Strategic Workforce Planning: 6 Steps for Success
COVID has halted hiring for many businesses, but when the economy reopens many companies will need to start hiring again. With staggering unemployment numbers, there are plenty of candidates looking for jobs, and many businesses are understaffed after pandemic-related layoffs and furloughs.
Even if your business was unaffected by COVID-19, hiring is still in your company’s future. As your company grows, so will your workforce. It’s best to be prepared for your future hiring needs so that you can anticipate the next steps for your business and hire proactively rather than reactively. To improve your hiring process and prepare your business for the future, use strategic workforce planning.
Check out our eBook, Post Pandemic Talent Acquisition to learn more about how strategic workforce planning and hiring has changed due to COVID-19.
What is Strategic Workforce Planning?
Strategic workforce planning refers to creating a hiring process for your business that anticipates current and future hiring needs. This includes more than just your next hire; strategic workforce planning accounts for how your business will grow, what positions you’ll add to the team, and in what order you will create and fill those positions.
To create a strategic plan for hiring, you should consider your current standing, long-term goals for the business, and more. Implementing strategic workforce planning can speed up your hiring process, improve the quality of hires, and put your business on a clearer path to success.
6 Steps towards Strategic Workforce Planning
- Evaluate Your Workforce
- Consider Long-Term Goals
- Identify Gaps
- Create a Structured Plan
- Monitor Progress
- Ask for Help
Evaluate Your Workforce
The first step in strategic workforce planning is to assess your current workforce. Consider what roles and skills already exist in your business and how they perform. Account for both quality and quantity: the quality of your staff, how many are employed, and much more. Go deeper and use metrics like employee turnover and retention rates, types of contracts, and more.
You can also consider factors like productivity, internal promotions, and what resources you offer for growth and career development. If you use any tools to measure employee performance, those metrics can be helpful as well. Try to evaluate your workforce as comprehensively as possible to learn more about your staff and business as a whole.
Consider Long-Term Goals
Next, consider the long-term goals of your business. Do you want to double in size, or are you comfortable staying small? How large could, or should, your company grow? What would it look like to grow from a company of 50 to 500, and what would change about your business along the way? There are many questions you can ask yourself when considering long-term goals for the business and its growth.
Identify Gaps in Talent
Once you’ve figured out what you want for your business long-term, you can identify gaps in talent, skills, and departments. Maybe you plan to double sales, but you have a smaller sales team compared to other departments. Perhaps you need more customer support to meet the needs of a growing client base.
Consider your current staff and where there may be gaps in talent so that you can figure out what roles to create as your business grows. Use your long-term goals to determine what skills are most important for your business going forward so that you can identify what positions to create and fill as you grow.
In light of COVID-19, it may be necessary to re-evaluate what skills are needed for your business. If remote work is in your business' future, you may need to consider what skills are important for remote employees and managers of those employees. Consider how the pandemic may shift your needs in terms of skills and positions, even in the long term, or check out our free eBook for a closer look at this topic.
Create a Structured Plan
After identifying gaps in your workforce and what roles are more important moving forward, you can create an organizational structure for your business. Plan out what roles to add next, and in what order those roles should be added to your company. Fill the gaps first and strategize a plan that considers how your business will grow with each new hire and where talent is most needed.
Try to make an organized chart that shows your business’ positions and reporting hierarchy. This can be helpful to see what teams are larger or smaller so that you can plan for the future.
If you can create an organizational structure for the long-term, you can see what you want your business to look like five or ten years down the road. From there, work backwards to decide which roles are needed first. You can even create benchmarks for when it’s time to add a new position so that you know when it’s the right time to hire based on revenue, customer base, and more.
Strategic workforce planning is a long-term solution for growing your business, so progress may be slow. It is still important, however, to monitor that progress and regularly assess your growth, your workforce strategy, and the hiring process. If you created benchmarks to reach before creating a new position, use those to track step towards your next hire.
Once you do hire someone to fill a new position, assess your hiring and onboarding process, and continue to monitor how this role fits into your business.
Ask for Help
Strategic workforce planning can be complex, and most business owners already have their plates full with other important work. Rather than add another project to your schedule, ask for help! Hiring professionals are skilled in strategic workforce planning and can help find a solution that fits your business.
If you need help creating a strategic plan for growing your workforce, contact ORS Partners. Our white label solution allows our talent acquisition professionals to learn the ins and outs of your business first so that they can help develop a strategy and grow your company with the talent that fits your needs and goals. Contact us today to discuss your hiring needs.