What is Workforce Planning?
Workforce planning is the process of continuous optimization that helps an organization to align its goals and needs with that of its workforce. It recruits, retains and thus ensures access to the required current and future human resources which are needed for meeting organizational objectives.
In simple words, an effective workforce planning process identifies and fills the workforce gaps that the company currently has and the one it may cost-effectively require in the future. It is considered critical for a company as it helps in meeting both long term and short term business goals.
How Does Workforce Planning Work?
Workforce planning is all about hiring and placing the right people with the right skills in the right job profile for the betterment of the company as well as the workforce. The planning puts its focus on five elements of the workforce. These are
- Size: The number of people a company need to fulfil the business needs?
- Type: What type of people does the company need for instance is it looking for a high-quality talent with technical training or someone to work in marketing?
- Experience: What is the employee experience that the company will need? Should he already have the experience to work on an important project or the organization is going to provide the training to a fresh employee?
- Knowledge: It is important to know about the knowledge that the talent has before employing them
- Skills: Skills is the working knowledge that will aid the talent in doing his work. An organization needs to know that the people it is hiring has the right skills to complete their work effectively
Why Is Workforce Planning Important?
The importance of workforce planning is as follows-
1. Fill demand and supply gaps
2. Helps in recruitment
Organizations are aware of its current and future needs and this is why it is a boon during the recruitment process for the employees. Managers can plan it properly and easily get potential hires for specific roles based on the recruitment predictions.
3. Managing employee turnover
Workforce planning is important for organizations, as it aids them in managing employee turnover for example if the talent is on the verge of retiring then the company will be prepared for it beforehand
4. Boost productivity and efficiency
The importance of workforce planning is that it becomes easy for a company to increase productivity and efficiency levels
5. Avoid misalignment
Workforce planning is important as it helps to avoid misalignment issues in a company
6. Improving KPIs
Preparing for any consequences
- As workforce planning is about anticipating future needs it can aid the company is preparing for potential or unexpected problems
Steps to optimize workforce planning
In a business environment, it is important to have an effective workforce planning process in motion to meet current and future workforce needs. An organization must align talent management strategy with the overall business strategy and take the following strategic workforce planning steps to optimize the process.
1. Consider the long term organizational goals
Consider the long term organizational goals if you are looking for strategic workforce planning steps to optimize the process. What does the organization want to achieve, what are its short term and long term goals and what does it need in terms of human resources to achieve its business goal are some important questions that need to be answered in this step. You need to be sure that your workforce is capable of delivering its promises. Take all the stakeholders on board like people from operations, finance, human resources and line managers before starting an effective planning strategy.
2. Workforce / Supply analysis
Look at your current workforce and answer some important questions like what people and skills do the company boast of in the current scenario, is the talent available to meet organization’s current job needs, what are the strengths of the current team and does the workforce have talent that is going to retire soon. Workforce analytics or talent analytics can prove a tremendous help in gaining important insights about human resources like age demographics, their evolution and their seniority profile.
Workforce analysis must be in many areas like quality and quantity if you are looking for strategic workforce planning steps to optimize the process. For workforce quality analysis assess the current performance levels with questions like who are the highest performers in their job and their future potential and for workforce quantity analysis, look at new employees, internal promotions and employee turnover. Supply analysis identifies factors that will aid in sourcing the right talent that will prove a perfect fit for the company.
3. Find future skills gaps
Know what are the future needs and competencies to achieve workload changes. There should be a clear understanding of the skills, number and experience of the current workforce to move and plan for the future. Take help of skills gap analysis to know when some employees are going to retire to fill in that gap through new hiring.
Is the organization going to hire new talent or provide training to the existing employees or a combination of both should be taken into consideration? Also, look at the skills gap that needs to be filled because of technological developments and global digitalization if you are looking for strategic workforce planning steps to optimize the process.
4. Prepare for different scenarios
Look at all the different and unexpected scenarios if you are looking for strategic workforce planning step to optimize the process. Being prepared for an unexpected future is an important workforce plan that comes under the business strategy. Look at situations like global economic slowdown, change in the financial condition of the company and automation of jobs to handle options like retiring, attrition and re-skilling to avoid any hassles in the future.
5. Ask for external advice
Workforce planning is not a simple domain and should not be taken lightly. The workforce planning team has to consider innumerable factors before coming up with a perfect plan. Ask for external advice if you are looking for strategic workforce planning step to optimize the process. The organization can hire an external consultant who will provide valuable tips, advice and support to the existing team to keep their planning process up-to-date.
6. Keep in touch with company culture
The company culture is always evolving and it is important to keep up with it at all times. The demand for skills, technology, training and experience in future will no doubt change with time but it becomes necessary to keep in touch with company culture as it has a direct impact on corporate value if you are looking for strategic workforce planning steps to optimize the process. Know about the core values that you want to take with you and how to use it in the planning process successfully.
7. Workforce Planning Action Plan and Solution Implementation
This step in planning workforce involves creating a solid workforce plan. Take help of workforce planning strategies and workforce planning tactics to close the gap between current and future goals, identify workforce requirements to achieve business goals, improve performance through strategies like training and retraining and outlining financial and workforce resources to improve proficiency and competence.
8. Monitor, evaluate and adapt your Workforce Planning Plan
Your strategic workforce planning is completed by this time but not the steps that you should still take. Measure performance and growth and check it against milestones. Address issues at the right time. Verify workforce gaps have been addressed, metrics analysis is completed trends and changes are being tracked and there are timeframes in motion for each metrics that have been set.
This is the time to monitor and adapt to suit the changing business needs based on various elements like customers, clients, workforce, technology and the most important business environment. Remember an adaptable and data-driven scenario planning model is the key to fill future workforce demand gaps with the right people and right talent management.
Human resource is an integral part of a company and there should be a proper workforce planning team in place to manage current and future business need. It is a fact that a sound plan, company-wide collaboration with internal employees and the help of an external consultant if required will aid to achieve the highest productivity and efficiency level in a business.