Workforce planning is a critical component of HR work. Ensuring your organisation has the right mix of talent and reliable personnel is a balancing act for most HR departments, especially as the workplace is rapidly changing. To ease the process, it’s important to observe the market and note the trends that are working. We've put together a list of the top workforce planning trends we see in the industry, so you can stay ahead of the curve and understand the best talent acquisition strategies.
What is workforce planning?
Workforce planning is organising a company’s human resources to meet its present and projected needs. The process involves analysing the current workforce, job demands, and existing market situations to predict the company’s future workforce needs and how best to meet those demands.
Workforce planning considers the realities of a workforce, such as employees getting old and thus needing replacement. Additionally, job roles are evolving, needing new skills, which presents the challenge of either training existing employees or hiring competent ones. The recent COVID-19 pandemic jolted most workforces, where employees are no longer accepting the standard 9-5 routine, prioritising a holistic approach that gives them ample time with their families. Here are the benefits of workforce planning.
Benefits of workforce planning
Planning for change
A strategic approach to workforce planning helps the organisation better understand workforce challenges and find ways to handle them. Such understanding enables the organisation to anticipate future risks and institute solutions in time.
Reduce hiring expenses
Workforce planning ensures you have the right talent in all positions. In addition, anticipating future challenges and installing the right solutions helps reduce turnover ensures budgetary considerations for all new hires, and streamlines the workforce, thus lowering overall HR department expenses.
Improve recruitment process
Part of workforce planning is using analytics to identify characteristics and key performance metrics of the top employees in different positions. This information helps create a guideline for future recruitment exercises for a more effective process.
Overall strategic alignment
Workforce planning ensures the HR department’s activities and goals align with the overall business goals. For example, the workforce can be trimmed or bulked, depending on the financial year’s projections, thus ensuring an efficient workforce and elimination of redundancies and the associated expenses.
Prioritisation in talent investment
Workforce planning reveals which individuals drive the largest share of company productivity, thus needing more training and development to sustain their productivity. Similarly, planning will reveal areas that need improvement, and the expected return on investing in those areas, to ensure overall productivity increases.
Formulate better retention practices
Understanding your workforce in terms of individuals who need the most reward and what matters the most to them helps you know which rewards to pick to retain their services and prevent resignation. For example, annual bonuses work for some employees, while others prefer more inclusion in decision-making processes or a stake in the company.
What are the top workforce planning trends in 2022?
Effects of ‘The Great Resignation’
As ‘The Great Resignation’ continues it’s important for your workforce planning to acknowledge this trend if you’re to devise better ways of retaining and recruiting employees. Part of the reason for this continued event is the increase in demand for new employees by most companies recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic, which encourages more people to resign in favour of better terms elsewhere. Additionally, the pandemic jolted employees out of their usual routine, causing them to prioritise their health, families, and better work environments. Therefore, you must prioritise this trend in your workforce planning.
Focus on tasks, not jobs
The traditional view of human resources in terms of job positions is fast fading, with more emphasis on skills in performing the tasks those positions bestow. Therefore, the HR department is tasked with finding suitable candidates who will fill positions based on their ability to perform those tasks, their adaptability to new workplace trends, and planning to ensure the workforce is capable of embracing the new way of doing things. Upskilling is one way to prepare your workforce, leaving hiring new employees as a last resort.
Hybrid work model
The hybrid work model a blend of in-person and remote working, is the preferred solution for most employers and employees, as the focus shifts from reporting for duty to performing those duties and delivering results no matter where you are. This is another trend accelerated by the recent pandemic where most employees had to make do with remote working. Adopting a hybrid approach ensures employees get to spend more time with their families, minimises chances of a pandemic resurgence, and makes them more efficient. In addition, the company saves on overheads and has a happier and more productive workforce.
Inclusion and diversity
Social unrest, the pandemic, and Black Lives Matter and similar movements highlight the need for more inclusion and diversity Companies have responded to this pressure, instituting policies that will lead to more inclusion and diversity and ensure different demographics have representation and feel like they belong.
Employee wellbeing and mental health
As more and more employees acknowledge their mental health challenges and demand better support from their employers, companies find it prudent to institute policies, spaces, and work environments that foster employee wellbeing. Such support goes a long way in increasing productivity, minimising time off requests, and improving employee retention.
As the workplace continues to evolve, it’s important for your human resources department and associated stakeholders to focus on these workforce planning trends to ensure compliance, a robust and stable workforce, and minimise costs while increasing organisational efficiency. A key part of workplace planning is picking the right talent in the first place.
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