What’s involved in effective workforce planning?

What’s involved in effective workforce planning?

Workforce planning is far more complex and strategic than back-filling roles when an employee leaves or as the need arises. Ideally, the HR and Recruitment teams need to be involved in strategic business growth initiatives in order to align workforce planning to long-term business goals, according to Hudson RPO. Moreover, the process needs to be ongoing and dynamic, as business goals are always changing due to an ever-changing micro and macro environment. It’s important that HR teams shift from operating as a support function within the business into a more strategic model.
According to a survey conducted among members of The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), 80 per cent consider themselves strategic partners within the business. Executive Director of IPMA-HR Neil Reichenberg stated that workforce planning should become a much higher priority for HR. “[Workforce planning] represents an opportunity and challenge for human resources professionals to undertake a leadership role in assisting their organisations”, he said.

So what does effective workforce planning involve?

1. Commitment
HR need to have buy-in from the CEO and Senior Levels of Management and need to be considered strategic partners in developing the workforce planning strategy.

2. Ownership
Workforce planning should not be considered an HR Initiative – it needs to be owned by the business as it is tied to business strategy

3. Proactive recruitment
Moving from reactive to proactive recruitment is one of the pivotal steps in developing the workforce planning strategy

4. Internal and external outlook
Quite often there is a wealth of internal skills that are sadly overlooked when it comes to workforce planning.

5. Layered approach
A sophisticated workforce planning strategy involves cross-skilling employees through secondments to other teams, offering opportunities of internal movement when deemed appropriate. Succession planning and professional development are also important considerations to ensure the workforce planning strategy is well-developed.

6. Understanding it’s more than just the numbers
Spreadsheets will tell you some things about a business, but if you really want to understand the issues at the heart of an organisation, you need to develop relationships across the business and put time into speaking with employees at different levels to understand their focus and concerns.

Should you require support with workforce planning within your business, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.