Giving Strategic Workforce Planning a Boost

TechWolf's CHRO Round Table blog series (1/3)

CT4 A9202

Mikaël Wornoo

26 Mar 2021
3 minutes
26 Mar 2021
3 minutes

On the 17th of March 2021, TechWolf organised a first Round Table with five CHROs; Anik Stalmans (Cegeka), Jan Van Acoleyen (Proximus), Jan Heyvaert (AG Insurance), Maarten van Beek (ING) & Frank van den Brink (former ABN AMRO). Read about their thoughts on Strategic Workforce Planning in this three-piece blog series.

The  CHROs that participated in the virtual talk

Strategic Workforce Planning is rapidly climbing up the priority list of HR leaders. A framework for accurately mapping out the current and desired states of your workforce is vital in a fast changing environment. Anik Stalmans, Chief HR Officer Cegeka: “It is a process, not a one-off exercise. HR guides that process like a business partner.”

Frank van den Brink, former Chief HR Officer ABN Amro, describes the transformation that banks are going through: “They are becoming technology companies. How do you align your employee population with the changing business strategy? When HR is at the table with the business, data is important - have a conversation based on facts. Next to that, the trick is to be dynamic in your Strategic Workforce Planning. It can’t just be one image, because that will soon be out of date.” He advocates going from planning to forecasting.

"The trick is to be dynamic in your Strategic Workforce Planning. It can’t be just one image, because that will soon be out of date."

Frank van den Brink

From quantitative to qualitative

Just like banks, Proximus is experiencing impactful changes: for example, from copper to fibre optics or from physical to increasingly digital sales channels. CHRO Jan Van Acoleyen: "The dynamics in our strategic workforce planning are increasing. It is not an HR process; the ownership lies with the business. The challenge centres more and more around the translation into the desired competencies, and from the short-term to the long-term vision. To further boost the Strategic Workforce Process, Proximus opted for a phased approach: working primarily on talent supply and demand, and first focusing on a meticulous quantitative forecast. Taking the step towards qualitative forecasting is the big challenge today.”

“Focus first on populations where the transition is the greatest and define inflow, outflow and upskilling. Keep the process administratively light to keep the momentum going.”

Jan Van Acoleyen

Workforce mobility

Jan Heyvaert, Chief HR & Sustainability Officer at AG Insurance, adds a dimension. He does not only look at the existing and to-be-developed skills that the insurer has right now, but also at external resources. "To manage the permanence of an operational environment, we face challenges in peak management." In addition to learning & development, he also links Strategic Workforce Planning to internal mobility. He advises installing processes and systems that encourage this mobility.

At ING Benelux, HR Director Maarten Van Beeck opts for the strategic capability route. Every two years, the company critically examines the extent to which the capabilities match the bank's strategy: what makes us stand out and is crucial for the future? What activities do we do ourselves and where within ING? What are external partners potentially doing better? Which processes are for people and which for machines and technology? What level of performance is required? The answers to these planning questions should arise from the partnership between HR Business Partners and business.

Find out more about the implications of efficient Strategic Workforce Planning in the second part of our CHRO Round Table blog series: "The Impact of Strategic Workforce Planning."

CT4 A9202

Mikaël Wornoo

COO & Co-founder

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