Planning for Work

Most organisations realise that their workforce is one of their most valuable assets.  The training, experience and loyalty of their staff might not appear on their balance sheet but they are absolutely critical to the good running of the business.  This is particularly the case for organisations where the training or experience is unique to the organisation - replacing lost staff is not simple and requires forward planning to ensure continuity and retention of corporate knowledge.

For many organisations in Australia this challenge is driven by changes in the population as a whole.  A generational change is occurring with the baby boomers reaching their 60's.  Many workforces are facing higher rates of retirement than in the past and this effect will increase over the next decade.  Compounding this is a greater uncertainty of what workers might plan to do.  No longer is 65 the mandatory retirement age - some may choose to retire significantly earlier or later than this and some workers will also opt for part?time work.  Changes in Government policies on retirement and superannuation are likely to have a large effect on retirement decisions made by workers and, in turn, the policies themselves must change in response to a decreasing proportion of the population being in the workforce.

Good organisational planning is required to effectively manage the impact of the change in the working population.  Ideally, this planning should be based upon the best quantitative evidence available and should highlight recruitment, training and succession planning requirements well before they become a real problem.  Data Analysis Australia has recently tackled several aspects of organisational planning, ranging from initial data collection to the analysis of existing information to understand the future.

An understanding of employees' intentions about retirement is an essential aspect in the development of strategies to both influence retirement and for recruitment to replace retirees.  Employee surveys are an essential tool to collect this information.  Web based implementation can be used as a cost effective survey method for organisations where most workers have access to computers.  Data Analysis Australia has recently undertaken a large scale survey of this nature including the collection of the data and analysis and reporting of the responses.

Another project recently undertaken by Data Analysis Australia had the challenge of forecasting the recruitment and in-service training demands over the next ten years for the Western Australian Police.  For this, the problem was not one of simply looking at typical retirement ages but rather it was necessary to understand career paths in an organisation with a sophisticated rank structure and promotion by merit.  A matrix method based upon modelling promotion and attrition rates was used, an enhancement of a much simpler model developed in a similar context some years ago.  Once calibrated using the WA Police human resources database, this model gave an understanding of both short and long term needs, in particular the level of recruitment required to sustain and expand the number of officers to match population growth.

The common feature of these projects is the way in which Data Analysis Australia harnessed statistical and mathematical methods to deliver practical outcomes to assist organisations in workforce planning.  

For further information, please contact Data Analysis Australia at daa(at) or phone 08 9468 2533

September 2007