Productivity and workforce planning when selling man hours: 8 simple tips


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With proper productivity and workforce planning, your human resources department is awarded the following benefits :

  • Enhanced understanding of future human capital requirements and possible risks of staffing shortages.
  • Ability to take quick action to unexpected changes.
  • Employee productivity strategies that provide realistic costs and time-frames.
  • Decreased costs and improved efficiency.
  • HR departments can identify the best training programs.

8 simple tips to follow to help optimise productivity and workforce planning:

#1: Plan around business strategy

The very first step is to collect all relevant information around your productivity and workforce planning and consult with team managers to get realistic details.

Based on the company’s business strategy which includes projected needs about goals and required employee amounts, discuss duration, necessary skills and employee engagement to achieve the overall business plan.


#2:Conduct an employee audit

It’s important to know the “state of the nation”, so conduct an employee audit. If you currently use spreadsheets, bring them all together to produce one single source of data in order to provide the truth and so get accuracy.

What you need to know is:

  • Headcount
  • Skills gaps
  • Potential leaders
  • Trends
  • Weak areas

#3: Use the right technology

Improve workforce management and efficiency with workforce management software. Using the right technology to manage your human capital is essential, and offers the following benefits:

  • Saves time and therefore costs.
  • Puts management on top of things.
  • Helps manage changes and unexpected events.
  • Helps identify problem areas and trends.
  • Cuts down planning time.

#4: On-site quality checks

It is all too easy to adopt “out of sight, out of mind” thinking, but the fact is that when companies sell man-hours, the business revolves around employee productivity and behaviour, and people are a risky business.

As such, it is vital to perform regular, unscheduled on-site quality checks, especially when you provide staff to a few companies at multiple locations.  While checks should be spontaneous to the staff on-site, make sure management allocates time for this; some sites may require more time than others.

#5: Create a hierarchy

No matter how much of a bad rap the good ol’ business hierarchy has received, when you have to manage staff at multiple locations, there is nothing better than creating a hierarchy.

You have to put people in charge of other people and monitor each one’s management (workforce management software is a great help with this).

But not everyone is geared to lead, so be sure to identify the right people for leadership positions, and empower them with mentorship and training. They, in turn, must do the same for the people they lead.


#6: Communication is key

A lack of communication is one of the biggest problems in companies of all sizes.

For example, according to Gallup, only one-third of employees say they are “engaged.” This is meaningful because when staff are more engaged with the company, it reduces absenteeism and increases productivity.

In addition, when employees feel engaged, they are happier and this impacts their interaction with your clients. Never forget that on-site staff are advertising your business positively or negatively every single day.

#7: Identify frequent under-staffing hot spots

If under-staffing is a frequent occurrence,  hiring people at short notice can hike up the payroll.

Hold discussions with relevant managers to identify where frequent under-staffing may occur, or where it is already occurring.

Performing analysis, find out the root causes of why. Also be sure to understand the root causes of larger turnover rates in one department compared to another, and then work on long term solutions, like:

  • Offering the right benefits.
  • Giving staff the right tools.
  • Hiring the right type of people.

#8: Stay on top of people issues

Staying one step ahead decreases the number of surprises and chaos.

Workforce planning software provides an easy and fast way to get a clear view of who’s taking leave, for how long, who’s due for maternity leave, those who are heading for retirement, upcoming promotions that will require a succession plan, and so on.

Getting insights and analyzing them will allow management to plan well ahead.


Good productivity and workforce planning reduces risk, allows for quick action, decreases cost, improves efficiency and staff productivity and enhances training planning.

Tips include:

  1. Base planning around the overall business strategy.
  2. Know employee numbers and trends.
  3. Use workforce management technology.
  4. Conduct quality checks at sites where necessary.
  5. Delegate responsibility.
  6. Create a communication culture.
  7. Identify under-staffing hot spots and fix them.
  8. Have a clear view of all staff and events.
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