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3 Strategic Workforce Planning Strategies for 2022

Currently, many business owners, managers, and HR departments are taking a closer look at their overall workforce planning strategies. With the Great Reshuffle or Great Resignation throughout 2021, many businesses discovered the importance of managing their workforce planning more effectively in order to identify potential talent shortages or even employee shortages before they arrive. 

Are you utilizing strategic workforce planning strategies as part of your plans?

Workforce Planning Strategy #1: Current Workforce Evaluation

As part of this strategy, you can start with a look at your current workforce to help you determine how it's functioning and what needs you might have in the future.

Start with a look at your existing employees and your current business goals. Are those employees adequate to the tasks that you need them to accomplish? 

Consider employee workforce factors like:

  • Do specific tasks regularly fall through the gaps, in part because you do not have adequate people to cover those needs?
  • Do your employees frequently feel overworked? Is burnout a serious problem in your organization?
  • Are there specific skills that your business needs but that your employees might not have? 
  • How much turnover do you see in your business on an average year?

How a current workforce evaluation will drive your strategic workforce planning strategy

Suppose, for example, that you are creating a strategic workforce plan for a sales team. You have 10 current salespeople. 

Those salespeople are chronically overworked. They struggle to keep up with all of the leads coming through the sales funnel. In fact, you have noticed that more and more of your leads seem to be falling through the cracks. You also see a high degree of turnover in the sales department, with as many as half of your salespeople leaving each year.

On closer evaluation of your workforce, you realize that each of your 10 salespeople is doing around 20% more work than they should realistically be expected to accomplish each day, leaving them with relatively little breathing room. 

If you hire an additional two salespeople, your business will be better equipped to keep up with current demand. Since you know that you typically need to hire an additional five salespeople each year (though you may alleviate that by reducing some of the workload and burnout present in your current climate), you should be prepared to hire seven salespeople over the course of the next year. 

On the other hand, suppose that, in your department of 10 salespeople, your salespeople are struggling to find enough to do to occupy their days. 

While you don't need to let anyone go immediately, you may estimate that the sales team will function just as efficiently with a nine-person team as it does with a 10-person team. You generally lose two workers each year to another job, so you may need to plan to hire one salesperson next year. 

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Workforce Planning Strategy #2: Future Needs Evaluation

Ideally, your business will continue to grow regularly. You do not want to let your business become stagnant, missing out on opportunities. Instead, you want to look for ways for it to expand—and your workforce is a critical part of that. 

A future needs evaluation takes a look at your future business goals and what you need to accomplish in order to reach them. 

For example, you might want to consider these strategic business factors:

  • What do you want to accomplish for your business? What are your goals for 2022?
  • How many employees do you need in place to help you accomplish those goals? 
  • What skills do your employees need to have in order to accomplish those goals?

How to empower your workplace planning strategy with a future workforce needs evaluation

Suppose you run a busy managed IT services firm. In the past, you have provided primarily basic tech support for your customers. 

However, as you move into 2022, you want to expand to offering cybersecurity protections for your business. You estimate that around half of your customers will want to take advantage of those cybersecurity services. You also want to continue to grow your tech support department.

Currently, you have 10 team members on staff, and you want to grow the tech support part of the business by 20% in 2022. 

In order to flesh out your team and keep your business growing, you may need to increase your existing employee base by 20%, or two team members. Then, you may need to hire people with the cybersecurity skills you need in order to fulfill the new products you're planning to offer your customers. 

If you plan to offer cybersecurity services to an estimated half of your current customers, you may need around five team members who have cybersecurity training. 

If your existing employees have cybersecurity training, or you can help your employees add those skills, you may need to add additional team members in your tech support department to free up existing team members to take on those new roles. 

Workforce Planning Strategy #3: Skills Evaluation

As part of your strategic workforce planning strategy, it's important to evaluate your existing employees' skills. Your workforce isn't just about the number of people you have. It's also about the specific skills they have. 

Make sure that you regularly ask:

  • What skills do your employees have? Do they have additional skills or training that could help prepare them to move into a bigger role?
  • What skills do your employees need? Are there skills that your employees should be training if they want to advance into a new role with the company? What about skills they need to train in order to help your business grow?
  • What training does your company need to prove to existing employees—both individually and corporately—in order to help them reach their highest potential?

How a strategic workforce skills evaluation might work

Suppose that you work in a content production agency. Your team members focus primarily on blogging. However, in recent years, you have learned that you may need to expand your content offerings to video, as well. You also need to bring a photographer onto the team.

You discover that two of your existing team members have some photography skills that can allow them to take over some of those job responsibilities, and they're very interested in the role. 

Furthermore, one team member has existing production skills that will make it easy for them to step into a role as a videographer or editor. However, other team members may need additional training to become comfortable in front of or away from the camera.

As you identify those skills gaps, you may also discover that you will need to bring on new team members, both to fill in those new positions and to fill the gaps left by team members stepping into new roles. Assessing your new candidates for needed skills becomes increasingly critical as you realize that you need people to step into specific roles immediately. 

Let Crosschq Help With Your Strategic Workforce Planning Strategy

As your team grows and your business's needs change, strategic workforce planning becomes increasingly important. By regularly utilizing these strategies—and combining them—you can create a more effective plan for the future of your business and ensure that you have the right employees you need to help you get there. 

Part of the best strategies involve recruiting candidates to help grow your business. Schedule a demo with Crosschq's product experts to see how our recruiting, talent sourcing, and analytics software solutions can help you.

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Debra Carney

by Debra Carney

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