Workforce planning. We all like to do strategic HR, but not everyone likes all the admin needed for managing strategic workforce planning. Here’s why you should do it anyway, and also why it is the heart of the employee lifecycle.
Do you wonder what’s it all about? Well, it’s kind of what it sounds like: analytical planning and forecasting of the business’ talent demand over time. Basically, it’s about making sure that you will be able to have the people on board when you need them. It’s about how to afford them, find them, and have them ready in time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up ready to scale or a large enterprise. You still have the same reasons for doing that planning.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up ready to scale or a large enterprise. You still have the same reasons for doing that planning.
1. You will make more money
Don’t guess when you need those resources. Instead, plan carefully and in close dialogue with the business to make sure that you have the right resources in the right place exactly when you need them. Through being in control of your resources, you will also make sure that the production will be on pace. When everyone knows what they can expect from each other, you build trust in the organization and won’t miss important business opportunities.
2. Know when and how the costs hit you
Hiring people costs, no matter if it’s organic growth or backfills. The processes have a direct cost themselves, as well as the costs that come when an employee is on board. If you run a service or competence intense business, this is likely one of the largest posts in the budget. Why not have that up to date to keep your investors happy? To succeed as a start-up, it’s essential to fully understand your runway in various scenarios to maximize your output during a limited time. Connecting your burn rate with a clear understanding of what to expect from the talent market enables you to do this. Hence workforce planning plays an essential part in planning things right.
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3. Come together as one
Permanents, temporary employees, and consultants are all a part of your workforce. All of them drive costs, but also give opportunities. To have a business that works at the same pace you need a holistic approach to staffing. You cannot have one part of the business struggling with a half-staffed team of employees, while another part is sprinting with help from contractors. Being on top of the contractor needs will give you a better position in purchasing, but will also make your talent acquisition team a better partner when they have the full picture.
4. Plan for the best, expect the worst and prepare for fast turns
The first and most important step when doing your workforce plan is making sure that your own demand and the supply on the market is in balance. By knowing the size and quality of your talent pools, you can make sure to design a realistic plan. And remember, don’t plan to be rigid, do it to have a steady course when the crisis comes. One part of planning is sketching what to do when things are not going your way. Sure, you want five data scientists to Q3, but what will you do if you only find two? By thinking in advance, you will be able to cope fast when the world changes, instead of getting stuck in too detailed and time-consuming discussions.
5. How would you else prioritize your strategic HR initiatives?
Having a plan of the competence needed for the coming years will tell you where to direct your efforts, both strategic and operational. For example, knowing what competencies (and at what seniority level) you need will give you guidance when phrasing your employer branding strategy. It will help you target the right people, instead of by default going for young professionals from top universities. From an operational perspective, it will help your talent acquisition team to prioritize their daily work when there is an established plan approved by the management. Last but not least, how will you be able to say anything about how it’s going if you cannot connect hiring or turnover figures to the segments that are your top priority?
Sketching your workforce needs is not as simple as it sounds. You’ll need to do your analysis, coordinate with senior management, and find systems that can support your process. However, once you’re there it will give you huge benefits of being able to have a company that’s running at the same pace and in the right direction.
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