Our working environment is changing, from 30 years ago – even 10 years ago – to now. How we operate in business is barely recognisable. Technology is changing how we do things. Innovation is creating never before seen jobs. The entrepreneur movement has radically shifted the opportunities available to each and every person.
As a result Strategic Workforce Planning has moved from the not important basket to must do in a matter of years. Whether that represents a significant national business strategy for large corporations or a simple knowing of how to scale for the local entrepreneur. Undeniably, workforce planning has woven itself into normal business practice.
Those that have been workforce planning are ahead of the curve while, those that haven’t are starting struggle to keep up with the ever rapidly evolving business landscape.
“The Workforce Planning Imperative” by Julie Sloan describes Strategic Workforce Planning as the continued process that measures business needs and priorities with its workforce. Making sure that:
- The business can meet service levels (aka Do its job)
- The business will achieve its goals (aka follow the business plan)
Would you agree, that in order for a business to run smoothly, it needs a plan?
That’s what strategic workforce planning is – a game plan that aligns to the business plan. It says, you want to achieve X they you’ll need Y resources by Z time.
When you have the right skills in the right place, long-term objectives business objectives are met more readily and your company will see more successful results. Workforce planning is the difference between being proactive and reactive.
So if you’re sick of being in the first and you want to be in the flow. Here are some reasons why implementing strategic workforce planning is important for your company.
- What projects are in the pipeline?
- How long will your projects last?
- Where are your resources allocated?
- Does your business have any skill gaps?
- What are the expected labour costs?
- How often are you scrambling last minute to meet your contractual obligations?
Business should always be scoping out the next steps and future opportunities (and in some cases obligations). Much like identifying current needs, forecasting involves acknowledging where the business is at now and where it’s heading. By encouraging your team to look towards the future, you will be able to maximise efficiency and future proof your business.
Problem solving and prevention
Being prepared ahead of time will always reduce conflict or tension in business. By making sure your team are not over-capacity or under-capacity you can maximise the capability of your available resources.
Great employees can be hard to come by. Without the opportunity to progress, you run the risk of losing talent that’s critical to your business. Supporting your team in their career pathway is supporting your business to grow with capable people in the right roles that understand your business. Business growth and your team growth work hand in hand.
Through strategic workforce planning, you’re able to identify key roles that need to be filled and decide which employees should be moving up in their positions. It’s amazing to see the return on investment when business fully supports their talent in building their skills and career pathway.
Brand perception is everything. Especially if your business relies on word of mouth or actively tenders for jobs. Brand and reputation is a huge factor customers use when deciding to work with you.
If you’re constantly behind the eight-ball, how does that impact how you work? The level of service clients get? And, ultimately what your customers say about your brand.
Workforce planning is a key step in making sure you’re ahead of the game and THAT will impact your reputation as an Employer and a service provider.