Workforce planning is a detailed process that gives a manager the basic structure to take effective staffing decisions. The important pointers for this would be the organization’s mission, budget, resources and strategy and other desired workforce competencies.
Most organizations rely on workforce planning to maximize gains. This would begin with competency analysis of the existing workforce and extend to identifying competencies that may be needed in the future. This is followed by a comparative analysis that charts the available competencies with that of future needs and identifying the gaps and excesses.
Workforce planning starts with knowing and understanding the purpose of the whole exercise and determining the timeframe to establish the output needed to meet organizational goals.
Finding talent is a strategy needed to fill the gap between the existing supply and the forecasted demand. This is an important area in workforce planning. Recruitments are a chief source to fill this gap. Besides hiring new staff, workforce planning also includes the use of other talent scouting methods such as low-cost hiring of permanent as well as part-time employment, outsourcing, partnerships and temporary or seasonal recruitments. Each of these decisions is based on a thorough analysis for investment risks and its implications in future.
Apart from fresh recruitments in a bid to fill the talent gap, workforce planning is also about effectively managing existing talent, using methods such as implementing new work designs, organizational restructuring, flexible working hours, knowledge management and training.
An organization needs to be viewed as a shared workforce instead of a body of various departments. This is the best possible approach to ensure the availability of talent to match its requirements. Using job design is beneficial. This is a method of amalgamating tasks to form complete jobs. The main elements of job design include job succession which is placing an employee in different units at different times; job enlargement which means enhancing the scope of duties and responsibilities in the existing level and job enrichment which may include some degree of restructuring of the job profile to add work duties of a higher level. Work simplification essentially means reducing work load for a worker to enhance productivity.
Training is an indispensible aspect of workforce planning. Lack of training can render a lot of technological progress useless. Technological advancement is worthless without a well-trained workforce that can take the organization to newer heights in terms of productivity and business gains.
Knowledge management is a key tool to optimize an organization’s intellectual capital. It is a system where employees share and gain knowledge. An efficient knowledge management system can enhance an organization’s productivity, efficiency and effectively increase its bottom line. It is extremely useful during employee flux. Workforce planning has multiple benefits and is an essential part of every successful business enterprise.
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