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Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change


U.S. companies are complaining loudly about their staffing problems. They cannot find people with the skills they need, they lament. And it is very hard to predict staffing requirements when technological disruptions can lead to rapid changes in markets, business models and the way that individual departments work.

This is where strategic workforce planning (SWP) comes in: How can companies know in advance the skills and workers they will need, and how can they ensure that they will have the necessary people in place in time?

In April 2016, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) surveyed more than 500 senior executives at U.S. companies. The research was supported by the ADP Research Institute®. Respondents ranged from very small to multinational corporations. We asked respondents what SWP means to them; what they are doing to improve it; where they are experiencing skills and labor shortages; and where they expect such shortages to arise in the future.

In this report, we explore what skills gaps companies face and how they can fill them. We also ask what younger, so-called ‘millennial’, workers want from their work and why they have a reputation for job-hopping. Are they feckless, with little loyalty to their employers? Or are they actually just looking for career progression and changing jobs because companies are failing to give them the training and experience they need? If that is the case, then companies need to change the way they work rather than looking to SWP to fill gaps that might be of their own making.

About the Report:
Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change is an Economist Intelligence Unit report, supported by the ADP Research Institute. The Economist Intelligence Unit bears sole responsibility for the content of this report. The findings do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor. The report draws on two main sources for its research and findings:

  • A survey that included responses from 502 C-suite respondents in the U.S., evenly distributed across four geographic regions: the Northeast, the Midwest, the South and the West. Some 11% of respondents came from companies with fewer than 20 employees, 23% had 20-49 employees, 34% had 50-499 employees, 21% had 500-999 employees and 13% had more than 1,000 employees. Respondents came from four functional areas: 10% finance, 41% general management, 39% HR and 10% IT. They held a variety of C-level positions: 40% were CEOs; 10% were CFOs, treasurers or heads of finance; 40% were CHROs or heads of HR; and 10% were CIOs, CTOs or heads of technology.
  • A series of in-depth interviews conducted with senior executives.

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Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change

Read the full white paper “Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change” to gain deeper insight into how HR is identifying and addressing skills shortages in the workforce—today and in the future.

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Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change

Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change

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