Workforce Planning is the single best way to not only drive your talent strategy but also to support your overall business strategy. Your workforce planning strategy should not exist unless it is aligned with and supporting your overall business strategy. Building a Workforce Plan, as I have shared before, takes time, effort and knowledge. A common concern is its complexity. Is Workforce Planning Too Complex?
Let’s answer that question…
First, a quick review. Workforce Planning is nothing more than proactive planning that helps ensure:
You have the right number of people
They have the right Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, experiences, and behaviors
You have them in the right location
They are present at the right time
The cost is appropriate for your size, industry, and budget.
Your Workforce Plan can be as complex or as simple as you wish. I always recommend that those embarking on a workforce Plan start small, especially if you are a large organization with hundreds or thousands of employees. You may wish to start with a single workgroup, division or location. Doing this will help you not only develop the knowledge and skills necessary to continue the process throughout the organization but also to understand the unique challenges you will face in your business. A simple approach that I use follows.
- Determining a starting point will be driven by your business strategy. Some will start with a small group only because it’s small. Multi-site organizations may start with a local site because it is local. Others will determine which group they start with because of its importance to the overall strategy of the business. I recommend the latter approach; follow your strategy.
- Conduct the necessary analysis to understand the current state of the group you’ve selected. Included in this analysis are:
- Demographics (age, gender skills, education, etc.)
- Turnover patterns and trends
- Projected retirements and exits
- Projected promotions out of or into the group
- Using your business strategy, you will want to determine the future needs of this group. For example;
- Is the group growing or declining in need or value?
- Is new technology being acquired that will change how and where they work?
- How good are their current skills (competencies) and what future skill needs can be predicted or forecasted, etc?
Each group will be unique, based on your strategy and business.
- Fill the gaps. In step 3, you identified current and future needs in terms of skill and headcount. This is where you determine what those gaps are.
- Develop Your Action Plans. Your action plans are how you will move forward. For example:
- Will you recruit skilled workers, recruit and develop workers, develop existing workers or completely outsource the skill requirements to an outside vendor or provider?
- What will this cost, and how will you budget for it?
- Will the process involve new ways of rewarding and compensating employees? What training resources will you need?
- How will you measure your plan?
The list will be as long as necessary. The more detail you have, the better the plan; however, do not get caught up by minutiae.
The final step is, of course, to Execute your plan. Awhile doing so you monitor those things you’ve decided to measure and make adjustments as the data tells you to.
Is Workforce Planning Too Complex? That is up to you, you can make your process simple or complex. The choice is yours.
The Series so Far: