Workforce Planning

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Every country wants to reduce their economic inactivity and increase their skills base of those currently in work and also future potential participants in the workforce.  Therefore it is important for companies in Northern Ireland to strategically integrate young people who are not in employment, education or training into the labour market.

Workforce planning can be defined as a company’s efforts to accurately assess its current staffing situation and then determine what adjustments should be made in order to meet any future requirements or challenges it might be facing, therefore upgrading the skills and competences of a workforce is crucial.

Our research at Cordant People IE reveals that strategic workforce planning provides the following:

Aids the budgeting process
As workforce planning outputs maintain to steadily increase, this in effect means that other business leaders will copy work models set by their competitors and counterparts and depend more on this developing resource to accommodate the budgeting process.

Recognises scarcity and shortage of qualified talent to fill essential jobs
Strategic workforce planning is crucial because it identifies talent shortages; which prepare companies to plan and locate where new sources of talent can be found and subsequently speed up the process of hiring employees to accommodate these skill shortages.

Operates as a device for detecting critical talent
In a nutshell workforce planning increases communication between human resources and business units and consequently the aptitude to recognise and retain the most skilful talented workers.

Companies are now more eager to engage with recruitment agencies to identify skill shortages and certain jobs which if cannot be filled, will ultimately affect a company’s bottom line.

Helps the strategic/business scheduling process
Strategic workforce planning should be an implanted part of the annual and multi-year business planning process.

Effective planning decisions will improve business efficiency
An organisation’s adopted strategy for recruitment and workforce planning is vital in magnetizing the right people with the correct skills to perform their roles within the company in order to perform and accomplish the organisation’s objectives.

Workforce planning is the ability to assess current and future labour requirements within a company.  Recruitment is concerned with attracting the correct applicants and having the skill to select the best applicant with the most appropriate skills to fit and match a specific job’s requirements.

Workforce planning pinpoints, and is in effect a mirror-image of, a company’s future necessities.
For example in 2009, Tesco announced annual profits passing around 3 billion pounds for the first time.  Tesco therefore planned to increase its selling space in the United Kingdom by up to 7% every year.  In order to achieve this Tesco had to reinvest their profits and create 11,000 jobs to achieve expansion plans (The Times, 22nd April 2009).

Influence of Social Media
Most companies make use of the rapid speed of the internet to communicate to candidates and potential employees.  On-line application forms, which normally include a questionnaire for an applicant to complete, will reveal a candidate’s general attitude and competence.  A company’s talent pool can speedily develop and increase as long as they target the right calibre of candidate.

Searching, locating and then attracting the best individuals to join your company are generally regarded to be the key factors for business success or failure.

All companies are accepting that competition for employing and retaining the best staff has become more intense, with skill shortages in many industries and acknowledging the fact that the current available workforce is shrinking (skilled people retiring) despite unemployment rates. 

Therefore using the best tools and preparing a schedule to incorporate a strategy, which evaluates the current accessible amount of talent, is crucial.

A company should consider:

  • What do they have need of to meet their future goals?
  • What precisely do they have at this present time?
  • Where are the gaps and shortages and consequently where are there likely to be openings in future areas of employment?
  • Where will a company plan to advertise in order to accomodate these deficiencies and what strategy of recruitment will they adopt?
  • Are they enthusiastically receptive to adjustment and variation within their organisation?

Role of Senior Managers
On paper accepting particular policies may appear uncomplicated, but it is more challenging than appears.  Senior managers in companies must accept the awareness of skill shortages and play a significant part in confronting a long-term solution and plan to find ways to help the company’s gaps.

If workforce planning is to be successful, consistent and efficient, up-to-date information is essential

Therefore, in a nutshell workforce planning is unmistakably predicting the future demand for different types of workers and where there will be a scarcity.  There is no fixed illustration of workforce planning, it is essentially examining a company’s particular workforce and then having the ability to foresee whether a company will have the means to maintain it. 

Clearly, qualifications and skills require constant development in order for a company to remain competitive within its field, and a study between a company’s existing and future workforce will show where shortages lie.  Consequently any gaps or decreases in certain areas should be the major focal point of a thorough and meticulous workforce plan.  Identifying and implementing strategies to increase the relevant areas of skill shortages will encourage a company’s long-term productivity and accomplishment.