How to Execute Effective Workforce Planning and Avoid Layoffs

Workforce Planning

A severe economic crisis usually accompanies turbulent global events. HR managers worldwide are getting ready to face the adverse effects of the upcoming crises, seeking practical solutions to retain top talent and avoid layoffs.

Workforce planning can be the solution they’re looking for. This effective practice involves in-depth workforce analysis combined with predictions about the staffing needs to avoid overstaffing and layouts. 

If you still wonder why you need to implement workforce planning and whether it will work for your company, here are your answers.

The crucial reason for workforce planning when the time is tough is to lower costs and enhance your current employees’ efficiency while cutting time to market. You will be ready for whatever comes your way because you’ll have the right number of employees in appropriate roles with appropriate skill sets. 

And yes, if done right and with the help of advanced tools, like an employee tracking app, workforce planning can bring numerous benefits to your business. Efficient workforce planning can lead to lower turnover rates and labor costs, streamlined business processes, enhanced internal opportunities, and fewer layoffs. 

Here, you’ll find out more about steps you can take toward effective workforce planning and optimizing your business to be prepared for impending economic crises. 

4 Steps to an Excellent Workforce Planning

Numerous HR professionals are considering the idea of workforce planning, but they fail to follow through, thinking that this is a daunting and time-consuming task. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to workforce planning, here are the 4 most common stages of this process:

  • Workforce analysis involves assessing current labor supply and employees’ needs, as well as their needs for the future.  
  • Staffing Gap Analysis is about identifying gaps between the current workforce and the future staffing demand. Here you’ll also tackle gaps in the company’s ability to forecast how employees’ needs may change in the future.
  • Workforce Plan Implementation is a stage where you take action to identify and bridge the staffing gap.
  • Workforce Plan Results Assessment includes monitoring success metrics to make sure your workforce plan brought the wanted results.

Let’s walk you through each stage of this process to ensure you execute the workforce planning successfully and optimize your employee results to go through the crisis unaffected.

Perform In-Depth Workforce Analysis

This is the first and most decisive step when it comes to your workforce planning effectiveness. If you want to get invaluable information about what your employees need to excel in their current roles, you need detailed insight into their performance, among other things. 

This is what work tracking data can offer. By analyzing this data you can find out how your employees spend their work hours. You can track the time spent on specific tasks or projects, monitor how their productivity fluctuates, and see what apps and websites they go to to get their job done. 

This insight will help you predict what your employees may need to be more efficient in the future. Also, you may discover the external and internal factors that affect your employees’ performance and provide support to overcome specific issues where needed.

Finally, you can identify current job and competence requirements by pairing these with specific employees’ skills set.

This stage will allow you to find out what your staff needs, identify their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges they face, and offer them opportunities to grow professionally.

This is how you’ll ensure that you have all the right people in the right positions highly engaged in their work. 

Identify Staffing Gaps

In this stage of workforce planning, you can use workforce analysis results to pinpoint the gap between your overall staffing needs and the current supply of labor,i.e., the number of hours and the number of your current employees that are willing and able to spend at work.

The employee tracking app can come in handy in this stage too, showing you accurate employees’ time and attendance records. This data will tell what positions are demanding and requires more staff, as opposed to those that may be redundant. You can use this information to determine whether you have more employees than you need. Or quite contrary, you are experiencing a shortage of staff, and this affects your overall business. 

Also, you can use information gathered in the previous stage to find out the employees eligible for retirement and find adequate replacements for vacant positions timely. Or think of alternative work arrangements, like outsourcing, to prevent vacancy issues due to retirement.

Finally, create an actionable talent management plan that will address skill gap issues, offering adequate training and development opportunities to employees to make sure they excel in their roles. This will help you retain top talent at the level needed for optimal performance and business functioning. 

Implement the Workforce Planning Effectively

Once you determine the staffing gap and create a talent action plan, it’s time to put your plan into action. But, bear in mind that this workforce planning doesn’t finish once you close all the gaps or your workforce is optimized. This is an ongoing process of adjusting to the changing future needs.

Therefore, to ensure that your company is ready to face whatever challenges the future holds, you need to implement this effective solution in succession planning, leadership development, top talent recruitment and retention, and creating clear career paths for your employees. And many other business processes and practices crucial for keeping your business afloat during a recession. 

Assess Your Workforce Planning Effectiveness

The final step in the workforce planning process is the assessment of the results. You should create a team responsible for monitoring predetermined success metrics to determine whether your workforce planning brought desired results and achieved set goals.

Once you analyze this assessment you can whether your company benefits from this plan or whether you need to address specific issues to make it more effective.

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