Best practices for headcount reporting : future workforce planning efforts must systematically account for alternative worker types

Jorgensen, Brad & Atwater, Donald (2008) Best practices for headcount reporting : future workforce planning efforts must systematically account for alternative worker types. Graziadio Business Report, 11(4), pp. 1-7.

View at publisher


Headcount reporting is supposed to be a simple counting process with a tangible outcome. However, counting the "number of people a business employs on a global basis" is not as straightforward as it should be. In one recent case, a corporate human resources (HR) report showed that the company's global workforce was comprised of 4,100 persons, while a tabulation across business units came to 3,570, and a finance report showed 4,320 persons.

While all were arithmetically correct and tabulated for the same day, each report adopted a different construct. The HR report counted full-time employees, temporary workers who replaced full-time workers on leave, and part-time employees. The business units reported only full-time workers, and the finance report was based on full-time workers, part-time workers, temporary workers, and contractors. Above and beyond these tabulations, the budgeting headcount was 4,000, and the workforce planning number for the comparable period of the previous year was 3,915. An objective observer could say these counts are technically all correct. A frustrated executive would say there should be one, and only one, answer.

This article explores why headcount reporting problems exist and will likely worsen, especially for multinational companies, unless improved workforce planning frameworks are implemented.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 19113
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal’s web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Future workforce, Alternative work types, HRM
ISSN: 1939-1633
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 25 Mar 2009 01:35
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 13:05

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page