Create a Future-Proof Hiring Strategy: 6 Benefits of Workforce Planning

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

What is workforce planning and what benefits could it offer in terms of recruitment?

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Create a Future-Proof Hiring Strategy: 6 Benefits of Workforce Planning

Every manager knows that thorough planning is the key to success when it comes to doing business. However, looking to the future should also include a plan for the workforce if you want to ensure you're hiring and retaining the best possible talent.

Failing to have a strategy in place to locate and nurture skilled employees could mean your organization not only misses out, but also loses money and profits in the long run.

What is workforce planning and why does it matter?

In its simplest terms, workforce planning is putting the correct person in the correct job at the correct time to ensure you're never over or under-staffed. Essentially, it's a way of aligning your human resources with your business strategy to allow organizations to run efficiently and effectively, which requires both optimizing for today and planning for tomorrow.

With a careful plan in place, CHROs should be able to check workforce demand against supply in order to address gaps and create a set of employees who have the agility, flexibility and resilience to deal with whatever projects come their way.

Importantly, workforce planning may also go hand-in-hand with succession planning to ensure any essential roles can be filled quickly when they are vacated.

What are the benefits of workforce planning?

There are many key benefits of workforce planning for HR managers that can help to future-proof the hiring process and keep employees happy. Here are just a few of them:

1. It creates a long-term strategy

With workforce planning, issues with current staffing levels can be highlighted and any future risks analyzed. For instance, hiring too many employees and constantly having to replace them is a waste of the company budget.

Indeed, according to the Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can add up to 30% of the employee's potential first-year earnings, not to mention the resources wasted in training. Using a plan to maximize the likelihood of hiring the right person could be a major stress reliever and cut costs in the long run.

2. Workforce discrepancies can be assessed

Any company could fall foul of overlooking gaps and abilities among its employees, but workforce planning reduces the chances of this happening by providing a bird's eye view of who may be needed in future and what qualifications they may require.

This is important at a time of global skills shortages, with a recent Korn Ferry report stating more than 85 million jobs could go unfulfilled by 2030 because there aren't enough qualified people to take them.

"Organizations must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps now to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforces," said Korn Ferry's Yannick Binvel - and that's just what workforce planning does.

3. It aids with accurate forecasting

Anticipating change is hugely important in HR, and the accurate forecasting workforce planning can provide will surely be a big help for any business.

For example, how will labor costs grow over time? How many employees are retiring in the coming years? According to the Pew Research Center, the number of baby boomers leaving the workforce annually is going up, so this may be just one of the issues that requires more consideration.

Good forecasting can assist with this by predicting the necessary talent requirements and showing how they fit in with both short and long-term goals for the business as a whole.

4. It can help lower recruitment costs

As mentioned earlier, bad hires can prove costly, but even apparently good ones can turn sour. However, with workforce planning, a profile of the traits of high-performing employees can be created and then used as a template for future recruitment. This should ensure new candidates are more likely to be a long-term fit, which will in turn boost morale and engagement and cut the chances of other staff leaving further down the track.

5. Gaps in talent can be identified

With a long-term plan in place, CHROs should find it simpler to see where there are spaces in the workforce that managers can justify filling for the company as it is today. What's more, taking the long view like this should also assist with future projections by seeing where new hires may be needed in the months and years to come, making for a more proactive and less reactive approach to recruitment. 

6. It helps keep employees happy

Finally, strategic workforce planning doesn't just help with on-boarding new staff, but can also assist with keeping existing ones happy too. When HR teams have a proper plan for the budget and new hires - as opposed to grabbing them when they think it's needed - they can see where there might be money in the bank for raises and bonuses for high achievers. Furthermore, better planning can improve wellbeing and decrease absenteeism, all of which can prevent resignations and retain the top talent you already have for longer.

As you can see, workforce planning can have a wide remit that covers recruitment, retention and everything in between. Although it may not be a quick fix to implement, taking this kind of integrated approach should help your organization to work out where more input is needed - and that could be a step towards future-proofing your hiring strategy.

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