Avoiding Workforce Planning Pitfalls


Contingent labor management

Human resources departments around the country face many challenges regarding balancing talent retention and improving productivity with managing internal changes and the talent acquisition strategy. With proper workforce planning, these goals can be managed efficiently and effectively.

Tips for workforce planning.

  1. Conduct an audit of your existing talent. Often companies lose sight of the talent they already have. You know the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt”? In businesses, people are overlooked for some of their talents because they have not had the chance to show them off. Review the current team and think about what your needs are. If you need a new web site, before you run out to hire a graphic design firm or look to independent contractor solutions look at current staff. You might be surprised to find your director of marketing was hired as a graphic designer. If you hire outside help to perform work that people in house are qualified to do (and that they want to do), you hurt morale.
  2. Understand the strategic importance of workforce planning. Employee retention is extremely important to the bottom line. Having an appropriate system in place for total workforce management is key. Recruitment and training cost companies millions each year. After you have reviewed your talent, look at how your company communicates with the staff. Studies show that money is often not the factor that determines if an employee likes where they work. Employees who are given the tools they need to do their jobs, appropriate feedback and feel they are making a contribution to the company are happier and more likely to stay with a firm. This builds a cohesiveness that helps the company thrive.
  3. Perform a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats assessment of your business. You need to know where your business stands vis-a-vis the market you are in and the political environment. This will give your workforce planning team a direction to  take and a better understanding of what the company needs to do to grow. Look at how diverse your management is. Try to look at your organization as someone on  the outside would see you. Are you projecting the image you want to project? Recently reports out of Amazon showed that the work environment there is cutthroat and nothing like the image people had of them. If some report like that is going to come out about your business, you need to know beforehand so that you can manage both the internal and external reaction.

Many companies will go through the motions of designing a workforce planning strategy and then never implement it. The problem is often that while managers and other talent are talked to, the entire process becomes fragmented and communication between departments can break down. On the other side of that, companies try to do to much at once and then become overwhelmed. It is always easier to stick with the status quo than make big changes. In order to be successful businesses should begin by analyzing a few key roles and build the strategy out from there.


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