Applying emotional intelligence in the workplace

Tips for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning

18 Jan 2018


Strategic workforce planning is one of the key tools to improve your workforce capability and make it work efficiently for your business. With a better understanding of your workforce, and greater alignment with your mission, you will be able to deliver better outputs to your clients. Strategic workforce planning will not only add value to your company, it will also increase productivity, and make your workplace a better place for your employees. 


 Below are some guidelines to help you rationalise the workforce planning process:


 1.     Define company competencies.

Most successful companies have a solid plan of action for sustaining their current business model and plans for their future growth. It is imperative to clearly define your organisation’s competencies as part of this model. This means understanding what skills your staff have, their levels of expertise, and checking if those skills are aligned with the company goals. Through defining the present and future company competencies, you will be able to align the the workforce with your mission and settle your goals as an organisation. If you have not done this before, you may wish to undertake a competency mapping exercise; a skills matrix. This can be done at team, department or organisation level working with managers and staff to plan the best way to collect the information and data that you need.


  2.     Recognise skill gaps.

Once you have completed defining the competencies of the company, you will be able to identify where you have skills you are not utilising, and what skills your organisation is lacking overall. If you are to be expert in your field, your employees need to have the skill sets and proficiencies to deliver your promise. An effective appraisal and objective setting process is key to managing you staff capabilities. 


Once you know where the most important skill gaps are, you will be able to make plans to address them. You can now either improve your staff skills by delivering a training package, or recruit new members of the team with the skills set you require. There are plenty of appraisal & objective setting templates on the Internet; the key to effective appraisal is not the process by the level of engagement and trust between the appraiser and the appraisee. 


 3.     Collect and analyse data.

Your company will need to have some type of skills analysis and record system (this will be very much dependant upon the size of the company). This workforce intelligence is important to ensure flexibility in the face of change and efficient growth for your organisation. Your managers and leaders need knowledge of their workforce and the tools to keep everyone motivated and on track. It’s important to have an ongoing record of each employee’s current skill set, continued learning activities and progress in order to analyse the effectiveness of continued learning activities.


 4.     Your training should be aligned with your corporate goals.

You can now create a plan for training and other continued learning initiatives to help your company develop and succeed. It is important to have a successful competency-based training programme which incorporates a learning structure that is viable for the different types of employees within your organisation. 


With a competency-based learning system, staff can learn at their own pace and meet realistic goals in line with their objectives and personal development plan. You may wish to consider a thinking styles assessment (such as MindSonar) and team or individual coaching to maximise productivity.


 5.     Develop a customised strategy.

Having checked and followed the guidelines above, you can now have a framework for success. However, it is important to understand that not all organisations are the same, and what works for one company may not work for you. You need to find out what works for your company and make it yours, make it a part of the culture of your organisation. Keep in mind that strategic workforce planning is an ongoing, multifaceted process that will need regular tweaking to meet the changes, within your organisation, and from the world around you. 

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