EUS recognised that one of the key challenges faced by its members was that of modelling changes in their workforce, to ensure the right skills are available at the right time in order to resource large infrastructure projects.
In the heavily regulated utilities sector, five-year+ licensing periods for contracts are typical, so companies must attract new talent, develop their workforces and assure a high level of competence across their business many years ahead of time.
EUS initially solved the problem in-house through a series of vast spreadsheets, with over 100,000 data points, into which utility company workforce managers fed in data for the many parameters affecting resource availability – mapping and modelling their requirements and costs over a 15 to 20 year period. These parameters included being able to specify the following by year and role:
- Target workforce numbers
- Predicted natural attrition by role, including anticipated retirement dates
- Plans to grow the team or create efficiencies
- Recruitment rates through internal and external sources with multiple points of entry for each role
- Time taken to upskill new employees and associated training costs
- Associated recruitment costs for different points of entry.
IE GDS supported EUS through systems analysis, workflow consultancy and user research around the existing system, in order to inform the design and build of a new, user-optimised, web-based digital service – Workforce Planning.
Workforce Planning supports the mass upload of data from HR systems, generates graphs and tables to show where and when organisations need to recruit, calculating budget considerations based on various scenarios. During design and development IE GDS altered the system’s model of usage, allowing segmentation both by role and by organisational structure, and users can now export data and charts from the system which is white-labelled and customisable to individual member organisations’ requirements.
Built-in logic makes clever assumptions to instantly populate data across rows and columns, while allowing for easy modification where exceptions occur. Once fully populated, the system forecasts the required investment in recruitment over an extended period.
What began life as a few large spreadsheets was transformed by IE GDS’s systems analysts, user researchers, UX designers, content designers and developers into a powerful, intuitive digital service.
The system is used extensively across the UK and globally by huge organisations including Network Rail, National Grid and the Hong Kong electricity board.