Each month we tap into the AHRI:ASSIST resource centre to find the most topical questions members are asking. This month we look at workforce planning.
Who is responsible for workforce planning?
In workforce planning, supervisors and managers identify goals and core business functions. Senior leadership is also involved, especially in ensuring alignment between the organisation’s mission, strategic goals and objectives. The HR professional’s role is to examine how work and the workforce are changing. HR and management must engage in a strong partnership for workforce planning initiatives to be successful.
Workforce planning needs to be led by HR and senior managers, and supported by others within the organisation. Its effectiveness depends on:
- Wide consultation of key people within the organisation who have influence over the goals the organisation sets and how those goals are achieved;
- An understanding and manipulation of data;
- Anticipation and debate around future issues; and
- Translation of findings into proposals for action.
What are the trends in workforce planning and planning strategies?
Every organisation’s future is determined by current trends and practices in areas such as recruitment, turnover and promotion, by how employees will respond, and by social, political and economic trends that determine what the future workforce will look like.
Contingent workers, baby-boomer retirements, changing education trends, globalisation, outsourcing and work/life balance mean the current path will rarely be the one that leads an organisation to future success. Many organisations sense this, but don’t have a framework or tools to understand and analyse it. The framework they need is strategic workforce planning. Every CEO and executive team should be able to answer these questions:
- Which roles are critical to the delivery of our strategy?
- Do we have the capability and capacity to deliver our strategy?
- What are the right things to spend our people budget on?
- What kind of people do we need to achieve our goals?
By answering these questions, organisations can structure recruitment practices to anticipate talent gaps, manage the existing workforce and prepare for future changes.
When should workforce planning commence?
It should be considered as part of a company’s normal strategic planning process, taking into account the strategic goals outlined in the company’s planning framework.
Where an organisation’s workforce planning needs may require major financial resources, the planning should be carried out in line with the company’s budgetary cycle so funding for associated strategies is considered as part of the company’s funding bids.
Think about the internal factors affecting your workforce, such as people approaching retirement age or finishing their apprenticeship, and workforce turnover rates.
This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the October 2015 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘AHRI:ASSIST’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.