Before you start the recruitment process, strategic workforce planning will ensure you create the right roles and fill them with the best candidates 

When you think about it – hiring is the most important thing you do as a manager. After all, having the right people in the right roles at the right time is really the first stepping stone to succeeding in everything else you do. With this in mind, before you start firing out those job ads, it’s worth taking time to breathe and plan the process step- by-step.  

In other words, you should implement a strategic workforce planning program before you even place a job ad. 

Why You Need Strategic Workforce Planning 

It lowers costs 

Planning ahead lowers recruitment costs by ensuring you target the best job candidates, from the outset. When you target the right candidates, you will make the right hires, which should also increase productivity – if it’s a good fit then these people are also more likely to stick around, saving you all the costs associated with high staff turnover. Our Role Profile Analysis service can take your efforts in this area to the next level. 

It boosts diversity 

Workforce planning enables organizations to quickly boost the diversity of your workforce. This is because strategic workforce planning allows you to audit your current diversity efforts, make changes to recruitment drives that account for the rapidly changing demographics in the job market, and optimize your efforts to attract diverse talent. 

It means planning for tomorrow, not just today 

Making a long-term recruitment plan is essential to ensuring you are ahead of any future challenge or crisis that could occur. It should involve collaboration across all departments in your company – addressing issues like how to handle unexpected job losses and prepare a succession plan, particularly within senior management. 

Find Your Workforce Strategy 

Creating a workforce strategy can be divided into three simple steps: – 

  1. You need to evaluate your current staffing levels and skill sets; 
  1. You need to map out future recruitment needs; and finally –  
  1. You need to devise a job criteria to help you find ideally match candidates 

Somewhere in between steps one and two, your workforce planning strategy should ensure you are not over- or understaffed and there are no skills gaps forming in your teams. This audit of your current staff is key to establishing a better understanding of your company culture and how you need to address or better showcase this culture, along with your company values, to better attract the right talent. 

Six Things to Think About When Strategic Workforce Planning 

Where are you going? 

To find the best people to achieve your organizational goals, you first have to determine what you want your company, workforce, and culture to be in the future. 

Answer these questions: 

  • Where is the company headed for in the long-term? 
  • What goals do you have for the company? 
  • What job skills, backgrounds, and interests will new employees need in order to meet your company’s long-term goals? 

Having this map ahead of you, and understanding what you need from your team to get there, makes looking for those skill sets in new candidates easier. 

Where are you now? 

At regular intervals, the human resources department needs to schedule a time for all other departments to analyze their current teams – evaluating current employee performance, and also talking numbers – are you over- or understaffed? Does your team share your visions and goals for the company? Do you have employees in the right jobs? How can you better set your teams up to align with your goals? 

What do you need to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be? 

After answering those first two questions, the next thing you need to do is complete a skills gap analysis. Basically, what skills will you need in the future – through recruitment and training – to achieve future company goals e.g., moving into a new product line; replacing people you know you will be losing to retirement, resignation, redundancy, or any other issues. HR staff at larger organizations are unlikely to have this information at the tip of their finger. Instead, we recommend looking at historic data on these points as a starting point.  

The best way to implement the skills gap workforce strategy is to make these desired skill sets a priority when recruiting new team members. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t develop the skills in current employees, as well. Making sure your training and recruitment goals are in line allows you to address this from multiple angles, increasing the likelihood of finding the right skills in the right positions. 

Ask for Help 

Developing a workforce strategy is not an easy thing to do, especially when it comes to predicting future events. Not even Nostradamus would have predicted the transition from the human screening of job candidates to the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Requesting help from a Talent Intelligence solutions specialist can improve your planning for future events. 

Factor in Company Culture 

Job skills play a huge role in determining who you recruit during the hiring process. However, before you talk to the first job candidate, you also need to define your company culture and how you want it to evolve going forward. The values and beliefs of a job candidate can make just as much of an impact as their hard skills. Knowing how a candidate aligns with you can be the difference between extending a job offer or discarding the applicant’s resume in an electronic trash bin. 

Conduct Competitive Analyses 

Ask yourself one important question: What are your competitors doing in terms of strategic workforce planning? By completing competitive analyses, you should learn how your competitors create job titles and report structures. You also want to find out how your competitors handle the workforce planning process. 

The goal is to incorporate the best practices that you discover for workforce planning into your company’s process. 

The Bottom Line 

Recruiting the best professionals gives your company a head start when it comes to performance. Long before you attend job fairs and promote job openings, you should develop a long-term strategic workforce planning program. Implementing an effective workforce planning process can lower costs, as well as help your company adapt to rapid changes and manage a long-term recruitment plan.