SME Workforce Planning in 5 Easy Steps

by | Mar 16, 2015 | Employers Tips

The workforce dynamics is rapidly changing and employers can expect to see increased demands for highly skilled workers. With an aging workforce, higher expectations from workers and continuing financial challenges workforce planning has never been more important. To address these challenges your organisation needs a plan of action to ensure your ongoing ability to provide quality services to your customers.

Myth: Workforce planning is something only government departments and big corporations do.

Unfortunately, few SME take the time to look at their workforce in depth and plan for the future. For many SME, taking on workforce planning is could be a difficult task unless you have the right tools.

However, if done properly, it is certain to bring financial benefits and other positive outcomes.

The general idea is not that complex:

  • Assess where you at in your current situation
  • Decide where you like to be and;
  • Address the gaps

There could be number of different reasons why you would take on workforce planning. This could be because of growth, decline or perhaps a technical change in your current business environment.

Myth Busted! You don’t have to be a government department or a large corporation to engage in workforce planning! 

Here are 5 simple steps to implement a workforce plan into your business and ensure it thrives. Tune into our Workforce Planning webinar WFP-Picture

Business Context and Environment:

Your workforce planning needs to be directly linked to your business.  Firstly, have a look at your business plans and revisit your vision and your mission statement. Ask yourself “where is my business heading? Are we growing, downsizing, transitioning, shifting skills, introducing new technology or is it in a maintenance mode? Who are your customers?  What new technologies are emerging within your industry? What is your current financial situation?

Current Workforce Profile

Workforce PlanningDo you understand your current workforce? Time to get the magnifying glass and truly observe your current workforce: their age, qualifications, skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, weaknesses and do you have any current workforce issues?  Do you know your employees expectations? Who do is stable, who is going to leave and when? A simple SWOT analysis on your current workforce will give you a clear picture on where you at.

Future Workforce Requirements

Firstly you need to understand where your business and your industry will be in 2, 5 and 10 years’ time. Technology is changing rapidly, so it is important to take this in account when you are trying to map, where your business might be in the future. Here are some of the things that you should take into considerations.

  • The dynamics of your workforce
  • The skills and qualifications
  • Personal circumstances
  • Future upskilling needed
  • Impact on new and emerging technology

Gap analysis and Action Plan      

The first step is the “gap analysis”

This process will compare the skills, job roles, staff numbers as well as the experience of your current workforce and what the future workforce requires.

Once you have the “what I got” and “what I need” you can start building a workforce action plan.

Workforce PlaThe following should be included in your workforce action plan

  • Training and Development – People are your greatest asset. What specific steps are you willing to take to ensure their training and development, including succession planning
  • Attract and Recruit – How will you capture the right people?
  • Management, Motivation and Rewards – How are you going to share your vision and mission and what steps can you do to build a positive culture where people thrive?
  • Retention strategy – What will you do to keep your employees?
  • Communication and Leadership – Good communication and leadership skills are the foundation of flourishing workplace – What is your strategy?

The action plan is used as your guide to outline what areas of your workforce you need to strengthen, what actions you require to take to optimise your workforce.

Review and Monitor

Once implemented, you need to review and monitor how effective your action plan was.

These are couple of questions you should ask yourself.

  • Is my action plan producing the workforce results that I need?
  • Do I need to take any different or further action?

The key is not to over complicate the process. You should look at the workforce planning as a way to get a better understanding of where your human capital investment needs be in the future.

Workforce planning and development will help you to achieve your business goals over the longer term.

Do you require further assistance on this subject, book for our Webinar on Workforce Planning

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