduling system, leveraging predictive analytics to efficiently align staffing with fluctuating customer foot traffic. This approach is bolstered by investing in employee training for customer service and operational efficiency, including cross-training for flexibility in roles, which enhances both customer satisfaction and employee engagement. 

The strategy encompasses performance management with feedback based on data-driven metrics, facilitating continuous improvement and career growth. This integrated approach to workforce optimization not only matches staff capabilities with business needs, increasing operational efficiency and service quality, but also fosters a work environment conducive to employee satisfaction and development, illustrating a comprehensive application of workforce optimization principles.

What does a workforce optimization manager do?

A Workforce Optimization Manager is instrumental in maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s human resources to achieve business objectives. They are tasked with analyzing, planning, and implementing strategies to boost productivity, enhance employee satisfaction, and minimize operational costs. Their role encompasses overseeing workforce planning and scheduling, using data analytics for demand forecasting and performance assessment, and working closely with HR to align recruitment, training and development with strategic needs. 

They also implement performance management systems for continuous feedback and improvement, and play a key role in change management to keep the workforce flexible and responsive to new challenges. Through a comprehensive approach to workforce management, the Workforce Optimization Manager significantly contributes to improved productivity, lower turnover, and heightened employee engagement, thereby supporting the overarching success of the organization.

What is manpower optimization?

Manpower optimization is a strategic approach aimed at maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s human resources. It involves aligning the workforce’s size, skills, and productivity with the organization’s goals and demands, ensuring that every employee’s potential is fully utilized for optimal performance. This process encompasses a variety of practices, including workforce planning, skill development, performance management, and technological integration, to enhance both employee satisfaction and operational efficiency.

In essence, manpower optimization seeks to ensure that the right number of employees, with the right skills, are in the right places at the right times. It involves analyzing current workforce capabilities, identifying gaps, and forecasting future needs to make informed decisions on hiring, training, and deploying personnel. By doing so, organizations can avoid the pitfalls of under or overstaffing, which can lead to increased operational costs or diminished service quality.

Effective manpower optimization strategies also focus on improving communication and collaboration within teams, streamlining workflows, and adopting technologies that support better management of human resources. Additionally, it emphasizes creating a supportive work environment that encourages professional growth, innovation, and high levels of employee engagement. Ultimately, manpower optimization is about leveraging human capital as efficiently as possible to achieve the organization’s objectives while ensuring the workforce is motivated, satisfied, and productive.

Does workforce optimization mean layoffs?

Workforce optimization does not inherently mean layoffs. Rather, it focuses on making the most effective use of an organization’s human resources to improve productivity, efficiency and satisfaction. This strategy might include reallocating or retraining staff, improving processes, or implementing new technologies to enhance performance. 

While optimization can sometimes lead to restructuring that affects staffing levels, the primary goal is to align employee skills and numbers with the organization’s current and future needs. In many cases, workforce optimization efforts aim to retain valuable employees by developing their skills and competencies to match evolving business requirements, thus avoiding layoffs and fostering a more engaged and versatile workforce.

More resources

Short-term gain, long-term pain Ebook Workforce optimization ebook: How to avoid long-term pain
New research reveals why snap decisions lead to negative outcomes in the long term. Download this workforce optimization ebook to learn why many senior decision makers at large organizations regret the quick decisions they’ve made.
Orgvue CEO Oliver Shaw Article Recession planning: moving strategy to the top of the list
Orgvue's Chief Executive Officer Oliver Shaw discusses three key behaviors organizations can adopt to help plan for recession and thrive in the future.
Advertisement, Poster, Text Infographic Infographic: Optimizing tomorrow’s workforce, today
New research reveals why snap workforce optimization decisions lead to negative outcomes in the long term. See this workforce optimization infographic to learn why many senior decision makers at large organizations regret the quick decisions they’ve made.
Article How to prepare for a recession
Four strategies to help you prepare for a recession and guide your organization through uncertainty to succeed both in the short- and long-term.

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