There are lots of ways to think about position management. Industries have specialized techniques that apply to certain verticals, and may use specialized metrics to help them plan. Position management involves the metrics you use to analyze employee forecasting and predict your hiring needs. We’re going to discuss a general approach to position management metrics.

The Usual Suspects

These are the metrics we often see when talking about people analytics.

  • Head Count – At a high level this is the count of the employees working at the company at some point in time.
  • Terminations – The number of terminations occurring within a period.
  • New Hires – The number of new hires occurring within a period.
  • Transfers – The number of people transferred within the company.
  • Promotions – The number of people who received a promotion within the company.
  • Vacant Positions – This is the number of open positions that does not have someone sitting in that job/position
  • Open Head Count – This is the number of occupied and unoccupied positions in the company. Open Head Count = Head Count + Vacant Head Count
  • Budgeted Head Count – This is a count of the number of positions that were budgeted or planned.

Removing Employees from the Process

We often think about employee and position as one in the same. An employee has a position, and if you have a position the you are an employee. But this is inconvenient when attempting to position management planning and budgeting. You need to separate the employee and position and track them separately. By that we need to think of a position as a some job that needs to be worked at the company. It indicates something we want to hire into. Now whether we have a person assigned to that seat or not is where the employee comes into play. If a position is assigned to an employee then it’s filled. If it’s unassigned it’s vacant.

This dramatically changes how you manage your workforce population, and if you don’t do this then you are limited in terms of the planning you can affectively do. It does increase the cost to manage such a system because positions must be created and maintained separately from employees. However, without it you can’t effectively do any of these metrics:

  • Vacant Positions
  • Open Head Count
  • Budgeted Head Count

Head Count vs Positions

Through modeling positions as a separate entity then we can begin to do planning. If we expect to hire more people first we’d create new positions in the future. Then we can begin to show how we are progressing towards that goal by comparing Head Count vs Open Head Count, and we can quantify what hiring needs to look like to meet that goal. We can also begin to track how long it took to fill that position so we can plan in the future how long it takes to hire positions. So if we know of a business opportunity coming along in the 2nd half of the year we can have some information about if we can realistically reach that goal by hiring or if we need to shift existing employees to this opportunity.

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