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Workforce Planning: Building a Dream Team

5 min read
Workforce Planning

In a post-covid economy, employees have unprecedented options. Turnover is up, retention is down, and workforce planning is more necessary than ever. Recruiting managers are looking for new ways to appeal to diverse talent pools and maintain a quality workforce. But what is the best way to build a successful team?

Allocating talent resources in the best way possible is key! For this reason and so many others, workforce planning should be a part of any successful business strategy.

Workforce planning is an essential part of talent management and the HR planning process.  This is not to be confused with people analytics, a data-driven technique for HR Management. While people analytics focuses on how interpersonal relationships can drive business outcomes, strategic workforce planning is more preoccupied with individual employee development.

This means that decisions are made for the long haul.  In this blog post, you will find everything you need to know about workforce planning.

What is Workforce Planning?

Workforce planning means that companies can evaluate their resources, goals, and formulate strategies that fulfill their objectives.  In other words, looking at the company’s long-term goals and finding the right people for the right jobs.

Recruiters are well aware that human capital is perhaps the most valuable resource to consider! Good planning matches recruiting objectives to the company’s objectives.  Essentially, it follows the logic of demand and supply.

Like other kinds of human resource planning, workforce planning is a process that can be broken down and easily accomplished. Analyses of the company’s situation and the market trends are crucial to developing a good business plan.  So, what are the steps needed to move forward?

5 Steps in Strategic Workforce Planning

To create the best possible strategic plan, understanding your current situation and future aspirations are top priorities.  Following the principles outlined by the NIH Office of Human Resources,  these 5 steps can help achieve your company’s target.

1. Analyze your Current Workforce

Before planning for the future, it’s essential to assess what you already have!  It’s important to think about the number of employees and their costs and individual skillsets.  During this phase, the potential growth and development of employees should be evaluated.

2. Envision a Future Workforce

What will your business look like in the next 3-5 years? Draw up a sketch of your goals using the same markers mentioned above.  The size, cost, and performance of your organization should be given due consideration.

3. See What’s Missing

How does your current situation compare to the long-term goals of the company? Overlay the present and future evaluations to find the holes in-between. Look for existing skill gaps and take note of your observations.

4. Mend the Gaps

Implementing recruitment strategies can help hr managers to find potential employees. Follow your observations from the previous step to find solutions.  If needed, make adjustments to the number of people on your team or train and develop the skills of existing employees. Weigh out the pros and cons of internal and external recruitment.

5. Check Your Progress

How have the changes impacted your company’s success? Keep a record of differences, both positive and negative.  Use employee performance tracking software to measure the progress of new and existing employees

Optimizing Your Team: The Pitfalls of Poor Planning

Strategic workforce planning is about taking a few steps back to see the big picture.  The business cycle is indeed a cycle that has its ups and downs. Awareness of the patterns and rhythms will prevent the downs from becoming future pitfalls.

Many HR managers fall into the trap of reacting to the ebb and flow of business cycles.  Rather than allowing the market to dictate their actions, they should give space for oscillation.  Foresight and scenario planning allows HR managers to cultivate a solid, yet flexible team. Planting future seeds will help the company weather future storms!

To avoid future complications, it’s important to recognize the consequences of inadequate planning. Understanding the symptoms will help to create a procedure that fits your specific needs.  Are any of the following impeding your business?

  • Understaffing and overstaffing- Both excessive and insufficient hires present unique dilemmas.  Too many workers can lead to excessive costs and unexpected layoffs. Too few can exacerbate company resources, increase turnover rates, and limit growth potential. Look for balance when determining the team’s size.
  • Sudden hirings and cutbacks- Catch problems early, it will help to reduce drastic changes from taking place. Unwanted surprises and panic-driven decisions should be avoided at all costs. Preventing problems altogether will give you control instead of chaos.
  • Short-term and long-term losses- Turnovers and layoffs can be expensive consequences of rapid changes to the company culture.  To reduce unnecessary spending, it is best to maintain stability and good morale in the workplace.
  • Missed opportunities- Perhaps your current strategy is blocking you from exciting new prospects.  Reactive models can be all-consuming and point away from the expansion that you want to see.  You don’t want to let poor planning models be the driving force behind your decisions.
  • Weakened reputation- Poor planning can cause a slew of inconsistencies that will inevitably harm the company’s image.  To build credibility, the current and potential workforce needs to feel confident about the company’s strong underlying structure.

Solutions and Strategies for Effective Talent Management

Avoiding problems is easier if you are aware of all possible strategic actions. Dodge the pitfalls mentioned above with alternate possibilities. Here are some ideas to help you design a better workforce plan.

  • Human design-  Everyone has unique strengths and contributes differently to a team. Human design is about tapping into and trajecting those capacities in the best way possible.
  • Succession planning- Thinking ahead for retirements and leaves can really pay off.  Succession planning is typically used to replace executives, but it is gaining popularity for other positions as well.
  • Employee Development- Training can help to equip and energize your existing workforce. It is important to track your employees’ training and progress as they are updating their skillsets.

applicant tracking

What are the Best Human Resource Planning Tools?

Much of this responsibility falls into the hands of HR professionals in charge of managing and recruiting new employees.  However, workforce planning does not need to be a complicated process.  Here are some tools to help you come up with the best possible workforce strategy:

  • Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)-  Consider using recruitment software to help you optimize your hiring process.  It will help to improve the company’s brand image and to organize the hiring process.  Recruiting, selecting, and onboarding new employees will become easier and smoother with ATS.
  • Draw your ideas- Charts and sketches can provide a visual comparison of the current workforce and the company’s business goals.  To see the complete picture, sometimes it’s necessary to literally illustrate.
  • Evaluate compensation and benefits- Overpaying and underpaying employees can be problematic for recruitment and retention.  Think about alternative benefits, and stock options to determine if your pay strategy is coherent with your plan.
  • Imagine potential scenarios- If you imagined the pandemic five years ago, what decisions would you have made? Hypothesize about future legal changes, natural disasters, and other unexpected events that may come your way.  Back-up strategies will save everyone stress in times of uncertainty.
  • Facilitate onboarding and offboarding- Integrating new team members into any team quickly will increase satisfaction and productivity.  Positive employee engagement is essential to improving the company’s image.  Onboarding and offboarding management tools guarantee efficiency and accuracy.

With adequate planning, you can make sure to get the most out of your workforce. Whether this means hiring new talent, upskilling and empowering current employees, or restructuring a growing team, it’s important to leverage workforce planning to see the best possible results.

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