Even the most talented people and the brightest minds need the support of the best human talent to bring their ideas to life and turn them into reality. For this, you not only need a solid workforce, but also a plan that allows you to build the path to make everything more viable.
Workforce Planning will allow organizations to have the right staff with the right skills and with the necessary support to achieve the objectives that have been established. It’s about hiring and deploying the right human talent so that everything runs smoothly.
Workforce Planning takes care of analyzing the current workforce and determining what their future needs are. It is also in charge of identifying the gaps between their current position and where they want to go.
Once the two previous steps have been fulfilled, solutions are designed and implemented to achieve objectives, fulfilling its strategic plan through the appropriate use of talent.
If we had to give a more technical definition of what Workforce Planning is, we could use that of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a professional association for human resource management professionals based in London, that says that it is “a process of analyzing the current workforce, determining future workforce needs, identifying the gap between the present and the future, and implementing solutions so that an organization can accomplish its mission, goals, and strategic plan “.
The main goal of a good Workforce Plan is to hire the right staff at the right time in an orderly manner. For this, it is necessary to comply with three fundamental elements so that everything goes as it should.
- Hire the necessary amount of staff: We do not want to exceed expenses. If we hire more staff than we really need, we could be doing very great damage to the organization at the cost level. But the same can happen if we hire fewer staff, in which case we could not meet the objectives set and, therefore, experience a drop in the company’s income.
- Hire the right staff: It is necessary to be clear about what type of person we want to hire, to be aware of the skills we need them to have and even the personality they should have. All this with a view not only to fulfill the work for which they are being hired, but also to replace in the future the organization’s management leaders when they retire.
- Hire at the right time: It is important to be clear about the objectives that we want to achieve and what is the work that is going to be done. Once both are known, the personnel is hired. Doing it before or after this task will result in the company losing money.
In order to successfully approach and implement a Workforce Plan, it is necessary to follow a series of steps that guarantee the correct functioning of the complex gear that the workforce of an organization represents. For this it is important that companies follow a series of steps or procedures.
First, it is important to establish the main goals of what the organization wants to achieve (launch a new product, increase market share, etc.) in order to know what skills the new staff should have for this task.
Although it can be a bit intimidating, the recommendation is that the management team be involved to listen to their ideas and comments in order to establish the indicated objectives.
It is also important that everyone is clear about what those goals will be. Be very specific. It is not the same to say that in the coming months we plan to launch a product, to say that in the coming months we plan to launch an energy drink with different flavors for the people between 18 and 30 years who exercise outdoors. However, it is important not to be so specific as the objectives could change as planning progresses.
Secondly, it is necessary to identify what are the needs that the project will require, and then to know what are the skills that the personnel to be hired must have. For example, if you need someone who specializes in marketing, the recommendation is to do a broad search and then determine if that person should have certain additional skills, such as digital marketing, email marketing, SEO, etc.
An excellent way to find out what are the skills that the people to be hired should have is by consulting with the organization’s management team. They can help identify those characteristics and qualities. In addition, it could even be feasible that the person who was believed necessary to meet the objectives, may not be so essential.
The third step would be to carry out an audit within the organization to see if it already has the right personnel to meet the objectives that have been set. In many cases, it is not necessary to hire new people, but to make adjustments within the company to form new teams.
To fully comply with the previous step, it is important to turn to the management team again. They can report their workforce’s status, what skills they have, what projects they are working on, what their turnover rate is, if they are working at 100% capacity, or if they have enough staff to continue working without a few people.
Once this information is available, it is important to meet with the stakeholders to inform them of the results of the audit and to ask them what would happen if personnel movements are made within the organization. Knowing all these details will make it easier to develop a final plan.
The fourth step is precisely that final plan. Once you know your goals, needs, and staff, you can start building your Workforce Plan.
It should identify the areas in which they will need certain skills, as well as establish which new personnel will enter the organization or which will be changed from other departments, when and what the cost will be.
The people in charge of its development must not only start from a top-level, but must turn again to the division managers so that, based on the superior plan, they elaborate their own plans in detail.
Turnover rates, skill set adjustments and a gap between the moment the hiring process begins and the moment someone starts working in the organization, are other points that must be taken in consideration when preparing the plan, so it is important to know from the management team what those factors are to include them.
Running the Workforce Plan is the fifth step in the process. If the previous four steps have been carried out correctly, this should not be so difficult. It is important that the management team, the organization’s leadership and even the shareholders are kept informed of its progress.
Part of the information that must be presented weekly to the management team, for example, refers to the personnel that has been hired for each of the departments, among other aspects.
It is also important to have a support plan in case it is necessary to make some adjustments, so it is essential to rigorously monitor the execution of the plan from the beginning.
The sixth step has to do with evaluating the plan. Once certain objectives have been achieved, it is important to know if they were done in the established time for it and if the results were as expected.
There are a variety of software on the market that enables organizations to process data, perform workforce analysis and create actionable reports, which in turn will allow the necessary adjustments as the Workforce Plan advances.
At this stage it is important to review the objectives that were established at the beginning. Determine if they remain the same or if, on the contrary, they have changed not only because there are new objectives, but also because there could be a change in the organization’s management.
Having a workforce plan will allow the organization to be prepared for future projects, even when they are not foreseen in the business horizon. This will allow them to have the appropriate staff and the necessary skills, without representing an increase in costs for the company.