Why I recommend system-supported personnel planning
By Ina Schwarzenberg
Ina Schwarzenberg, our specialist for people analytics and BI tools, has been working in the field of financial and HR planning for almost 20 years. As Head of Development, Ina is responsible for and develops the Line of Business HR at bdg.
The wrong tool for a big job
Excel is certainly a great office tool that hardly any company can do without to collect and structure data. But is it also suitable as a human resource planning tool?
I say no – because I know what BI tools do for personnel planning and data security compared to Excel. And that’s what I’ll explain to you below!
By the way, if the keyword Business Intelligence immediately makes you think: “But that must be a lot of effort”, let me already reveal at this point: With the right software and the right implementation partner, you will only need a few weeks for the introduction!
Why Excel is not particularly well suited for human resource planning
A company I worked for – let’s call it XYZ GmbH – had introduced a holistic budgeting process. So apart from turnover, the biggest cost block had to be planned: personnel costs.
In the first year, XYZ had roughly estimated the personnel costs based on the actual costs of the previous year and the turnover expectations of the next year. But this method quickly turned out to be unreliable. No wonder – personnel movements are insanely complex!
The company decided to plan personnel costs in more detail in order to better understand and explain deviations from the plan later.
For this purpose, the personnel cost planning was first prepared centrally with the human resources department. All information – about existing employees, future departures and new additions – was obtained from a multitude of Excel files. Then the corresponding FTEs and costs were collected and prepared.
Only in this way could XYZ GmbH painstakingly and only approximately determine the starting point – i.e. the baseline – for the planning of the coming year.
The whole thing was then made available to the cost centre managers in a separate Excel file for planning.
You guessed it, maybe you know it too: The preparation of the central and decentralised Excel files took forever – and faulty formulas were found again and again. Sometimes planners had accidentally corrupted files, so that they had to be repaired during the current planning process. If fixed planning parameters were changed during operation, “the big Excel adjustment” started all over again … Last but not least, those responsible had to consolidate the almost endless files in a time-consuming process in order to be able to evaluate them and present them to the management.
And it went even further: the management decided on some planning changes that had to be incorporated into the Excel spreadsheets in order to transparently feed them back to the departments. In addition, the finance department was informed so that they could adjust and finalise the P&L.
By the way: this consolidation was also needed for reporting – because the entire planning was checked against the actual figures during the year. If the planned costs differed from the actual costs, then the big manual search for answers in the Excel files started …
Are you close to tears yet? I could go on forever listing other disadvantages that XYZ GmbH had when using Excel for personnel planning … And many companies feel the same way!
The better decision: an intelligent cloud solution
The good news: for a few years now, there have been fantastic system-based solutions that make the personnel planning process much more efficient. That’s exactly the kind of cloud solution I introduced at XYZ GmbH back then.
And you can do that too – for example, with the bdg | HR Suite in SAP Analytics Cloud, Jedox or Board!
The bdg | HR Suite offers you unbeatable advantages – precisely tailored in one solution:
- Higher planning quality. Our BI tool enables you to reliably and efficiently carry out system-supported personnel planning with the necessary standards. Linked to your financial planning and reporting system, this integrated, modular solution eliminates all manual effort!
- Data protection conformity. Unlike Excel, sensitive data is also reliably protected in accordance with German Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO): Individual data is only available to the responsible planners. Other people only have access to the aggregated figures – simultaneously, because the system carries out the consolidation in real time.
- Collaboration. The bdg | HR Suite raises the entire collaboration within the company to a new level – also due to the many comment functions, the integrated management dashboard and the easy sharing of reports. Reports and analyses on all planned and actual statuses are available at any time at the touch of a button.
- Efficient planning processes. Technical workflows – for example for approvals or the planning process itself – support you throughout and are tailored to your processes in the company.
- Fast implementation. The icing on the cake: Implementation by bdg does not take years, but only a few weeks! The bdg | HR Suite combines a ready-made planning solution with the flexibility of a customised framework solution to your advantage.
In short: Personnel planning software such as the bdg | HR Suite is a must-have for every company. With it, the HR department acts as an indispensable business partner and does not get lost in manual data procurement and preparation processes. There is more time to focus on important, strategic issues.
Have you also had enough of Excel as a planning tool and want to use the opportunities of digitalisation? Let us show you our bdg | HR Suite as a demo! Or gain further insights in the blog strategic workforce planning.
We will be happy to advise you on your way to taking your HR department and workforce planning to the next level: Make HR better!