The Complete Guide to Strategic Workforce Planning

Shefali Vasave | February 3, 2022 | 171 views

Introduction: The Importance of the Workforce Planning Process

A workforce plan is a strategic document that an organization creates to identify the skills they require to fulfill their goals. It also outlines the type of training they need to build their skillset, as well as the strategies necessary for managing their current workforce.

A business can use two different strategies when it comes to developing a workforce planning model. One strategy is called the "employee-driven approach". This approach focuses on meeting the needs of employees and developing plans that will help them achieve their career goals.

Another strategy is called "the employer-driven approach". The workforce planning strategy focuses on meeting the needs of employers and developing plans that will help them grow. It supports the employer by helping them determine what they need to achieve their goals.

The workforce planning process is a vital part of a business, and having a solid strategy is imperative to maximize the full potential of your workforce.


The 5 Key Components of a Strategic Workforce Planning Framework

The workforce planning process involves analyzing the current workforce to determine future staffing needs. When managing a workforce, strategic planning is vital, and HR management that covers workforce planning helps organizations increase their efficiency and effectiveness on all levels.


The five key components of a strategic workforce planning framework are:


A Clear Understanding of the Company’s Business Strategy

Without a clear understanding of company goals, the right approach cannot be achieved. When you understand what they should be doing and how to get there, it becomes much easier to make decisions and stay focused. Without a clear strategy, the company might be wasting their time on programs and policies that don’t serve them.


A Workforce Plan That Aligns With the Company’s Business Objectives

To maintain a competitive workforce, it's important to have a plan that not only accommodates the company's needs but also the employee's. One of the most important components of such a plan is being able to communicate and understand the needs and goals of everyone. This will enable employees to grow and establish themselves as key contributors to their respective positions.

For instance, food giant Tesco has a seven-part framework that covers a comprehensive description of the skills and behaviors required for every job at all levels. This gives the company an easy starting point for analysis and recruitment of the right skills and people.


An HR Plan that Supports the Company’s Business Objectives

A well-thought-out HR plan is the backbone of any company's business objectives. It shapes the company's culture, sets hiring standards, and helps retain talent. A workforce plan can't be successful without effective communication and transparency between management and staff.


Consistent Communication with All Stakeholders

For a company to succeed, there needs to be a constant flow of communication between all stakeholders. This includes employees, managers, clients, and suppliers. For instance, establishing lines of communications to share information like meetings, newsletters, and Q&A sessions will help keep employees invested in the growth of the company. Hilton, the leading hotel chain acquired the ‘OpenCompany’ status on Glassdoor to demonstrate its commitment to transparency to potential candidates.


Regular Monitoring and Evaluation of Performance

Monitoring and evaluation of performance is a good way to improve understanding of the processes and outcomes in the workplace. It can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses and to ensure that people are rewarded fairly for their efforts. HR analytics and workforce analytics can be used to keep track of target KPIs and measure the effectiveness of HR initiatives against them.

“No two employers have the same talent goals, we philosophically believe the right eco-system for one organization may not be right for the next.”

- Scot Marcotte, Chief Technology Officer at Buck 


Critical Factors for Successful Workforce Planning

Successful workforce planning is a matter of getting a few aspects right. Here are the three factors you need to focus on to make your workforce planning efficient.


Business Strategy

It is important to have a strategy that will help you grow your company. You need to have a plan that includes guidelines on how to hire the right talent, what type of talent you are looking for, and how much you are willing to spend on hiring this talent. For instance, Salesforce has an exceptional employee experience. The tech giant onboards over 4,000 hires every year and delivers a great experience by providing new hires with bootcamps and online learning resources to acquaint them quickly.


HR Metrics

You should have metrics in place that will help you measure  success as well as understand areas where your company needs improvement. This way, you can find out if your hiring process or retention strategies are working or are ineffective. Some metrics to map include cost-per-hire, recruitment spending, time to fill vacancies, employee turnover, and employee performance.


Employee Retention Strategies

Employee retention is an essential factor for successful workforce planning because it ensures that employees stay with your company for a long time and contribute their skills and knowledge.

Conclusion- Why Does Successful Workforce Planning Matter?

It is important to develop the right mix of people to suit the needs of the company. A company's workforce planning strategy should be aligned with its overall business strategy. It should be able to accurately identify the skill gaps in your workforce. Workforce planning also helps you identify potential risks and opportunities for your organization. In addition, it helps you build a future-ready workforce with the right skills to meet your business needs. Strategic workforce planning can help you build a more agile team that can adapt quickly to change and take on new opportunities as they come.

A successful workforce planning strategy will help organizations to take proactive steps towards growth, while at the same time ensuring that they are not compromising on their values or competitive advantages.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are some ways to implement a workforce plan?

Some companies use an approach called “workforce optimization” which involves using technology like data analytics to understand what skills they need in their workforce. Using this information they create a plan that will meet those needs in the future.


What is a strategic workforce planning approach?

Dividing the workforce into three categories: core, contingent, and talent is an effective strategy to consider. The core group consists of employees who have been with the company for a long time and are deemed irreplaceable. Contingent workers work on a contract basis and can be replaced, if necessary. Talent is made up of those employees who are not as skilled as the core group but still have valuable skills.

How do I know if my company needs a workforce plan?

A company should consider developing a workforce plan when:
  • It is experiencing rapid growth in its business and workforce
  • It is in an industry with low employee turnover
  • It wants to avoid hiring in a way that may be discriminatory, inefficient, or illegal

Spotlight

The Larko Group

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