Business leaders consistently state that a top concern is the ability to attract and retain a workforce that can meet its current demands and is poised to meet future demands as they arise.
Workforce planning is a process that helps leaders approach their human resources management challenges with a proactive, forward-thinking, and multi-disciplined strategy that aligns the company’s workforce directly to its strategic priorities and mission.
Organizations that periodically analyze their workforce needs (number of employees, skills, and quality) are positioned for success. Strategic workforce planning helps establish the best mix of experience, knowledge, and skills and get the right people in the right place at the right time. The SWP process helps pinpoint areas of concern and creates targeted action plans to ensure success.
1. Understand the business & strategy
Why does your company exist? What products or services do you deliver? How do you define success? How do you plan to reach your goals? Uncover what makes your business and your vision for the future. Determine the overarching strategy that will drive your company to success.
2. Review current workforce
Take a look beneath the surface of your employees and jobs they currently perform and discover the full scope of skills, abilities, and desires of the individuals. Often people have talents that are unnoticed in their current roles but may be valuable to the company’s growth and to their own career growth.
3. Identify future workforce needs
Keeping your strategy, changes in technology, and the business environment in mind, how will your workforce keep up with customer demands? What new tasks, jobs, or roles will be needed that you don’t currently have? What current tasks, jobs, or roles will become obsolete or redundant?
4. Develop a plan to build, borrow or buy
With your new understanding of where you are going, what you have, and what you need look for the gaps. Develop a plan that estimates the timing for increasing staff. Utilize those hidden talents to Build an adaptable workforce. Borrow contingent workers to supplement during peak seasons or while determining the most effective staffing levels. Buy (or hire) new employees to add needed talents for the long-term.
5. Evaluate progress
Keep your plan close at hand as implementation begins and milestones are achieved. Make tweaks to the plan as the business grows and the environment changes. Periodically take a brief look back to understand the variations. Then keep looking ahead to stay on the course to successful business growth with a workforce that is ready and able at each step.
Use this outline to identify your company’s workforce requirements and develop a plan to get the right people (with the right skills and experience) in the right place at the right time. By applying practical methods your business will achieve new heights.
Susan is the President of forWord Connections, LLC. You can reach her at forWordConnections@gmail.com.