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Workforce Planning

The  Workforce Planning : 

What, Why and How?

  • Better workforce, Better Results

The world around us today is a witness to emerging enterprises with a definitive field of entrepreneurship spreading its course across the economy. Entrepreneurship and Business contributes to a major portion of our country’s economy. It not only generates cash flow but also aids to the problems of unemployment. A Business can never be a stand alone enterprise, it has to become a part of the society and enrich its value by giving its share to it. People are the elixir to running a successful company. Hence acquiring a selective yet efficient workforce for any functional institution should be their success mantra. 

What is Workforce Planning?

The workforce of a company drives the proper functioning and growth of the company. With the help of an accomplished team, a company can rise to greater heights and attain each of its goals. However if the workforce of a company is not competent enough, then it might face serious issues and lag behind in the ever growing economy and market. Behind every established and successful business is a good team of dedicated people. In entrepreneurships, we look forward to obtaining investment from investors to run the company, pay the employees and ensure the proper functioning of the work chain. However, without an effective workforce, it would become impossible to achieve the maximum level of productivity or even manage the regular step by step procedures that help in making the company functional. The process of acquiring the best people for the most suited roles, which in turn aligns with the business goals of the company is known as workforce planning. It is a part of the people-strategy. Many businesses tend to overlook this step in a notion that there will never be a dearth of employees when required. But to build a greater business, one must first build a greater workforce. Hence planning and recruiting employees on the basis of their strengths equally aligned with a particular role in the company is the focus of workforce planning. 

What is involved in workforce planning?

Workforce planning involves a series of steps and criteria to be followed in the process. Organising a promising team requires to be accomplished via systematic screening. 

Let us study in detail the procedure of selective workforce planning. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) also identifies the critical points of workforce planning.

  1. The labour costs must be reduced to align to the workforce deployment and increase flexibility. 

Since labour costs form about 60-70% of the total costs, it must be well calculated and optimised to ensure that funds are being used to facilitate benefits to the right employees. Efficient employees when kept satisfied and happy brings growth to the company. Reducing costs and maintaining flexibility, though difficult yet, is mandatory to a prolonged period of success. Therefore labour costs must be curtailed as much as possible and be used to benefit employees who in turn can contribute to the company’s well being. 

  1. Recognising and Attending to the altering customer needs:

Having an appropriate knowledge of consumer behaviour is an important trait of the trade. The Human Resources department of a company is dedicated to this task. Studying the market and customer needs is their predominant job. They do so by working in close proximity to all the other departments of the company which helps them predict the needs and demands of the time. A steady communication must be ensured between the Human Resources (HR) and all other departments. 

According to a classic case study, Kodak did not respond well to the customer needs. It once ruled over the film and digital technology which they had procured quite earlier than the times. However they decided to focus on the film rather than the digital technology which they presumed would not turn out as great as film. But with technological advancement, the use of digital technology became a demand. Thus Kodak as a company fell from the peak of 145,000 employees to 5,000 as of August 2020. 

  1. Devising relevant strategies focused on people development: 

Employees must be hired based on their skills relevant to the requirements of a vacant role. But even if this criteria is well looked after, the demands of the time keeps changing course and new requirements crop up every now and then which asks of us new skills or more management. It must be the ardent pursuit of a company to train employees through classes, graduation programs and stretch assignments. Every time a new necessity shows up, one cannot hire other people all the time. Hence one must look after the development of their employees through the course of time and keep their learning graph growing. 

  • Target inefficiencies:-

 When the growth of a company has been stagnant for a while, be rest assured that the root of no growth is definitely inefficiency from thr workforce. The efficiency of a workforce must be checked from time to time since to keep up with the times, the working procedures must evolve. As we know, “Change is the only constant.” Therefore any and every inefficiency must be investigated and sorted out to maintain a steady growth curve for the business. 

