November 12, 2018

3 Steps Missing from Strategic Workforce Planning

Organizational Effectiveness

It’s the season for strategic workforce planning for HR professionals. The workforce is the heart of a business, and having the right strategy in place makes success much more achievable. Don’t leave the planning process to the last minute. The sooner you start planning and evaluating the future of your workforce, the better.

The Importance of Strategic Workforce Planning

This is an endeavor that should not be done alone. It’s tempting to handle it all yourself, but don’t make the mistake of excluding other departments from your organization. The more cohesive your team is in the planning process, the smoother the whole year at your company is going to go.

Here are a few steps that are often overlooked in strategic workforce planning:


1. Be actionable

When coordinating with other company leaders, make sure to give actionable information. Don’t tell them it’s time to think about strategic workforce planning or future hires; give specific information and tasks. Actionable information motivates people into, well, action. Be prepared with strategic business ideas and use them to inspire action. If you know the sales team is selling new products next year, estimate how many new team members may need to be hired, or how much training on the product will be needed for current employees. Calculate both the cost and time frame of filling those positions and completing training. Give the leader of the sales team those numbers.

You will see quicker and more precise action by telling them they will need 5 new salespeople hired within 3 months to have time to be trained for the release date of the new product. Otherwise, they will not be able to meet their sales goals. This will make much more of an impact then just asking them to provide you with their workforce planning.


2. Encourage a sense of urgency

To create urgency, you need more than just a deadline, you need a 'Why'. Explain to company leaders how their planning and decision making influences each other and why it’s so important to be strategic and timely. A facilities manager will benefit from knowing how many new hires to expect from each department. They may need to create new workspaces, build additional cubical or machine space, etc. If additions are needed, this could require an electrician or other specialists Likewise, your IT department will require at least an estimate of additional computers and software that will be needed so they can work it into their budget as well as have it ordered and ready for new hires when they arrive. Explaining the reasons behind deadlines and helping leaders realize the effects of their decisions on other departments can be very helpful.


3. Encourage relationships

Now that you have motivated your leaders into action and given them a sense of urgency, it’s time for you to help bridge the relationships between departments, leaders and yourself. Leverage your employee network. Engage someone from every department in the company for strategic workforce planning. Strategic planning can often feel like one more item on their to-do list that they have to handle, but a face behind the name could make the process much smoother. Overcoming this stigma can be critical for your company’s path to success. Foster conversation between everyone, remind them of the benefits of having a strategic workforce and how planning ahead of time can make it a much easier and more rewarding process. Emphasize their cohesion with each other by explaining how each department’s success and planning complements the other.

It is never a bad idea to build and strengthen relationships at work, for any reason. The more a team learns to work together, and the smoother that work becomes the better off everyone will be. If you manage to make the workforce planning painless and beneficial then it will continue to get better every year.


How Aspirant Can Help

The steps above have proven useful for clients in their adoption of more focused workforce planning. Could your leadership team use support to do the same? Aspirant's Organizational Effectiveness and Strategy experts can help develop a cohesive plan that takes all relevant dynamics into consideration. Use the form below to schedule a casual discussion about how we can better position your company for success.


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Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.

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