For many businesses, workforce planning is the secret ingredient to success. Knowing what direction you want to take your business in, what your goals are, and how to develop a strategy to achieve it all requires careful planning of all aspects of your business. This includes the future of your workforce. If it sounds like this requires assessing many moving pieces, that’s because it does.
That’s why many businesses turn to workforce management software to help make it all a bit easier.
Assess team strengths
The first step in workforce planning should be an assessment of your team. You want to evaluate where your team’s strengths lie and how those skills directly contribute to meeting your organization’s goals. You also want to consider things like which employees are nearing retirement so that you’ll be aware of which positions you’ll need to fill in the future.
You should also consider conducting an external assessment. It’s beneficial to be aware of the condition of the talent pool outside of your organization. Knowing what talent is available, how hard it is to acquire and the cost of acquiring is all key to planning for the future.
If you think this sounds like a lot of research before you even develop a plan, you’d be right. Evaluating your entire workforce requires an in-depth look at your team. Fortunately, many workforce management systems offer a variety of tools that can assist with this. From evaluating employee performance to generating custom reports, a workforce management solution can provide valuable insights into your team’s strengths. Some specific features that can help with this include:
- Performance Evaluation
- Workforce Analysis
- Attendance Database
- Employee Self-Service
- HRM Integration
- Onsite Training
Consider future objectives and goals
Effective planning requires you to assess your business’s performance metrics and review your future business plans and organizational goals. You also want to estimate what you’ll need to reach those goals — that might mean additional staffing or readjusting workloads.
This aspect of workforce management will be particularly easy if you choose to adopt an app that can help you to collect and analyze business data. A system that can generate data reports will show you the specific details of how your business is doing. This kind of information can help you to calculate realistic goals based on past performance.
You’ll then be able to use all of the information you gathered from assessing your team’s strengths to see how well your team is able to meet those needs. You also want to be aware of the needs that your team won’t be able to meet. For example, if you have plans to implement new software, you need to be sure you have employees who are able to learn the ins and outs of the new system and then teach others how to use it. Some of the functionalities to look out for include:
- Define Positions and Departments
- Schedule Optimization
- History-Based Forecasting
- Predictive Algorithms
- Custom Reports
- What-If Scenario Planning
- Trend Analysis
Identify Missing Skills
After assessing your team and looking at what you need to meet your goals, you may notice some gaps that need to be filled. Workforce management solutions assist with this by providing insights into team performance and highlighting opportunities for improvement. By utilizing a software solution, you can easily identify what skills are missing from your workforce and determine how best to address this need. A full-service workforce management solution can provide insight into a variety of factors that will influence how you want to fill in these gaps.
Once you have a clear vision of what your goals are, how to accomplish them and what you still need in order to accomplish them, it’s time to do the actual work. You should consider a variety of solutions to determine how best to meet your needs and fill the skills gap among your workforce.
One potential solution you might consider is training. If your employees have most of the skills you need, then training and development opportunities may be the simplest solution. However, if you find that you require a different skill set entirely, then consider hiring externally to obtain those skills. Remember that external talent assessment we talked about earlier? This is where all that research will be useful.
Regardless of the solution you choose, you’ll want to be sure that you’re secured with a plan for how to move forward. That might mean scheduling additional training for your employees or preparing for integrating new team members and departments. Fortunately, the variety of functionalities that workforce management solutions provide make workforce planning as easy as it can be.
What Is Workforce Planning?
Workforce planning is defined as the process of planning for current and future employment needs. The main goal of workforce planning is to make sure that the business always has the human capital it needs in order to run efficiently and effectively, both now and in the future. Developing a cost-effective talent acquisition strategy that closes any talent gaps you may have is also a major component.
Additionally, effective workforce planning includes regular analysis of how productive the business’s employees are, both as a whole and individually. If the workforce is in any capacity underperforming, then changes such as adding a learning management strategy can be developed to increase productivity.
Similarly, strategic workforce planning is the process of aligning the needs of the workforce with those of the business, based on long-term objectives and goals. This includes succession planning, which ensures that there’s a plan in place to quickly fill essential management roles (typically with employees that already have the most important skills) when they’re vacated.
Workforce planning involves many moving pieces. It includes your individual employees, their active development and your organizational goals. Because there are so many moving parts, it will be most successful if you actively evaluate and update your plans, which requires that you implement a system for workforce planning. While that might seem like a heavy workload, it can easily be automated by implementing a workforce management software with features that can track and analyze data for you — making your planning process easy as pie.
What Are the Goals of Workforce Planning?
Implementing workforce planning can accomplish a variety of things. It can help you identify where your organization would benefit from expanding teams, as well as areas where your employees would benefit from additional training. However, there are a few key things you’ll be able to accomplish by actively implementing workforce planning practices.
One goal of effective workforce planning is problem prevention. A major part of workforce planning is making a thorough assessment of the skills each department requires and whether the employees in those departments possess those skills. By conducting this assessment, you’ll be able to recognize gaps where skills are missing and be able to correct that issue before it becomes a source of pain.
Another goal that workforce planning can accomplish is maintaining successful leadership. Effective workforce planning helps you recognize the leadership positions that are currently open or soon will be open. With that knowledge, you’re able to begin assessing which employees would be successful in those newly open positions. You’re also able to plan for them to be trained to fill the role, making for a smooth transition.
Finally, the ultimate goal of workforce planning is to increase productivity and efficiency. Integrated workforce planning provides you with analytics that can show you the specific details of how your plan is affecting the business. Planning gives you a clear overview of your organization’s performance metrics so that you can set realistic goals for the future. Implementing a strategy for workforce planning that includes both quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure success sets your business on the path towards long-term success.
It sounds like there will be a large workload required to meet these goals. In reality, there are really only a handful of core tasks to complete in order to benefit from workforce planning. However, if you’re new to workforce planning, or just incredibly busy, workforce management software can help streamline these tasks to make the entire process easy.
How Do I Select a Workforce Management System?
When it comes time to select which workforce management solution is the best fit for your business, there are a handful of things you’ll want to consider. You’ll need to be aware of what your specific needs are, everything from which features are your top priority to what kind of deployment you’re looking for. You’ll also want to make a list of your own requirements to help inform your search. However, if that sounds daunting, then consider taking a look at our own list of requirements and use that as a basis for your own list.
Looking for more help with finding the right workforce management solution for your business? We’re happy to help. Get personalized recommendations by messaging [email protected] or give us a call at 877-692-2896.