Workforce planning. The process of forecasting your staffing needs and working out the range of ways you can create and maintain the workforce to help you to achieve your business goals over the longer term. For example: Managing Digital Transformation.
Workforce Development. The planned development of staff to improve the ability to meet future business needs. Whether those be in:
» Business or job requirements
» Client and customer demands
» Market and other conditions
It is about:
√ Keeping the right people
√ Growing the right people
√ Recruiting the right people
The Key – Keep it simple. Don’t over complicate the process, see workforce planning and development as a mechanism to understanding:
- Current capability and capacity (i.e. The skills you have)
- What is required both now and into the future (i.e. The skills you need)
- What the gaps are (i.e. Learning, Development and Recruitment opportunities)
The 5 steps in Workforce Planning and Development
1. Understand the context and environment
Understand the reasons why workforce planning is important and ensure that the reasons are directly related to the business’s strategic plan. Consider the workforce implications of your strategic plans (This may require reviewing the vision, mission, goals, the current position of your business and assessing capability and capacity of your workforce to support your strategic plans into the future).
- Is the business growing, downsizing, transitioning, shifting skills, introducing new initiatives and technology or wanting to maintain your position?
- What is the current capability and capacity to deliver products and services?
- What funding sources are available?
- What are the performance measures for the plan?
- What internal issues could impact your workforce such as the structure of the business?
- Understand what is going on externally in your region, industry sector and markets and how this may affect your workforce
Important! It is imperative that you communicate the workforce planning reasons and strategy to everyone that may be affected when it is implemented.
2. Understand the current Workforce Profile
What do you know about your current workforce skills profile and current business or job requirements?
You will need a clear picture of your workforce’s current strengths and development needs by:
- The use of a common language framework to describe the skills, and the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) is ideal, for digital skills.
- And by undertaking:
√ A skill inventory or stock-take (assessment) of the workforce using the framework (The skills you have)
√ A skill stock-take of the current business or job requirements using the framework (The skills you need now)
The accuracy of the workforce skill assessment will be improved exponentially by:
- Good communication to all involved about the importance of the assessment and how the information captured will be utilised to the benefit of both the organisation and the individuals. e.g.
- Perhaps your current workforce has hidden potential that both your business and they could capitalise on?
- Better targeted and focused development opportunities will arise from more accurate information
- Improving employee engagement by involving the workforce, giving them ownership of their own skills profiles and the responsibility for keeping it up to date and accurate.
- Note: This will also provide the business with a dynamically maintained skills register
- Getting feedback on areas for improvement through regular consultation with the workforce
A clear picture of your current business or job requirements will entail aligning the current job requirements to the descriptions of the common language framework
This will provide all the information required to map the workforce to the job requirements and the data to make use of both the specific and aggregated skills information about your workforce. Based on the profiling and analysis it will allow you to understand:
- Your current Workforce Profile. The current skills and competencies of your workforce
- The strengths and development needs
- Workforce priorities, based on your workforce profiling and analysis?
3. Define the future Workforce Profile
- First consider where are you likely to be in a period such as 1-3 years’ time?
- The future products and services that will be provided by the organisation (link to strategic plan)?
- Requirements for the future environment?
- The workforce implications and issues that could arise?
- Workforce supply and demand?
- The future skills and competencies that will be required?
- What has the consultation with your workforce told you regarding future workforce issues?
- Future workforce priorities, based on your workforce profiling and analysis?
- Then build a set of future business or job requirements using the framework, based on your forecasts, against which the workforce profile can now be mapped. (The skills you are going to need into the future)
4. Gap Analysis and Closing Strategies
What are the key areas of need/action in order to move from where the organisation is now to where it needs to be?
Prioritise the ‘issues’ and develop an action plan to address the skill gaps.
Using what you now know about your current workforce and what you want your desired workforce to be like, compare the difference.
- What are the areas that need to be managed and developed?
- Prioritise development opportunities based on:
a) Risk to your current delivery capabilities
b) The ones that simultaneously address the gaps in both the current and future workforce needs
c) Those that will help improve employee engagement
d) which ones will help in the transformation from current to your future state
- Use the analysis to help decide whether you:
- Build – Upskill your current human capital
- Buy – Recruit the required skills using well defined job/role profiles
- Borrow – Use contract resources to manage temporary gaps. Again, use well defined job/role profiles to ensure quality of supply
Consider strategies for the following:
- Retention – The most important one. Finding ways to ensure that you meet a diverse range of employees’ needs and have a productive culture in which people want to work. Ways to keep talented, valued employees, even during a downturn.
- Development – The second most important one, and one that will assist retention. Finding ways to get people working most productively for you. This includes:
- Having effective induction processes
- Training processes
- Developing your talented people
- Planning for succession
- Regularly reviewing how you deploy people
- Managing and improving performance
- Attraction – You will also need ways to attract the right people, from the widest and best possible sources. Empowering your workforce to manage their own skills and development is almost considered mandatory amongst Millennials these days.
5. Review and Evaluation
How well did you meet the performance measures for the plan?
- Did you achieve the key outcomes?
- What are the next steps for implementation of your action plan?
Basically, a continual improvement strategy
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