The 5 Critical Steps of Workforce Planning
Workforce planning is an important tool in your talent strategy, but in times of economic uncertainty, much like the one we’re in now, workforce planning becomes even more critical to keep your business on track. The tools used during workforce planning can help you do two things:
- Analyze your current talent capabilities
- Determine your future talent needs
Workforce planning tools use key metrics and data-driven insights to identify the gaps between what an organization can accomplish with the talent they currently have, versus what the organization needs in order to accomplish their goals. In order to workforce plan effectively, a 5-step process is necessary:
- Map out your organizational strategy
- Assess your talent
- Create dashboards to stay on track with key metrics
- Review the compensation and benefits packages you have in place
- Maintain your plan for every scenario.
1. Map Your Strategy
Before you can make any decisions about what your organization needs, you need to first evaluate your company’s larger strategy and goals. Your workforce planning strategy needs to map out four key elements:
- What is happening in your market — is your busy season coming up, what products do you plan to release, and what are your competitors doing?
- What are your organizational goals?
- How will they affect your workforce?
- What does your department need to do in order to find, train, develop, and motivate your talent to achieve those goals?
2. Assess Your Current Talent
Once you’ve aligned your talent strategy with organizational goals, the next key step is obtaining a clear vision of the capabilities of your current talent. What is your current headcount capacity and are they allocated in the right places? What skills do you have, and where are your A Players? Who can you see becoming an A Player? Work with department heads to examine current talent performance and current talent potential in order to identify any potential gaps in your talent that will need to be filled in the near future. For example, if your sales goals include signing on 500 new customers, do you have a plan to eventually hire or promote enough downstream talent to support the needs of those new clients?
In conjunction with production metrics, charting your talent along a 9-box grid matrix helps visualize your talent capabilities along an axis of high and low performance versus high and low potential. Doing so allows you to see how much and what kind of talent you have in order to identify those who are at risk of leaving the company or A Players who may be promoted soon, for example. This provides the opportunity to take the appropriate steps to retain top talent or plan for what happens should you lose an employee.
3. Build Real-Time Dashboards
Consistently updated dashboards are extremely effective tools for visualizing your current workforce capabilities. Use the data-driven insights and key metrics that reveal the overall state of your workforce. Set up dashboards, like the ones made simple in ClearCompany Workforce Planning and Analytics.
Dashboards include reporting in key areas like:
- People Analytics — insights and metrics on individual and organizational performance from actual talent data
- Agile Headcounting Forecast — model various growth and consolidation scenarios to see a visual representation of budget and headcount needs
- Device & Equipment Management — centralized view of where equipment is, who needs what, and future purchasing needs
- HR & Finance Collaboration — visualize costs and work together to create budgeting and hiring plans
By leveraging your current talent analytics, you can highlight key insights for performance, staff levels, diversity, and other targets you aim to achieve.
4. Review The Compensation & Benefits You Provide
Another key metric to review is your compensation and benefit data. This data is highly structured and accurate, and it directly affects your financial outcome and bottom line. Not only do you need to have a good grasp on what you can and cannot afford as you create your desired budget (or see what you can do within the budget you’ve been given), but it provides an opportunity to review what you’re paying employees as they fall on the performance matrix.
This data can help you spot expensive employees who aren’t performing to standard and discover high-performing employees who are being underpaid. These are insights you can act on, and they may affect your hiring decisions.
Additionally, if the cost of providing benefits will be increasing for your company this year, or if you expect to do cost of living adjustments, make sure those are incorporated on a per-head basis so that there are no surprises later in the year.
You can also compare the data you find to current job market and labor statistics. Are you competitive? Does the market expectation affect what you can afford to bring on based on your budget? These questions can help add further detail to your workforce planning.
5. Maintain Your Plan
Beyond preparing for extreme scenarios like a pandemic, what’s more likely is that you’ll see scenarios like a round of venture capital funding, a bout of unusually high turnover, a product flop or wild success, or a game-changing innovation. Having a system and process in place to plan for and adapt to any scenario is key to establishing effective workforce planning, maintaining business continuity, and fortifying the future success of your organization.
To do this, make sure that your workforce plan isn’t just set at the beginning of the year and then forgotten about. Be sure to have a system in place that allows you to continually leverage your people data to align your talent with your business needs.
Workforce planning requires a broad suite of tools that can look across many metrics yet determine highly specific needs. The ClearCompany Workforce Planning and Analytics solution has robust capabilities in one centralized location for easy decision making support. To learn more about the ways ClearCompany can help you find the answers to your important pressing workforce planning needs, reach out to our experts today to schedule a free demo.
This article was originally published on the ClearCompany blog and was written by Sara Pollock.