Developing a Workforce Planning Strategy


Where's your company going to be in a year? If you think that's an easy question, you probably already have a strategy. If that question makes you uneasy, it's time to create and implement a workforce planning strategy to insure success in the coming year. Work through these five questions to set your business up for success.


What's Your Environment? 

Having a clear picture of your market and customer is the first step in workforce planning strategy development. Those same questions you asked when you started your business need to be redressed with the current marketplace. What is your company mission? Who is your competition? What are the regulations guiding your business? What internally is stopping your success? Developing a 360 degree view of where you are provides meaningful insight into your future. Start developing a strategy by getting a full picture of where the business is internally and externally.


Where Are You Going? 

Once you've developed a company landscape, you need a destination. What's your goal this year? Do you want to double your sales force or focus on employee productivity? Are you going to break into a new market or redevelop current products? Limit your workforce planning strategy to goals that can be achieved within the year. Much like a cross-country road trip, you can't jump from New York City to Los Angeles. You need to plan stops. If your long-term strategy is to reach global markets, a good intermediary goal may be to reach one international market this year. Look at the final goal and find a manageable mid-point to drive your business in that direction.


Who Do You Need to Achieve Your Goals? 

The best laid plans can't be achieved without the resources to drive them. To increase sales or reach more markets, you need people, product, and resources. Part of your staff planning strategy is determining how many of these resources you will need. If your goal is to increase your workforce by twenty percent, that increase doesn't happen in a vacuum. Determining how much more product that twenty percent will produce and how many more resources that will require is essential. A workforce management system can provide historical details and future projections to make this part of your staff planning strategy as exact as possible. 


How Do You Get There? 

While developing goals is great, without a meaningful plan to reach them, they won't be accomplished. The next step in a workforce planning strategy is determining the specific steps to get to your goals. This is the step to develop instructions on how to reach those goals. Much like a recipe, laying out how your strategy will be implemented step-by-step and determining what departments or employees will be involved in each portion is essential to measuring your success and keeping the company on track for success. 


When Do You Get There? 

Once you've developed a staff planning strategy and implemented your plan, your work isn't finished. Even well laid plans reach roadblocks and resistance. Frequent check-ins and alterations to the plan help keep the company on track to achieve its goals. Reassessing the plan and the goal consistently ensures that not only does the strategy still work for the company and the direction it's going but also that the goals will be met. 

Developing a workforce planning strategy to guide your company through the next year is a great way to check-in on the state of your market and keep the company on track for continued growth. These five questions can build a solid strategy for the coming year. 


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