Future Proofing versus Reactionary hiring- How Talent can contribute to effective workforce planning
It’s that time of year again when we are all starting to look at the year ahead – and for most, this involves looking at workforce planning. Yet, all too often, this happens in a silo that separates out those that are going to be finding the talent from those that are defining what will be needed in terms of new hires this year, and what will be needed from existing staff in terms of capabilities and skills improvement.
This leads to an ineffective hiring strategy, a reactionary approach that can lead to snap decision-making and inappropriate usage of current staff, and a generally unhappy workforce that sees new hires coming in without the investment being generated in their own careers. In this article, we explore how you can exploit the skills of your talent partners to try and avoid some of these commons mistakes.
What is workforce planning?
Ask any number you pick of decision makers what workforce planning is, and you will get any number of different answers. For each organization their challenges are different, and as such their definition of future proofing their workforce may look completely different. In essence though, the key areas are Operational, and Strategic.
Operational workforce planning is focused on more short term outlooks existing skills, capabilities, and resources back to more near term requirements.
Strategic workforce planning addresses not only the number of people required to execute the business strategy, but looks at the skills and capabilities those individuals will need in the long-term.
These elements will form key budgetary and people based decisions for the future, including:
- Workforce costs
- Hiring costs
- Training costs
- Training strategy and development
- People career development opportunities
- Productivity KPIS
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Who should be involved in these conversations?
In an ideal world, organisations would be able to accurately predict the year ahead , produce a lovely plan, and execute it exactly. In the real world, the market evolves and changes continually. Keeping these conversations solely between the traditional involvement of functional management and budget owners takes out a lot of the input your talent team can add.
Utilising all the knowledge that those on the sharp end of the finding the right talent can ensure that companies are approaching their people needs with a clear sense of what the market can actually provide.
What can talent bring to the table?
- Real life understanding of hiring costs. Salary guides and market information available is of huge use and should play a vital part in the costing of future hires as well as bench marking current teams, but that data has a fault in that its based on current requirements. These do not accurately reflect the decision people need to make in order to move- and these often are weighted upwards of their current salaries, not a simple benchmark against current market conditions
- True visibility of skills shortages. Your talent team are spending most of their time speaking to individuals and searching within that space. They know, much more accurately, how difficult it is to find true experts within in demand areas, and can provide a clear guidance on wither this is something that should be hired in, or upskilled internally.
- Accurate time to hire. Decision making made in a panic , often leads to the wrong hiring decisions. When drawing up a workforce plan for the year having a clear understanding of when skills will be required will be most effective when working to a sensible understanding of when those skills will actually be available to the organisation, and your talent team should be at the sharp end of helping to plan that
- Candidate viewpoint of the organisation- a key factor both in attrition and hiring new staff. It’s easy for organisations to ignore that employer reputation is key in both elements, and your talent team again will have a real view on this. Understanding what the market view of your company as an employer of choice is often reflected in your current staffs view as much of this information is shared through word of mouth, referrals, and online reviews/ conversations , particularly in smaller skills communities. Getting ahead of the challenges this may provide will help with both attracting the best, and keeping those MVPS that you already have- your talent team can help with that
- Finally, better understanding equals better hiring. Its impossible to plan for every eventuality, and there will be times where hiring a new skill set or person urgently becomes a top priority. Really embedding your talent acquisition into the people strategy of the organisation informs better hires- if they understand the actual need in a wider context, they get it right quicker , and often more cost effectively
2023 is going to be an interesting year, full of new challenges for organisations as they seek to adjust to the social changes that have occurred in the workforce, skills shortages within a complex employment outlook, and uncertain economic look outs. Its never been more key to ensure that the strategies around hiring and people management are fit for purpose, cost effective, and strategically aligned to business needs in a way that is agile enough to allow for shifts in conditions whilst still providing operational effectiveness in the short term. Looking at your talent team as a key part of the initial planning phase, as opposed to an end result of passing requirements down that may not be realistic in terms of budget, timeliness or skill set, ensures the best possible outcome for your organisation.
At Troi, our hugely experienced talent acquisition managers have decades of experience helping organisations grow. Their unsurpassed knowledge of the marketplace, combined with the workforce planning skills developed over years of helping companies grow mean that when you have them as part of your team, you are not just getting someone to fill your jobs – you are getting a strategic team member that can help you plan for the future, not just react to challenges that are presented, and ultimately end up with the best of hires, not just what was available at that precise moment.