Introducing Workforce Planning: Personnel Costs Made Easy

July 16, 2018 – Caitlin Steel

Today, we’re excited to introduce Workforce Planning - a major enhancement to our industry-leading, modern Budgeting and Performance solution that enables employee cost calculations, scenario analysis, and integrated personnel budgeting.


Personnel is the largest expense in government, often comprising up to 70 percent of the operating budget. Governments literally can’t afford to get workforce planning wrong. But that’s easier said than done. Calculating personnel costs is extremely cumbersome because there are so many factors that influence compensation (from seniority to bargaining units), and the calculations are typically managed in error-prone spreadsheets and Word documents. That often causes governments to under or overestimate personnel costs, which can cripple the budget.

Here’s a great example: A government recently told us that it’s so difficult to calculate personnel costs that they developed an average cost per employee. They said it makes it much easier to calculate the personnel costs, but that it doesn’t provide a true picture of how much it costs to deliver services to their community. What’s most frustrating about this situation is that this government isn’t alone; developing an average cost per employee is far too common among governments. Workforce Planning is here to help.

Here’s how easy it is to do personnel cost budgeting, tracking, reporting, forecasting, and scenario analysis using Workforce Planning:

  • First, you simply import your authorized position list and setup your cost drivers - like benefits, association dues, and cost of living increases.
  • Then you easily adjust your employee position lists and make edits to the cost drivers. Workforce Planning will automatically calculate the changes to all affected positions.
  • Then you can easily evaluate the impact of various scenarios by creating and testing changes to position planning and/or costs, and then override your base budget with the results.
  • Finally, all your employee-related expenses will automatically sync with your budget.

As you can see, Workforce Planning drives better salary projections, increases visibility into cost drivers, and reduces broad assumptions. That ultimately leads to more accurate budgeting, better resource allocation, and dramatic time savings.

Over a dozen governments were involved in the Workforce Planning pilot, including Harford County, MD, Senior Budget Analyst Christen Sullivan.

“Our budget staff previously used a home-grown mainframe (think Oregon Trail on a green screen) and copious amounts of spreadsheets and word docs to calculate personnel costs and build our budget,” said Sullivan. “The first time we used Workforce Planning we reduced the time it took us to develop final personnel costs and our budget from a couple weeks to five days. This means our budget team will spend far less time cutting and pasting numbers into multiple documents and more time doing valuable analysis.”

Workforce Planning further strengthens our industry-leading Budgeting and Performance solutions. Nearly 150 governments have adopted our Budgeting solution in a little over a year, and we now manage over $32 billion in budget in OpenGov. If you’d like to learn more about Workforce Planning, please join our webinar on July 24 from 10:00 to 11:00 am PDT. We’ll explain how you can develop a more consolidated budgeting process and quickly manage workforce costs. You can register here!