three steps workforce planning

Originally published in full on November 17, 2021.

Successful Workforce Planning is on every company’s agenda. Companies are scrambling to make last-minute changes to their office reopening plans due to the Delta variant. But this scenario of frequently changing plans is not just due to Covid – and will continue well into the future.

Organizations need to recognize that what works today will likely not work six months down the road in today’s increasingly unpredictable world. So, HR teams must take a much more strategic approach to their workforce planning, asking themselves key questions, such as:

  • How do we create a workforce plan that will successfully evolve with our business, both now and in the future?
  • How do we support our employees working remotely on an ongoing basis (e.g., a hybrid model) while still meeting our operational goals?
  • How can we expand our hiring scope to bigger, more distributed pools of talent?

Here are three key steps to help HR professionals address these questions and create a successful workforce plan:

Take an Agile Approach for Successful Workforce Planning

Organizations need to embrace a more proactive, flexible approach to workforce planning in collaboration with the teams responsible for People and Places decisions. To do this, they will want to adopt a more ‘agile’ mindset that enables the HR team to create a strategic plan that is continuously evolving, delivering the best results for the business, both now and in the future.

Agility is vital as HR professionals work to attract and retain employees – which is just one example of where the ‘old’ way of doing things (e.g., creating a static, annual plan) no longer fits today’s workforce models. Agile processes are often used in the software industry to streamline product development. Instead of improving software annually, updates are made continuously throughout the year, enabling companies to better match the ever-changing needs of their customers and their markets.

Several other industry sectors have adopted this agile approach, as it helps improve collaboration, increase efficiencies, and create happier teams. Likewise, workforce plans are a great candidate for an agile model, which is critical to unlocking a strategic, more continuous approach to recruiting and retaining talent.


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