As an Operations Manager, workforce planning is central to the success of your business. With such a significance placed on the workforce planning process, it is essential, if not crucial, to get this right. Below we take a look at the ins and outs of workforce planning, identify six important workforce planning steps, and look at ways to improve this process within your business.
Overview of Workforce Planning Process
To understand the importance of the workforce planning process, it is essential to understand what workforce planning is. Simply put, workforce planning is the process of analysing, forecasting, and planning workforce supply and demand, assessing gaps, and identifying what changes you need to make to ensure that your organisation can keep up with job needs and requirements.
It is essentially balancing labour supply and skills against the demand and numbers needed. This requires you to analyse the current workforce, determine future workforce needs, what skills are missing, and implement solutions that meet your organisation’s goals and strategic objectives.
The workforce planning process is about ensuring that you have the correct number of employees, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost and on the right job so that all service levels and workforce requirements are met.
Why is workforce planning important?
A strategic workforce plan is a core business process and when done effectively, has many benefits for an organisation. These include:
- Reducing labour costs in relation to over or understaffing.
- The ability to identify and respond to the changing needs of customers in relation to labour planning.
- Devise appropriate strategies for people development that aims to improve employee retention.
- Identify and improve target areas and KPIs to improve profitability and grow the business.
- Identify and rectify inefficiencies.
- Boost productivity through effective planning to ensure that the right employee is at the right place at the right time.
Six important steps in the Workforce Planning Model
To reap the benefits mentioned above, you must have a workforce planning process in place. We have highlighted six important steps in the workforce planning process that you can use as a workplace planning example:
- Strategic Direction –to put a workforce planning process together, it is essential that you define your goals and objectives, both present and future, as your workforce will need to be aligned to this.
- Supply Analysis – also often referred to as a staffing assessment or a workforce analysis, aims to identify and analyse an organisation’s current labour supply, e.g., the number of staff, credentials, experience, and roles.
- Demand Analysis – often called a demand model, examines and defines future business plans and objectives.
- Gap Analysis – compares the differences in the supply assessment and demand models in relation to the goals and objectives to identify skill surpluses and deficiencies.
- Solution Implementation – focuses on workforce resourcing and aims to address the gaps related to current and future staffing needs through recruiting, training, development, outsourcing, and more.
- Monitoring Progress – this is ongoing and aims to monitor the performance of the solutions that have been impacted to see if they have managed to accurately address the gaps identified and if the organisation is in line with its goals and objectives.
Best practices for workforce planning
The workforce planning process mentioned above is essential in ensuring that the goals for your organisation are aligned to your workforce and its operations. To make this process more efficient, there are several workforce planning best practices that you can put into place. These include:
- Get the right people in at the right time and place – This is the winning formula for effective workforce planning. Having the right staff, in terms of qualifications, at the correct location or job and at the right time all comes down to effective scheduling and having complete visibility of your workforce.
- Find the right workforce planning tool – there are several workforce management tools on the market that aim to enhance scheduling, making it more efficient and effective. Many of them also enable you to track and manage employee productivity.
- Get forecasting right – forecasting is key to an effective strategic workforce planning framework. This will help you identify peak business times of the year and schedule these accordingly. If done efficiently, you can put together a profitable workforce plan.
- Make use of analytics and reporting – access to data and insights related to productivity, overtime, absenteeism, customer satisfaction etc enable you to easily identify issues, problems, or opportunities to improve and grow the business.
How can EasyRoster assist with effective workforce planning?
One of the most important best practices mentioned above is having the right workforce planning tool in place. With the right tool, you will have access to the insights and data necessary to effectively manage your workforce planning process. One such tool is EasyRoster, an innovative workforce management solution. How does EasyRoster assist with workforce planning? The answer lies in the functionality below:
- Contract and Human Resource management – The contract management functionality ensures that the contract values and requirements are known so that schedules and attendance can be measured according to client requirements. The human resource management functionality ensures that all personnel details are known to provide the correct scheduling and posting of staff at the right sites.
- Staff scheduling – The staff scheduling functionality allows managers to create a master schedule by allocating personnel to sites or locations with shift patterns, hours, times, allowances, and rates to automatically create site rosters for each period.
- Time and Attendance per location – The Time and Attendance functionality allows managers to automatically post personnel according to site rosters and manually post the exceptions. Clocking devices may also be used to post attendance details automatically.
- Management Reporting – EasyRoster allows managers to generate more than 100 different types of reports to improve labour utilisation and efficiency while meeting client requirements.
The data and insights generated from the above functions will provide you as an operations manager with the information needed to ensure your workforce planning process is as accurate and efficient as possible.
From the above, it is clear that workforce planning processes are essential to a business’s success. Operations Managers need to follow the six crucial steps of effective workforce planning and best practices for this process to work efficiently. One of the elements that stand out as being significantly essential to this process is the need for an effective built for purpose workforce management tool, like EasyRoster. For more on how EasyRoster can benefit your workforce planning process, click here.
As a Senior Product Manager at Adapt IT, I lead the division responsible for one of our flagship products, EasyRoster. Our primary focus is to empower organisations with top-tier Workforce Management Software, enabling them to optimise operational efficiency and streamline processes.
With over 12 years of experience in the industry, I have collaborated with clients across 25+ countries, delivering training sessions and offering labor efficiency consultations to diverse groups of professionals.
In my capacity as Senior Product Manager, I oversee a multidisciplinary team that together, strive to create innovative solutions and maintain our commitment to excellence in the realm of workforce management.