For many businesses, especially those within the cleaning services industry, human capital management and efficiency are key to business success, turnover rate, and long-term profitability. Ensuring that this is managed efficiently is often more complex than it seems, especially within the context of this digital age. A key to solving these complexities is effective workforce planning, which we examine in more detail below.
Workforce planning overview
Before we unpack what effective workforce planning business strategies look like, it is important to understand what workforce planning is. Workforce planning is a process that aims to balance labour supply and skills with demand and the number of staff needed to meet that demand.
Strategic workforce planning examines the current workforce, customer needs, future workforce needs and aims to identify any gaps between these different elements. Simply put, this process ensures that you have the correct number of people with the right skills employed at the right time, at the correct cost and on the right contract or project to achieve business growth and suitability. There are three primary strategic workforce planning principles that need to be followed, these include:
- Ensure that workforce planning is aligned to your business’s current and future needs, objectives, and strategies.
- Make sure you are examining both long-term and short-term goals and opportunities.
- Focus on the roles required to ensure your business can function optimally.
When these three principles are followed, the workforce planning process will provide you with the insight necessary to make informed business decisions about employing staff and what you need in terms of your workforce to meet your business goals.
If correctly implemented, the workforce planning benefits will include:
- Alignment of your strategic planning with staff numbers and talent planning.
- Enhanced visibility over talent demand and supply issues across various areas that affect your business – overtime, added expenses, problem locations and more.
- Access to insight related to your talent decisions, if they are working efficiently and if changes need to be made in the future.
- Enabling you to make informed decisions based on accurate data relating to elements and trends that may pose a risk or impact your business.
- Enhancing the control over unplanned talent costs and employee productivity.
- Providing you with a competitive advantage in the market through proactive talent management, which also improves customer experience.
4 Workforce planning steps
From the above, it is clear that workforce planning is essential for many organisations. For this planning process to be successful, four steps need to be followed. These 4 steps include:
Step 1: The supply analysis:
This is often referred to as a supply model or staffing assessment. This step requires an analysis of the business’s labour supply. This includes the number of staff, their skills levels, positions, and more to determine how well the existing workforce supports your current business strategy.
Step 2: The demand analysis:
This analysis is often called the demand model and focuses on examining future business plans and objectives. This stage looks at the number of staff needed to complete the work at hand and any changes that could affect your workload and business in the future.
Step 3: The gap analysis:
During this stage, the supply and demand analyses are compared to identify skills surpluses and deficiencies. This stage is often combined with an action planning phase where you evaluate these gaps and create a plan to address them.
Step 4: The solution analysis:
This stage allows you to plan and implement activities to close the identified workforce gaps that might negatively impact your business and objectives. This stage often involves developing planning capabilities as well as utilising data and metrics to identify risks and opportunities associated with your workforce needs. Many businesses at this stage will look into recruiting, training or retraining, contingent staffing and hiring part-time employees.
The impact of digital transformation on workforce planning
Workforce planning is essential to business performance and profitability, but several challenges and complexities are associated with this process. Traditionally, keeping track of these elements related to your workforce and contracts were recorded manually using spreadsheets. This took up a lot of time and finding the information needed wasn’t straightforward, especially for larger businesses. Digital transformation and innovative technology has transformed this planning process and made it more accessible and efficient to track and manage.
This technology allows you to easily keep track of data related to your employees, contracts, and historical data, and will enable you to pull this up in real-time. It also often allows for reporting and analytics. This strategic direction provides valuable and actionable insights to improve efficiency, employee retention, flexibility and productivity related to workforce planning.
This sounds like the perfect solution to efficient workforce planning, but you need to remember that not all technology is created equal. This is why it is important for you to do your research and find a workforce planning software solution that speaks to your unique business objectives and understands your industry, its needs, and challenges.
For the cleaning services industry in particular, you want to look for a workforce planning solution that allows for:
- Contract and personnel management – capture and manage all vital information related to your customer contracts and your employees all in one place, efficiently and effectively.
- Automation – automate rostering to increase productivity and the efficiency of the rostering process to save time and resources.
- Time and attendance per location – provide insight into employee productivity by capturing the actual attendance details per job location.
- Forecasting – forecast wage costs including overtime, non-productive time, allowances etc. per cleaner and per site, based on the roster. Utilise these reports to keep day-to-day control of operations to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum, and cleaner requirements are precisely met.
- Reporting – utilise information gained from indepth reports and workforce analytics to make informed business decisions regarding employees, contracts, issues, problems or opportunities related to workforce planning.
- Customisation – not all businesses are the same, which means that you want to be able to customise the solution to fit your unique business needs and requirements.
One solution that ticks all of the workforce strategy boxes and offers you a way to ensure maximum labour efficiency and effective workforce planning is Adapt IT Telecom’s EasyRoster.
This solution is based on over 25 years of industry knowledge and has been specially developed to answer to the changing needs of a cleaning services business. For more on the EasyRoster Workforce Management Software and how it can change how you manage your workforce planning process, book a demo today.
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.