2023 Strategic Workforce Planning Report cover

2023 Strategic Workforce Planning Report Insights. Time for a Conversation.

Improving workforce planning to improve talent strategies is high on the list of 2023 talent trends.  Specifically, incorporating skills-based models into quantitative workforce planning can lay a foundation for accessing talent for roles and work that do not yet exist. As the hype of generative AI begins to subside, business and work leaders are coming to the realization that tasks are more likely to be replaced than jobs during the emerging generative AI disruption. This disruption calls for comprehensive talent strategies that include extended workforces and start with workforce planning and analysis at the task level instead of jobs.  


Following months of research and preparation in association with PwC, Flextrack is thrilled to announce the release of our report on these topics.  


The purpose of our research is threefold; we wanted to find out if the misalignment of organizational investments in workforce strategy between full-time employee (FTE) workforces and their contingent counterparts is substantial. We also wanted to know if organizational workforce strategies are agile enough to react to disruption, and if extended workforce technology is up to the task of enabling a comprehensive workforce strategy.   


Over 100 organizational leaders responded to detailed questions about enterprise talent strategies, strategic workforce planning, the extended workforce and enabling technologies, and their vision of the future. The result is an in-depth dive into board, C-suite, and executive-level minds from across enterprises. Below are a few highlights from the study and suggestions on how best to use this report to tighten up your comprehensive workforce strategy.  

Numerous gaps create misalignment of strategies. 


A great place to start engaging with our insights is by diving into the relationships between enterprise strategies, talent management, and workforce planning. Our report highlights substantial gaps between all three, as well as gaps in understanding between the C-suite and the rest of the organization.  

C-suite involvement in talent strategy and extended workforces graph from the 2023 Workforce Strategy Planning Report

These discrepancies bring all kinds of troublesome issues related to talent, such as misalignment on business objectives, duplication of effort, cost over-runs, and sub-optimal allocation of resources.   


We make a bold call in the report for CHROs to provide leadership and governance in closing these gaps and in creating comprehensive talent strategies for their organizations. HR’s responsibilities for talent and the CHRO’s role in the C-suite make them the most likely enterprise leaders to address these issues and prepare the organization and its workforce for continuous disruption.  

Workforce planning is generally fragmented. 


Consistent with the notion of gaps in strategy, our research found fragmentation of workforce planning and decision-making throughout the enterprise. Many participants indicated that workforce planning is a department-level, mostly budget-focused, activity in their organizations, often for managing headcount.  


This fragmentation can hinder efforts to transform organizations with skills-based models, generative AI, or other strategic initiatives such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. It can also create issues associated with compliance, budgeting, employment brand and internal competition for talent. By unifying enterprise workforce planning, organizations can begin to understand exactly where work is done, who is doing it, and how much it costs – setting them up for incorporating AI in a unified way as well.  

Cloud graph from 2023 Strategy Workforce Planning Report

Obsolete extended workforce technology lowers confidence in workforce agility. 


Our research found that obsolete extended workforce technology is impeding confidence in workforce agility in a wide variety of situations. Follow-up interviews with participants identified key shortcomings in technology and data management that hinder efforts to optimize extended workforce programs and fully incorporate them into comprehensive talent strategies. 


At the top of this list of shortcomings are failures of these technologies, including VMS, to effectively integrate the tools and point solutions necessary for efficient program and data management. While each enterprise is unique, most solutions require complicated, code-heavy integrations that drag on IT resources.  


These clunky, complicated, or non-existent integrations require end customers to wait months or years to incorporate their choice of point solution.  Even worse, customers may be forced to accept a less than optimal solution based on pre-built integrations and workflows that sound more like “one-size-fits-all” than “fit-for-purpose.” All extended workforce solutions should be able to integrate quickly and easily for more efficient functionality and data capture.   

Extended workforce screenshots.

The Strategic Workforce Planning Report Is a Conversation Starter, Not a Maturity Model 

To benefit from the insights and recommendations in our research, it’s important to note that this report is a conversation starter, not a maturity model. Maturity models are helpful when a practice is generally accepted in an industry or field, and there is enough differentiation to identify what works and what doesn’t.  

As we are in the early stages of including extended workforces (and soon, generative AI) in workforce planning, our data and insights should be used to start a conversation in your organization. For example, we encourage asking: 

This research report is a behind-the-scenes look at honest opportunities and insights from board-level, C-suite, and functional leaders from across the enterprise whose impact and opinions on workforce planning are often critical to the development and execution of enterprise talent strategies. We hope you take their perspectives to heart and use them to engage leaders in your organization.  

Finally, I would like to extend a warm thank you to our collaborators at PwC for their amazing work on this project, and to all the incredible leaders and influencers who have helped shape this message and spread its impact as we prepared to release it.  

Jeff Mike

Jeff Mike

Managing Director, Customer Strategy and Value, Flextrack

Jeff Mike works closely with HR, Procurement and IT leaders to design extended workforce ecosystems that fuel and future-proof enterprise talent strategies. Jeff brings over 15 years of experience leading HR functions, along with five years leading global HR- and workforce-related research, to combine the best thought leadership, business practices, and platform technology into purpose-built solutions.

Jeff Mike