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How Technology is Transforming Workplace Planning

By Allie Meng, Co-founder and Head of Product, BeyondHQ

Workforce and workplace planning make up a key component of an organization's strategic planning process, as having the right number of employees-with the right skills in the right places and at the right time-is critical to the growth and success of a business. This has become more important than ever, as companies focusing on their post-pandemic "return to work" plans consider new hybrid models of work that are driven by talent, real estate costs, and individual workers' demands based on location and lifestyle.

Today's Approach Doesn't Work

Today's real estate and talent planning process is slow, static, and costly. It combines low-tech tools such as cobbled-together spreadsheets, with error-prone manual processes and expensive, outsourced consulting services. Data (e.g., talent availability, talent cost and real estate cost) can be difficult to source, and becomes dated very quickly.

Another challenge with traditional tools is they are built for individual functions within an organization (e.g., HR vs Operations). This means the data, analysis, projections, and subsequent recommendations are siloed and don't capture the full scope of what's possible for a business. And as many companies are evolving their approach to workplace planning with remote, hybrid, and hub and node workforce models, they are finding this "old" approach doesn't scale-and doesn't work.

Software is the Solution

Technology continues to transform how we work, in every organization and every industry. Companies like Carta, Flexport, and SoFi have introduced new software platforms that are modernizing markets as diverse as financial equity, freight shipping, and banking respectively. These innovations are enabling new levels of transparency, efficiency and productivity for all industries, and it's time for us to do the same for the real estate and talent planning process.

What companies need are workforce and workplace planning tools that enable collaboration, with teams working together, outside their respective silos, on complex decisions. They should provide easy access to the most up-to-date market data and allow for multiple scenario planning capabilities, while offering automated processes that ensure efficient, accurate modeling. In addition, as more companies consider geographically distributed teams and offices, they should be able to easily analyze several geographic locations, as well as workforce conditions, e.g., co-working spaces, sub-leases, etc.

Software-based workforce and workplace planning solutions (like BeyondHQ) are solving this problem, enabling a modern approach to the real estate and talent planning process:

On-demand Data

Workforce and workplace planning platforms provide companies with externally verified market data - on demand - about costs, talent, diversity, and a plethora of location-specific factors that inform the ‘what if' analyses they need to make informed decisions. The data is pulled from multiple private and public sources to enable analysis of everything from talent metrics (e.g., occupation and job skills), to real estate metrics (e.g., vacancy and inventory), to market overview metrics (e.g., population size and diversity). The analysis of this data used to take several months, as external consultants reviewed various talent, real estate, and other market factors from sources including BLS, U.S. Census, and Moody's Analytics, before making business recommendations. Now, with a SaaS-based solution, it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Intuitive Workflow

Aside from the burdens of pulling and compiling timely data, it can be incredibly difficult to use it effectively-in fact, too much data can be overwhelming and confusing to make sense of. A SaaS-based approach takes users through a step by step approach that gives just the right amount of data and insights at every step of the process. This logical workflow helps organizations gain control of data, minimizes room for errors and increases overall efficiency.

Team-based Tools

Software-based solutions also enable greater levels of collaboration between all internal decision makers-including non-technical team members-from HR and Talent to Real Estate and Operations. The platforms create interactive reports that can be easily shared to ensure everyone has access to the same information, at the same time. And each report can be customized for an organization's specific needs, goals, priorities, and culture, providing market specific insights and comparisons based on the essential factors of talent availability, costs, diversity, rent trends, and more.

In addition, these software-based tools can provide analysis that enables the discovery of additional skills and market requirements, considers "need vs. like to have" and the resulting stack-ranking, provides confirmation through due diligence on selected markets, and delivers business evaluations that take into consideration cost and economic incentive factors. Sample reports can include Occupation Talent Availability, Occupation Comparison, Skills Talent Availability, and Skills Comparison, as well as Talent and Cost scores.

Location, Location, Location

With so many companies now offering a remote or hybrid workforce model for their employees, their growth is no longer constrained by any single physical location or office. This changes the workforce and workplace planning process significantly, as it is traditionally focused on talent analysis (e.g., roles, headcount, functions, etc.). With a software-based approach to the planning process, location analysis can be done simultaneously with real estate analysis, allowing organizations to take a location-led approach that truly supports their growth plans.

Software-based workforce and workplace planning platforms are the future of workforce and workplace planning, providing companies with a transparent, reliable, and fast way to help inform decisions about where and how to scale and optimize a business. They are solving a timely, critical need as more businesses are thinking about how their employees will return to work. It's only when companies are able to support a fully integrated workforce and workplace planning approach that they'll be able to use the criteria of talent, cost, and location to keep up with the new world of hybrid work.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allie Meng, Co-founder and Head of Product, BeyondHQ

Allie Meng 

Allie overseas the product roadmap and leads the software development team at BeyondHQ. She translates user input and feedback into the design of the BeyondHQ products that help companies make informed, data-driven workforce and workplace decisions.

A software engineer by training, Allie has worked with early stage B2B startups that were modernizing traditional industries. Many of these companies were in a venture incubator environment, where she helped build their product from an idea to an MVP. Allie considers her mission to create products that noticeably and measurably bring value to the end user. According to her scaling value = scaling companies = scaling human connection.

Published Tuesday, July 06, 2021 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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