An HR Manager’s Guide to Workforce Planning


by Bryn Fest

Are your employees clocking in and hanging out?

One of the most prominent challenges managers face is improving employee productivity. It’s easy for employees to fall into the routine of clocking in but not starting on work-related tasks. The best way to resolve this problem is by setting up some form of accountability.

By creating a culture of accountability, you’ll be able to get everyone on the same page. Instead of singling out a single employee, you can revamp your entire workforce! Running a successful business comes down to intelligent workforce planning.

Read on to learn everything you need to know so you can streamline all of your operations.

What Is Workforce Planning?

What is workforce planning or workforce strategic management? It’s a method of ensuring that the right person is always there to take care of business.

It’s all about balancing things, so there aren’t too many or too few workers. You can use this framework for success, to avoid misspending.

Overstaffing and understaffing present significant problems for all sorts of industries. You can wind up spending a ton of money and not getting the right results.

Alternatively, understaffing can lead to poor customer experiences and workplace fatigue. Thankfully, workforce management can solve all sorts of staffing problems today and tomorrow. You’ll be working to secure your present while building a bright future.

Demographic Drive for Change

Strategic workforce management is becoming more important nowadays because of demographic changes. A lack of in-demand skills, mass retirement, and reskilling challenges are on the manager’s plate. Cost reduction is another concern to keep in mind.

Increased global competition forces companies to work smarter than ever before. Managers will have to work hard to secure talent management and maintain flexibility. Thankfully, all of these items are possible with the right workforce plan.

Principles of Workforce Management

Workforce management is taking inventory of what you have today and what your company needs tomorrow. Your current employee setup is relevant when choosing tomorrow’s ideal formation. One of the essential principles of strategic management is to align your goals with the organization’s strategy.

Prioritizing Needs

Focus on your organization’s critical roles. Your organizational strategy should be a long-term plan that dictates the company’s every move. It can be an excellent guideline for planning your workforce.

Solid workforce management also involves using the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the results you achieve will come from 20% of the work. That means you have to be extra vigilant about prioritizing tasks so accordingly.

Make overhead and management a secondary concern. Finally, another basic workforce management principle is focusing on strategic and tactical decisions. Keep a long-term focus.

Picking an Organizational Strategy

Your organizational strategy will depend on your company’s current capabilities and resources. You should also consider the broader market. In other words, if your company is very good at producing a specific product, you’ll have already acquired valuable resources and developed particular capabilities.

You’ll likely already have whatever machines you need and the knowledge necessary about the product. You can use this expertise and resources to your advantage. Instead of trying to shift the way your company does business completely, choose an organizational strategy that matches your current configuration.

Your current workflow is going to influence the future direction of your company. That includes your products and competition. All of these forces will steer your company in a specific order.

Market and Competition

Your organizational strategy will be formed by-products, market, and competition. If you’re looking to double or triple your revenue, keep this in mind when planning your workforce. Start using your current data to calculate how many new salespeople you need to facilitate growth.

Only Hire the Best

Exercise extreme caution when hiring new employees. Along with finding someone who fits the job description, ensure they’re enthusiastic about the role they’ll be playing.

Finding reliable, humble, emotionally intelligent, and receptive employees are also essential. Learn to spot the signs of low emotional intelligence, so you can rule out the candidates that aren’t a good fit.

Long-Term Hire

Many human resource managers focus on finding people with the right qualifications. However, having a particular skill doesn’t mean the person is an ideal hire.

Be the best HR manager by finding people who align with the company’s long-term goals. As long as you hire the best, the sky’s the limit for your company.

Regularly Track Employee Performance

So far, we’ve discussed the importance of hiring the right team and strategically using them. But how will you be able to tell if you’re getting the results you want?

It all comes from measuring employees’ performances regularly. It can be one of the trickiest things since employees don’t like being micromanaged. Instead, you’ll need to practice influential people management skills and exercise leadership traits.

By setting clear and obtainable goals, employees will be able to motivate themselves throughout the year. As long as you communicate with your workforce regularly, you’ll be able to help them stay on top of their current targets.

Monitor progress once in a while, and readjust the goals as needed. You’ll find that communication is key.

Effective Communication

Effective managers know how to communicate with their employees to gain their respect and trust. Have an open-door policy so that employees know they can talk to you about their ideas and complaints without facing judgment. By learning how to resolve conflicts both privately and publicly, you’ll be able to help employees feel comfortable in the workspace.

Grow Your Company

Now you know some of the best workforce planning tools. A company is only as strong as the team that’s running it.

Carefully select new hires who will help your company rise like never before. From there, you’ll be able to choose the right staffing needs, goal adjustments, and beyond. Before you know it, your company will be able to generate more revenue while keeping employees and consumers happy.

What other tips can help your company find success? Read another one of our posts to find out.

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