For more than 40 years, NI has developed automated test and measurement systems that help engineers solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. As the pace and scale of change accelerate across the global marketplace, NI asked Point B to help address one of their own toughest challenges: maintaining a skilled workforce to remain at the forefront of their industry while meeting their customers’ future needs.
Beginning where the need was most urgent—in IT, Manufacturing, and Finance—NI envisioned a companywide workforce planning capability so central to the company’s future that it would become a key Strategic Pillar for growth.
Beyond boom-and-bust workforce cycles
For NI, workforce planning is all about having the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time. They also see it as a breakthrough opportunity to make sure the “right people” begins with their own employees.
By empowering their people to grow with the company, NI aims to build a ready, resilient workforce that can flex quicky to meet an evolving marketplace. Putting their employees first also saves the time, money, and talent wasted in typical boom-and-bust workforce cycles.
Our people and culture are differentiators for us, and it is a shared priority of our Executive Leadership team to put our people first. Boom-and-bust workforce cycles are such a waste of the talent that we worked hard to hire, engage, and retain. We want to help our employees develop their skill sets so they grow with us and are valuable to the organization for the long term. Point B’s pragmatic, agile approach to workforce planning enables this outcome in a better way than anything else I’ve seen. They gained leadership’s understanding and support, which has been invaluable.
Point B brought a holistic and agile approach to workforce planning, fine-tuned to NI’s strategic goals and employee-first culture. The Point B team partnered with NI leadership to look at talent development through a new lens that gives employees visibility into the skills needed for the future, together with the framework to develop them. Working closely with NI’s People team and functional business leaders, the project team brought an agile, iterative process that:
- Provided strategic clarity on the organization’s future state and its current landscape of people skills.
- Identified the demand forecast for people, capabilities, and essential roles.
- Used analytics to prioritize opportunities and address gaps.
- Developed a rapid proof of concept complete with samples, models, tools, and templates for a workforce planning process in IT, Manufacturing and Finance.
- Created a playbook for a fast-paced capability build that includes the tools, resources, and roadmap for implementing the new capability in an iterative, continuous improvement manner.
Workforce Planning: Getting It Right
Point B used the “5 Rights” Workforce Planning Model to ensure that NI has the Shape, Skills, Size, Site, and Spend to plan and deploy the skilled workforce it needs to achieve its business goals. This model is iterative in nature, meaning that workforce planning isn’t once and done; it’s ongoing, allowing leaders to set their workforce plan and adjust it over time.
Point B really came along with us on this journey. They took us through a learning and proof-of-concept process that increased support at the leadership level and enabled us to look at our talent infrastructure in a completely different way. We're taking a holistic view that eliminates the barriers between talent acquisition and talent development.
Chief People Officer and SVP, NI
NI is better able to put its employee-first brand of workforce planning into action and build a workforce that’s ready for what’s next. This includes:
- A new level of leadership understanding and support for workforce planning, which is co-owned by HR and functional business leaders across the company
- A dynamic five-phase framework for workforce planning
- A step-by-step playbook with resources, tools, and templates
- Governance models and roles to fully support workforce planning
- A top-down assessment tool to identify future workforce needs
- An Excel-based data model for detailed workforce requirements
- A dedicated leader and timebound plan for prioritized implementation
Win. Win. Win.
NI’s approach to workforce planning avoids the talent waste typical of boom-and-bust employment cycles that come with rapid change. By giving employees the transparency to see what skill sets will be needed in the future and giving them a path to develop them, everyone wins.
The business saves time and money by developing their employees’ full potential and retaining great people.
Employees are empowered to gain new skills in an organization that values their latent talent and supports their career development.
Customers benefit from partnering with a resourceful, talent-rich company with deep domain expertise that’s ready to respond to—even anticipate—their changing needs.