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Decoding #2 – “GPEC”: pitfalls to avoid

Discover “Decoding”, a mini-series of articles on skills management and the common pitfalls associated with implementing some key HR processes such as: the creation of a jobs and skills repository, the strategic workforce planning (a legal obligation in France known as GPEC), the internal mobility and the skills development plan.
– With the testimonial from Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, ex-HR Director of Stago.



Today, it is clear that in order to stay competitive, organizations must be able to identify the skills they have, those they need to develop, but also the skills they lack and need to acquire to improve their performance tomorrow.


In other words, implementing and conducting a skills management policy has become a real strategic tool for organizations.


While numerous companies and public organizations have initiated steps in this direction, many of them have found out that the HR processes on which they rely prove to be undersized or unsuited to the constant changes in jobs and skills.


In order to understand how to optimize these processes, we continue this mini-series with the process that has become mandatory for most organizations in France: the GPEC (“Gestion Prévisionnelle de l’ Emploi et des Compétences”) a legal obligation regarding companies’ strategic workforce planning. What are the pitfalls frequently encountered by organizations in this context and how can they be avoided?



1. What is GPEC?


The GPEC (“Gestion Prévisionnelle de l’Emploi et des Compétences”) is a forward-looking HR management approach that aligns the structure of the workforce to the evolution of jobs and skills according to the economic, social, technological and regulatory contexts. It has been a legal obligation in France since 2005 for companies with more than 300 employees, and for non-profit employing at least 150 people in France.



2. What are the pitfalls frequently encountered in the context of GPEC?


During the GPEC process, it is not uncommon for organizations to:


Underestimate the time and resources needed to carry out a GPEC under the right conditions:


  • The process is deprioritized: based on Jocelyn Martin’s experience in the health sector, even when GPEC submission dates are known well in advance, most companies start the GPEC assessments about 3 weeks before the deadline, on average. This is not for a lack of will, but because HR teams are overloaded with operational tasks which require immediate attention.


  •  The GPEC operational burden is considerable for HR teams: given the ratio of employees to HR teams in most organizations, GPEC projects create a significant operational burden for HR teams. Mr. Martin gives an example of a company with 1,200 employees having a team of 8 HR professionals conduct the jobs and skills inventory audit; categorizing the 450 internal jobs took 2 weeks of work for the team working at full capacity. The time investment is significant and the work is conducted under high deadline pressure.


 Limit it to the legal considerations:


The value of GPEC projects could be much higher if they were not viewed simply as a legal requirement. Jocelyn Martin confided that, from this point of view, this exercise was very frustrating for him.

The strategic use of GPEC today is very limited. And yet, it is a formidable tool for managing human capital and anticipating tomorrow’s HR issues. Often the Anglo-Saxon equivalent exercise known as Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) carries more value as it is primarily conducted using a business-oriented approach and not as a compulsory legal formality.



3. How to avoid these pitfalls?


The main key to optimizing GPEC consists in relieving the HR teams of the operational burden it generates.

How can this be done? By using a solution that enables them to establish their jobs and skills repository automatically. This repository is valuable resource that enables organizations to:


 Decrease the delivery time of their GPEC project:


Because categorizing each job and keeping track of its skills are the most time-consuming steps in the process.


 Increase relevance:


Because the automatic update of the organization’s jobs and skills data enables the teams in charge of the project to base their decision-making on accurate and up-to-date elements.


 Make GPEC a strategic tool (beyond a mere legal obligation):


Because overcoming operational obstacles allows teams to focus on the forward-looking dimension of GPEC and talent development.



When it comes to skills management projects, digital solutions and AI are powerful allies for organizations. It is for this reason that Boostrs has created an ecosystem of solutions that powers the implementation of key HR processes in record time.


Besides setting up the jobs and skills repositories as part of the GPEC assessment of an organization, Boostrs also allows it to anticipate and measure how the organization’s employees will be impacted by current macrotrends such as task automation and robotization.



Discover Boostrs' Map & Match APIs

Discover the other articles in the mini-series “Decoding” on skills management: