The Essential Framework for Strategic Workforce Planning

May 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Group of people working around a table with books and a laptop.

Workforce planning can help to resolve staffing difficulties and make a company more productive.

The concept of workforce planning is often so broad that HR leaders struggle to develop and implement a strategy in this area. And yet, strategic workforce planning can have tangible benefits for businesses and help them to optimize their workforces for the best possible outcomes. So, how to start?

What Is Workforce Planning?

At its heart, workforce planning is a strategy for optimizing current and future talent needs so they can be met in a timely and efficient way. Workforce planning should start with the initial business plan and extend it forward to keep the business focused, growing, and thriving. Instead of just expecting everything to keep going on the way it started, workforce planning takes into account changing needs and industry developments to improve the functioning of the business over time.

When you have a workforce planning strategy, you will be able to address hiring gaps as well as plan for potential future gaps. While no plan can be foolproof, having a strategy in place will make hiring teams more prepared for the future, including unexpected developments.

Desk with computer, plants and camera.

Teams can work better together when the right staffing plan is in place.

Building a Framework

Workforce planning should flow from and be aligned with the overall goals of the company. After a plan has been agreed to by key personnel and shared with departments and HR staff, these teams can create implementation plans for new hiring and promotion of existing staff. Internal job descriptions, job postings, and other recruiting efforts will all need to be rewritten so that they fit into the workforce planning strategy the company has chosen.

Training and development of new and existing staff also need to be aligned to the workforce planning strategy, which can include pathways to advancement and plans for longer retention. Using contingent workers may be part of workforce planning in areas with tight labor markets or specialized needs, including needs for part-time or seasonal workers that are best handled on a contract basis.

The final steps of a workforce planning strategy involve measuring the performance of the strategy, and deciding which aspects to maintain and which to improve. These steps are not really the completion of the strategy, but lead back to the beginning of the process. The framework for workforce planning is cyclical, which means that after evaluating the process, it starts all over again with adjusting the plan and implementing those adjustments. Workforce planning should be viewed as a dynamic, rather than a static process.

Using Assessments in Workforce Planning

Assessments can be helpful to workplace planning strategy in significant ways. During the planning phase, assessments help to reveal skills gaps so that hiring practices can be adjusted for better coverage of needs. Both existing employees and new hires can take assessments, although the assessments they take may be different in some cases.

Narish International can help your company deliver assessments and build higher performing teams.