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5 Steps to Planning a Workforce for the Future

  • Publish Date: Posted over 5 years ago
  • Author: Taylor Varco

Having a pool of skilled workers sets up a foundation for success in any industry. However, for many, finding talent has become a growing concern as it's become harder and harder for businesses to plan a workforce and find the right employees at the right time.  

Taking a strategic Contingent Workforce approach helps solves many of the challenges by hiring skilled team members on an on-demand basis. This is a team of independent contractors who are not full-time employees but hired as-needed. To do this, businesses must adapt their workforce planning to accommodate the newest trends in hiring, anticipate organizational skill gaps, and recruit on the right types of candidates. 

Strategic planning for your workforce not only addresses the number of people required to operate, but the skills and capabilities needed in the long-term. 

Here are 5 steps you can take to improve your strategic workforce planning: 

Step 1:  Align Your Plan with Your Goals
In order to move from a reactive to proactive approach, a good place to start is your business strategy. For example--if it’s your goal to expand sales, make a plan for that talent pool by mapping out the cost of investment, the right times to make a hire, and other crucial considerations such as turnover and budget.  

Step 2: Build Relationships 
Building a strong workforce for the future is more than just a task on your to-do list. You’re going to need help, whether from inside the organization or an outside party. Build strong relationships that ensure everyone within your organization is on the same page with your vision. 

Step 3: Create Urgency
Emphasize to your leaders the importance of an up-to-date workforce plan within each area of your organization. No one wants to get stuck in a bind and be short staffed due to unforeseen circumstances. Use the opportunity to announce growth and generate excitement within the departments. 

Step 4: Centralize Your Plan
At least one person, or outside party, should be dedicated to workforce planning. This means they oversee collaborating with leaders to configure the “master plan” and keep it updated on a quarterly basis. It’s important this person, or organization, feels comfortable running staffing meetings, facilitating planning discussions, and ensuring plans are progressing along with business goals. 

Step 5: Get Ahead
Once you have your process established, and a solid plan in place, the most successful organizations don’t wait around to start searching for talent. With a good plan you’ll know how many people you want to hire in the future, accounting for turnover and retirees, and what your budget looks like to do so. It makes sense to start building talent resources as soon as possible. 

Today’s working environment can feel unpredictable with higher rates of mobile employees, fears of major skill gaps, and the need to be more adaptable in general. Getting ahead of it with a strategic workforce plan will help bring stability to your organization and reaching out to an outside recruiting source that specializes in your industry is a great way to jump start the process.