Companies grow and change over time, and so do their labor needs. In order to ensure that your company’s needs are met, it’s important to be able to forecast your labor needs. To do this effectively, a company needs to practice good workforce planning. But what is workforce planning?

Workforce planning is a discipline that includes forecasting labor needs, identifying the positions that the company will need to create and/or fill, and executing a plan based on that information to make sure that those positions are filled in an effective and timely way.

In this process, the recruitment team analyzes the current staffing and forecast future hiring needs in order to make sure that the company is not over or understaffing, address any skills gap, and be steadfast in achieving the business targets. This also helps to uncover different training needs and manage budgets for recruiting.

The benefits of workforce planning include avoiding bottlenecks in production or service performance, reducing the costs of emergency hiring (and likely associated turnover), and having a plan in place to help your company avoid hiring pitfalls. It also helps the company address any skills gaps, and achieve business goals. Workforce planning also helps to uncover different training needs and manage budgets for recruiting.

How do you use workforce planning? Here are five different elements around workforce planning to ensure that it is effective, relevant, and successful:

1. Anchor your workforce planning with the company’s long-term goals.

The workforce is integral to the company, allowing its different departments to function as expected. Making sure that the company is neither over or understaffed, not only manages the workload more effectively but also addresses specific training needs of the employees from onboarding to development. Good labor forecasting is essential to the success and growth of your organization. Workforce planning is an essential tool in developing a focus on growth within your organization.

2. Involve key stakeholders and find the right employee to head the workforce planning process.

The input from the stakeholders will identify the qualifications that are needed for the workforce planning lead role as well as the supplemental learning required for future development and continuous learning. Having a strong and steadfast lead for this process will strike through all the elements with accountability and in the agreed time frame. Be sure to choose a lead who has an understanding of the company’s long term strategic plan and the headcount needed to fulfill this plan.

3. Consider industry insights on hiring/recruitment and consult external advice.

Looking for best practices within the industry broadens your perspective. There may be new ways that you can adapt to make sure that your planning will be effective. If you are unsure of the route that you should follow, seek professional advice from an industry expert or consultant. Strategic workforce planning uses this information to make sure that your staffing plan is in line with your specific industry.

4. Always be reminded of your company culture.

Make sure that your exceptional culture is communicated well throughout the workforce.  As we have learned, candidates are attracted to companies with a very open company culture, allowing its employees to be themselves and grow. Company culture is another important factor to consider when performing strategic workforce planning.

5. Keep track of the progress of your workforce planning process.

Workforce planning is an iterative process. Routinely checking the results of your plan will allow you to see progress and identify challenges. Reviewing your progress can also allow you to see if the workforce needs identified are still applicable.

Overall, having a plan is always beneficial. Being prepared is the key to having a successful set of the workforce in the company. Having a well-organized workforce plan, allows you to manage your budgets well and prepare for any unprecedented changes in the demographics and the industry. Go ahead and check what you have in place and lead your company to keeping a good workforce. If you’re not sure where to start, consult a staffing and recruiting expert; they’ll be able to get your company off to a great start!



This blog is in partnership with DesignRush