Three common scenarios where strategic workforce planning becomes essential
You’re a manager at an enterprise level company and you have a team of employees to oversee.
You know that every day, there are changes happening around the world that could affect your organization. The internet is moving faster than ever, technology can solve problems we couldn’t imagine just ten years ago and businesses are being born in the time it takes to read this sentence.
When you’re running an enterprise-level corporation with thousands of employees, it can be hard to keep up with the pace of change. In fact, studies show that companies which aren't agile enough will ultimately fail. But if you have a plan for how to respond when change happens in your industry or company, then you're well positioned for success. In this blog post I'll outline some common scenarios where strategic workforce planning becomes essential for business continuity and success (and what strategies you should put into place now).
Your company sets up a new project
You are in charge of a new project, and you need to be able to ramp up quickly. How do you plan for this? Strategic workforce planning is key. The first step is to identify the skills and workforce required for the project and determine how many people will be needed and their skill sets. Next, it’s important that your company has a strategy in place for ensuring you have the right mix of skills in your workforce, this strategy could include a mix of recruitment and retraining existing employees. This includes creating job descriptions that clearly outline what’s required by each position and creating an onboarding process so new hires can be productive as soon as they get started working on the project.
Once those steps have been taken, it’s time to consider your employee retention strategy, or Employee Value Proposition (EVP), so you can retain as many employees as possible once their initial contracts expire—and also keep them engaged while they’re working on your team.
Key people leave the company unexpectedly
If you have not undertaken strategic workforce planning, it can be difficult to plan for the loss of key employees. When key employees leave unexpectedly, the organization could be left in a state of disarray.
The good news is that strategic workforce planning allows you to plan in advance for this type of situation. By creating an integrated succession plan and having multiple leaders trained and ready to fill in at any time, your company will be better prepared to handle shocks like this from within.
The market shifts significantly and your department needs to find new ways to serve customers
A market shift could be when the way people use a product or service changes. For example, if consumers begin using smartphones instead of desktop computers for their internet searches. The consequences of a market shift are that your department may need to find new ways to work and serve customers.
To prepare for a potential market shift in your industry, you could:
Understand which parts of your current business model work well and which not so well. If there are areas of your current business model that aren't working well but you're afraid change could be too risky or expensive, it’s far more prudent to address those issues in advance, before they become more serious problems!
Consider new methods of delivery, and what skills would be needed to facilitate this change, by planning in advance the initial version doesn’t need to be perfect and the solution could be developed over time using a test and learn approach.
Planning for these events enables you to keep your organization running smoothly no matter what life throws at it
It is the responsibility of HR leaders to prepare for a variety of scenarios that could impact their business or organization.
Now that you know what strategic workforce planning is and have a few examples of when it’s necessary, it’s time to take action. Think about your own organization and identify one scenario where you could use this type of planning. Then get started.