  1. Employee Retention:- Hiring an employee is not a simple task for it involves various steps prior to that. Finding,Interviewing, and onboarding an employee not only requires time but also money. If employees show potential, the work of a good HR is to retain them. However if an employee is making the office atmosphere toxic , then no amount of training shall relieve them of that toxicity. Creating career paths inside the company is sure to pave the way to effective workforce planning and aid employees simultaneously. 
  2. Acquiring productivity and Quality outputs: 

Competent employees with the correct potential can reproduce productivity in multiples. Human resources help in gauging the methods to make the employees more competent and efficient which in turns results in the multiplicity of productivity. The HR can spot inefficiency and can uproot the cause of inefficiency to maintain a homeostatic work environment with constant growth. If the good employees are satisfied and trained properly, the workforce gains immense power and stabilizes the work atmosphere.

  1. Aid employees in maintaining a work-life balance: 

By far we are well acquainted with the fact that Employees are the heart of the workforce. They make up the workforce which is the life of a properly functioning institution. However it is well known that there is a need to maintain our personal life along with our professional life. Hence the HR must aid employees in maintaining this work-life balance by keeping the working hours optimum. If the working hours shoot up, although productivity might increase, the quality shoots down and hence the turnover isn’t as effective as it could have been. 

  1. Issuing Recommendations to adding strategic value through talent:- Nowadays skill set is the most important value that an HR looks for while hiring new employees. That is exactly how it should be. Employers must not hire employees who agree to  work at lower charges. A company must pay well to acquire efficient and talented employees with a skill set that suits the function to be performed by them. The HR must ensure that employees are treated absolutely in the right manner and the rest falls into place. 

Creating a Workforce Plan


Workforce planning is not merely hiring employees and creating a team but it involves various other ideas which contribute to make workforce plan successful. Following are some of the key points that must be remembered in the process:-

  1. Comprehending Company Goals:-The step one to workforce planning is being aware of the missions, targets and goals of the company. The mission of the company is associated with the wants of the CEO, stakeholders, shareholders, employees and customers. Once the goals are clear, one knows what one is looking for. For example:- If the company wants to expand through North America, one must vividly have an idea of that. 
  2. Conducting Current Gap Analysis:- A business is conducted with the coming together of many spheres. Lack in any one of the spheres might bring down the entire chain. So looking towards skills and talents are important but that is not all. The HR is supposed to look into all other areas to check for any missing components which might cause a lag in the proper functioning of the company. A workforce needs to be nourished with proper training, proper equipment , proper treatment and pay. When all these needs are looked after, the gap is filled and the company can function more productively than ever. 
  • Project for the future:- 

A company must always be farsighted. It must have a long term estimate of its goals and calculate the type of workforce that would be ideal for the company in the years to come and hire accordingly.

  1. Conducting a future gap analysis:- Once we have an idea about the future goals of the company, we are well aware of our own deficiencies. What are the current requirements in the people sphere and what would be the further necessities in the same sphere. What is required in 2022 might not be the same in 2023. Hence studying and analysing the market constantly is a must. 

These are some of the preliminary steps in the workforce planning process. However a strong  foundation can only be laid out if the bricks are solid and tight enough. Since the employees make up the bricks of the company, a good workforce planning would lead to a successful business venture. However a company must always be ready to adapt and accept changes as the market can flex at any and all times. 

SOME FAQs ( Frequently asked questions) that leave one wondering !!!

How do you do labour planning?

=> Labour planning is another term for workforce planning. And as described in (detail)earlier in this article, workforce planning is the process of acquiring and hiring people with potential and skills that directly align with company roles and goals. To do so, the HR must thoroughly uphold the interview process, along with maintaining a steady communication with the working employees. 

What are the three stages of workforce planning?

=> The first most significant stage is the pre-hiring stage where it must be made sure that employees with potential who can be productive from day one must be hired. 

The second stage of workforce planning involves retaining its employees by developing their skills by means of training classes, stretch assignments and more. 

The third stage stands making a present and future gap analysis and resolving the gap by making necessary amends 

Who is responsible for workforce planning?

=> The higher authorities and leaders such as the CEO and COO , along with senior managers, the Human Resources, finance officers and other experienced members who provide vital insights into the building of the company. If the people are the bricks of foundation, the leaders act as the pillars to hold up the structure of the institution. 


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