Workforce planning is critical to success as a company doesn’t want to suffer from, as CEB/Gartner call it, a weak bench.
Here are four simple steps for effective workforce planning:
Review the talent available
What’s your pipeline?
Find the skill gaps
Fix the skill gaps
WHAT TALENT DO YOU HAVE (NOT JUST ARE THEY AVAILABLE)?
When reviewing what capacity you have, availability is a core consideration but also look to map your needs against the work typically undertaken; use data to analyse this. Then the future development requirements of the company can be informed when missing skill is highlighted during this process and development plans can be true growth plans rather than simple box-ticking exercises; this can be especially important if you are about to lose talent - is it being backfilled appropriately? This should ensure a healthy bench and avoid the need for expensive freelancers. Cost can be a factor here but the employee should be at the centre of the conversation.
Now you know the skills and experience you use the most you can check for synergy to the upcoming pipeline and if said pipeline is working to the business objectives overall (for example is the more profitable work not occurring as frequently as desired and does the sales department need to adapt to that).
Essentially your workforce should be mapped against upcoming work to highlight if:
People are mapped to the right projects based on skill and desire for the work
There are skill gaps that need to be filled and if there is time to fill them
This means any ad hoc changes can be adapted to easier as you’ll know who does and doesn’t have the capacity for it.
Now you’ve assigned the workforce to the pipeline, which skills are surplus to requirements (and why) and what skill, necessary to complete the work effectively, is missing? Ensure you’ve discovered these well ahead of time.
FIXING THE GAPS (AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITORS)
HR/talent management can be kept in the loop so when skill gaps do arise they know if there’s time to either develop the workforce internally, saving cost and increasing retention, or come to a richer talent pool as they’ve been informed ahead of time.
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