Workforce planning is vital for business, as explored in our previous blog Understanding the basics of workforce planning. In a constantly evolving world where talent is in high demand, as well as in critically short supply, workforce planning enables organisations to take a more strategic approach to their long-term talent acquisition and workforce management plans, identifying talent gaps of the future and addressing them.
In order to successfully plan a workforce for the future, your talent requirements need to be aligned with your business goals so you can identify the skills/capabilities that are needed to drive business growth.
Your business goals provide the clearest indication of the talent that will be needed, enabling you identify talent gaps – understanding where your people are now, how they could be developed and where there are gaps which present the need for external talent. We’ve outlined the key points to consider when translating your business goals into talent needs.
Prioritise your business and hiring needs
Break down your business goals by timeframe (immediate; annual; long-term) to make the process more manageable. Another important exercise is to rank each department’s hiring needs. It’s not always possible to accommodate everyone so it’s important to understand which teams have the most hard-to-fill areas, the greatest volume or will make the biggest strategic impact.
Prioritising mission-critical jobs essentially helps everyone as it increases your organisation’s chances of achieving its goals.
Identify potential obstacles
This stage of workforce planning is not without its challenges, but identifying issues before they become a problem will help get your workforce strategy off the ground. It could be simple, like adjusting your benefits package to attract a certain group of candidates, or tapping into diverse talent pools if your typical talent pool is limited.
Build your internal talent pipeline
Your people are your biggest asset and each employee should be viewed as a long-term investment.
Instead of advertising externally every time a vacancy appears, consider how you can unlock the potential of your existing employees and promote from within. Of course, it’s not always possible to fill every role internally, but it can be greatly rewarding to your employees as they will feel empowered, seeing their true value to the business and are more likely to stay with an employer that invests in them.
Hiring internally can also save you both time and cost, compared to hiring external candidates. Depending on the size of your business, this could save you thousands, if not millions.
Get stakeholder buy-in
Workforce planning isn’t something you can easily do on your own so don’t be afraid to ask for support where you need it. Invite senior business managers and leaders to help fill in the gaps – explain that by understanding how business and talent goals align, together you can make better business decisions.
To help you get started on your workforce planning, download our free guide which provides a top level overview of how to go about your workforce planning along with some simple templates.
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