The stakes are high when it comes to headcount. Gaps in your hiring plan will hold you back from strategic opportunities and keep you trapped in the endless loop of spreadsheets and manual headcount planning.
The old way of workforce planning is disconnected and time-consuming. Any discrepancies or costly mistakes in headcount reconciliation can leave the business in a difficult position. Financial analysts are nodding along at this point – this has been an FP&A pain point for far too long!
Headcount planning software was created to stand in the gap (literally!) to highly simplify headcount reconciliation and workforce capacity planning processes for financial analysts and HR teams. Lots of teams have transitioned from traditional headcount spreadsheets to dynamic, integrated solutions. But that doesn’t mean that all workforce planning tools will be the right fit for your business.
If you’re ready to improve your process, here’s a breakdown of leading platforms for strategic workforce planning, and what factors you should consider based on your business size and priorities.
Comparing the Leading Workforce Planning Tools
Best for: midmarket or fast-growing teams who need to streamline their workforce planning process, integrate workforce planning with the financial plan, and deliver more strategic value to the business.
Stratify is a leading provider of powerful workforce planning and FP&A software. Stratify connects current employee information from your HR system with future hires in your operating plan to project workforce expenses into the financial plan.
With Stratify, the monthly task of headcount reconciliation, and accounting for terminations and backfills, transfers, promotions, and more can be handled in minutes. It’s a great tool to streamline processes and ensure that your workforce needs are accurately accounted for in the business plan. More than that, with the time saved, Stratify helps your finance team focus analysis and discussion on the business implications of being behind or ahead of planned headcount.
Midmarket businesses can also leverage Stratify as a complete FP&A tool to enable a strategic finance shift in the business.
- Reconcile new hires and terminated employees, add a planned position, or backfill positions all in a few minutes.
- Simple workflow engages the business in workforce planning tasks and provides self-service access to workforce analytics and reporting.
- Provide a single source of truth for the hiring plan.
- Plan detailed assumptions for comp, benefit expense, employment tax, and more in an easy, plain-language interface with no complex formulas.
- Integrated planning. Headcount-based workforce-related expenses automatically update in the Operating Expense plan (e.g. higher recruiting costs or fewer software licenses).
- Supports an agile FP&A team to build scenarios quickly and see the implications of headcount for the organization’s ability to meet annual plan targets.
Key Integrations: BambooHR, Workday, Rippling, SAP Success Factors, and many more.
Best for: Midmarket to enterprise organizations looking to unify their people data and operations onto a single platform. ChartHop is a good fit for businesses seeking data-driven people insights and efficient people operations, making it ideal for modern HR processes. Finance teams can easily perform headcount reconciliation within ChartHop and collaborate with HR business partners for a smoother process.
- All-in-one people analytics platform to forecast workforce costs and measure impact on the financial plan.
- Built-in forecasting tools help to compare the cost of proposed changes to headcount or compensation.
- Offers org management, comp management, people analytics, and employee engagement features to save time each month forecasting headcount costs.
- Customize pre-built dashboards for people analytics like turnover rate, attrition risk, DEI data, and more to share with stakeholders.
Key Integrations: ADP, Bamboo HR, Greenhouse, Humaans, Lever, Paylocity, SAP, Workday, Zenefits, and more.
Best for: Midsize and enterprise businesses who need to make data-driven headcount decisions, achieve hiring goals on time, and stay within budget constraints. TeamOhana is ideal for companies looking to streamline their headcount planning processes. However, TeamOhana is a stand alone solution that does not integrate workforce and expense planning.
- Create 'what-if' scenarios to assess the budget impacts of organizational design changes.
- Connects data from various sources like HRIS, ATS, and headcount budget to build current and accurate headcount plans.
- Collaborate with other business partners to build and modify headcount plans.
- Introduces automation to ensure more accurate and efficient headcount reconciliation.
- Establish a standardized headcount approval process for consistency and clarity.
