Workforce Planning for Rapid Growth/Downscaling – Ross Sparkman, Facebook ¦ TPAP011

The People Analytics Podcasts is a series of lively conversations with leading HR practitioners, thought leaders and tech pioneers from a variety of backgrounds and experience from around the globe.  Hosted by Max Blumberg, each episode promises the listener an engaging discussion on the topical issues in the HR field today, including data-driven HR, workforce planning and new technology.

People Analytics World 2017 - 4th annual conference (25-26 April)
ross sparkman facebook people analytics podcast

Ross Sparkman - Head of Strategic Workforce Planning, Facebook

facebook logo
max blumberg hr analytics
Max Blumberg
tucana people analytics podcast

Dr Max Blumberg, PhD, is an executive advisor at Tucana and founder of the Blumberg Partnership, a Top 50 analytics consultancy which provides innovative analytics consultancy to organisations including Nestle, Lloyds Register, the BBC, Rentokil Initial, Barclays Corporate and the CIPD. Max is also a Visiting Researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Episode 11:
Strategic Workforce Planning in Times of High Growth or Downsizing - The Facebook Approach and Story

If this is what your organisation is doing now, what will you need to do in 10 years’ time? If your strategy is to be operating at 50% or 500% of your current size, how can you know what people and skills you will need, and where?

Strategic Workforce Planning is in many ways one of the most complex - and also most essential - fields of HR. Having an optimised workforce that is properly positioned and skilled to handle emerging and anticipated business challenges is of immeasurable benefit to the success of a business strategy. And of course, the converse is equally true.


It is therefore a massive opportunity to demonstrate a real, practical and commercially-beneficial use for workforce data, which delivers exactly what the CEO needs from HR.

One significant challenge in Workforce Planning is rapid growth or downsizing/downscaling, since it introduces a lot of unknowns into the equation. How do you anticipate the needs of your organisation in 10 years' time when your whole operational structure will have transformed entirely?

Clearly, one company that has experienced - and continues to experience - such change is Facebook.

In a relatively technical discussion, this week's episode sees Max Blumberg discuss the intricacies of Workforce Planning and its place within the wider People Analytics function of one of the world's most successful enterprises.

  • Workforce Planning for high growth
  • How Facebook structures its People Analytics function
  • The concept of an "optimised workforce" for strategy execution
  • Understanding the concept of 'critical workforce segments'
  • Understanding internal/external talent supply and demand
  • The role of deep statistics and optimisation in People Analytics
  • Top tips for setting up advanced People Analytics

Ross Sparkman, with over 15 years’ experience in Talent Analytics and Strategic Workforce Planning, uses his background in statistics, business strategy, HR and HR technology to consult with C-Suite officers and senior leaders on strategic methodologies and frameworks for HR and corporate strategy alignment. The end goal is to provide these senior leaders with improved data and insights to make better 'people' related decisions that ultimately improve organisational performance.

He is currently the Head of Strategic Workforce Planning at Facebook where his key mandate is to create workforce forecasts and to develop optimised talent strategies for Facebook's future growth. Prior to Facebook, Ross functioned as the Head of Strategic Workforce Planning & Analytics at GE Aviation, the Strategic Workforce Planning Leader at Devon Energy and as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting where he specialised in Human Capital Strategy and Workforce Planning & Analytics.