Key Integrations: Greenhouse, Ashby, Lever, BambooHR, Workday, Deel, and more.
Best for: Businesses looking to achieve a continuous planning process and link their financial performance to operational activities. Planful is a powerful platform that can be configured for your business needs, but it’s best for an IT-savvy organization who can support the implementation process.
- Strong reporting and analytics capabilities provide financial analysts with a real-time view of plan vs actual for workforce forecasting.
- Integrates HR, finance, and operations management for a unified approach to workforce planning.
- Can operate as an all-in-one FP&A platform for smaller businesses.
- Excel-friendly with a similar interface for teams who prefer Excel.
Key Integrations: User-friendly integrations with HRIS and ATS systems, as well as BI tools to integrate recruiting, comp, and planning data.
Best for: Midmarket to Large Excel-first organizations, who will appreciate the familiar templates for comp planning and reporting. Vena offers advanced modeling capabilities, data integrations and dashboards to support an efficient and agile headcount planning process..
- Excel-native ‘Vena 365 Connect’ allows analysts to continue planning and reporting in spreadsheets, with the addition of dynamic modeling and reporting capabilities.
- Access dashboards to view labor expenses and employee information across the organization, which can be used to forecast revenue per employee and report on employee expenses.
- Security-first access controls keep comp data secure while still allowing collaboration and review from business partners.
Key Integrations: Connect with your HRIS (ADP, Workday, Bamboo, and Peoplesoft) and ERP (NetSuite and Sage Intacct) systems for a unified data approach and faster planning and analysis.
Best for: Complex, enterprise organizations with more intense modeling requirements and a large, dynamic workforce. The WorkDay workforce planning solution is part of a wider suite of solutions that can provide integrated business planning at an enterprise level.
- Support for large, global teams with frequent workforce changes and a complex business plan.
- Factor in global or local business drivers to inform your workforce plans.
- Apply driver-based assumptions to your workforce models and easily build what-if scenarios for strategic decision-making.
- Monitor changes to the plan in real-time, allowing for an agile response.
- Easily build what-if scenarios to see the effects of changes to the workforce plan.
Key Integrations: Simple integration with your CRM, ERP, HCM, and user-friendly connections with any of your other business systems to ensure your plans are built with accurate data.
Finding the Right Workforce Planning Tool
With so many choices to support strategic workforce planning, it’s important to choose a workforce planning tool that aligns with your company goals and enhances your performance. You have to compare your company size, industry, and specific HR-Finance needs against what each tool has to offer.
Midmarket FP&A teams looking to overcome the challenges of traditional headcount planning should consider Stratify to modernize and simplify the process. Stratify is focused on collaboration and transparency, designed to put time back on your side – time to be more strategic, get to know your business partners, and share your insight when strategic decisions are happening.
What are the top benefits of using workforce planning software?
- Effective forecasting – workforce planning software helps you predict staffing costs and align them with your business goals.
- Cost-savings – increase the bottom line by reducing overstaffing and balancing staff levels.
- Boost your productivity – no more hours spent gathering data and in endless meetings with HR and other business teams, reduce the time spent on this massive task.
- Data-driven decisions – support department leaders to make hiring plans based on concrete, real-time data.
- Risk management – see potential issues with staffing gaps before they develop and problem-solve or escalate before they materialize.
How does workforce planning software integrate with other HR and business systems?
For a smooth headcount planning process, analysts need that insight into employee role, and new hires or terminations. Stratify (and the other tools mentioned in this guide) integrates with leading HR systems, and other business intelligence tools to give you the full picture of how headcount fits into your annual plan.
Adding a new tool to the stack can be a concern for business leaders, but modern workforce planning tools are designed for simple integration with pre-configured connections to common HRIS and financial systems. Automatic and secure data synchronization puts all necessary information at your fingertips for a more efficient process and visibility across departments.
Integrating new workforce planning software like Stratify into your existing business ecosystem is not just adding a new tool – it’s a way to improve your whole system’s efficiency.
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