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The Comprehensive Workforce Management Guide

Workforce management plans are key to enabling an organisation to be appropriately resourced to manage future & potential challenges.

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Guide To A Workforce Management Plan

A quality workforce management (WFM) plan helps organisational leaders and HR managers make informed and timely staffing decisions that support strategic direction and goals. In contrast to knee jerk reactions to staffing requirements, an effective WFM plan should be data-driven, helping to improve staff retention, reduce turnover and give your business a competitive advantage. 


What is workforce planning?

The goal of workforce planning (WFP) is commonly defined as having the right people, with the right capabilities, in the right jobs, at the right time. Also known as ‘Human Resource Planning’ or ‘Strategic Workforce Planning’, it involves developing policies and strategies to predict future workforce needs and attract and retain staff.

Ultimately, this will reduce the risk of organisational overstaffing or understaffing, both now and in the future, thereby reducing human resource costs and enhancing employee job satisfaction.


Benefits of a workforce management plan

Some advantages of having a clearly defined and strategic workforce plan include:

  • identifying ways to utilise your current employees effectively and efficiently
  • planning for skills development and targeting your training spend to improve performance of existing staff
  • enabling effective succession planning for organisational or workforce demographic change 
  • facilitating proactive workforce management rather than just-in-time or crisis management 
  • the ability to respond to changes in market trends, regulations, and technology
  • ensuring managers have quality data to assist with effectively managing current and anticipated costs
  • improved understanding of staff retention and turnover issues to reduce associated costs and workflow disruptions
  • enabling effective planning for staff leave
  • ensuring business continuity.

These benefits add up to money, time and stress savings, positioning your organisation for long-term sustainability and growth.

Key elements of workforce planning

There are five vital components to any WFM plan.


Outline your strategic direction

Every good plan starts with knowing where you want to go. The first step in a WFM plan involves considering what’s best for your business and where you want to head in the future. This will help you align your plan with organisational goals, such as planning for growth, dealing with any anticipated changes, and managing budgets effectively.

Setting your strategic direction with the end in mind ensures your business provides an environment where people can work and communicate effectively and efficiently. This is especially important for businesses where easing of COVID restrictions and border reopenings are enabling return to pre-pandemic working conditions


Analysis of the current formation of the workforce

The next step in workforce planning involves analysing your current staffing situation. This process can be divided into two main categories:


Quality of the workforce

Assessing the quality of your workforce means exploring both current performance and future potential. This lays the foundation for effective talent management, or optimising and utilising the full potential of your employees. 


Quantity of the workforce

As the name suggests, this step involves analysing figures such as staff turnover, new hires, and the number of employees at different organisational levels. Your human resources records should hold this information.

The goal of analysing your current workforce is to determine what staff and skills your organisation already has, so you can identify any skills or workforce gaps.

Consider things like: 

  • how well your current workforce supports your strategic focus
  • how satisfied current workers are in their roles
  • succession planning – how staff turnover or retirement could affect your ability to deliver products or services
  • which positions are typically difficult to fill
  • whether your workforce could be arranged differently to foster improved workload coverage.

Humanforce’s workforce analytics and reporting capability empowers smarter decision making by transforming key workforce data into actionable insights. At a glance, you can see what’s really happening in your organisation. With built-in reporting and custom dashboard options, you can rapidly identify staffing issues and make data-driven decisions that optimise your bottom line. 


Anticipate the future

While it’s impossible to make exact predictions, you can help ensure your business is future ready by forecasting future needs. 


Identifying future work requirements

This involves assessing the knowledge, skills and/or behaviours employees need to achieve your organisational goals and supports the identification of skills gaps through job analysis and design.


Developing forecasting models

This involves identifying future workforce needs by estimating, based on available data, what might happen in the future. Talking to key stakeholders can help you discover concerns and future issues, facilitating your strategic planning.


Scenario building

Scenario analysis is about plotting potential futures so you can create advance plans for dealing with them. A scenario will help you predict how potential changes – such as government, legislation, technological or budgetary changes – could impact workforce demand. You can then outline appropriate strategies to reduce negative impacts and leverage positive impacts of those changes. 


Developing and implementing your workforce plan

This step involves refining and executing your workforce planning activities to close identified skills or performance gaps and enable your organisation to meet its strategic goals.

Specific activities you might undertake include:

  • using project management planning principles to facilitate smooth processes
  • developing a change management (transition) plan to optimise employee buy-in
  • considering suitable tools for facilitating clear communication about the benefits of workforce planning across all channels
  • deciding how to capture data to identify workforce challenges and inform workforce planning activities
  • deciding how to align strategies with organisational values and culture.

For the best outcomes, it’s also vital to consider how your plan will impact your employees, as issues like employee engagement, flexibility, and autonomy significantly impact your workforce.

For example, a report by the Diversity Council Australia noted work-life balance is a top employment driver, with 18 percent of employees agreeing they had considered resigning in the previous six months due to lack of flexibility.

Moreover, they affect your bottom line, with an article in Procurement and Supply noting disengagement is estimated to cost a company 34% of the employee’s salary. Disturbingly, figures from Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report showed that globally, employee engagement had decreased by 2 percentage points from 2019 to 2020. They discuss how employee engagement in Australia and New Zealand is around the global average of 20%, with empathetic, communicative managers key to creating thriving teams.

Making use of high-quality workforce planning and analytics processes and software improves both workforce management planning and implementation. This can lead to improved employee engagement and visibility over staff, with less micromanaging from your human resources team. 

The result is greater employee autonomy and better work life balance, creating happier teams and fewer reasons for people to become disengaged and unresponsive.

Humanforce is designed to deliver an enriching, frictionless employee experience for your shift-based workforce. From your head office to the front line, our solution enhances job purpose and satisfaction, helping to foster a highly engaged workforce while providing an exceptional customer experience. 


Monitoring progress 

Once your workforce management plan is in place, it’s vital to regularly monitor and evaluate its effectiveness, efficiency, and appropriateness. As your business and workforce demographics change over time, your human resource strategies will need to be updated accordingly to ensure you continue to have the right people in the right place at the right time.

This involves regularly reviewing data, maintaining communication and clarity on goals, and the flexibility to change according to success rates and outcomes.


Using the best tools at hand

Humanforce’s intelligent software allows you to create highly optimised workforce schedules aligned with key business goals. Demand-based planning, for example, allows you to staff by need rather than guesswork to avoid under or overstaffing and reduce overtime costs.

An intelligent workforce management solution simplifies and automates staffing processes, reducing administrative costs and boosting productivity while ensuring you meet compliance requirements automatically and efficiently.


Never miss a beat with workforce analytics 

Humanforce’s workforce analytics and reporting capability empowers smarter decision making by transforming key workforce data into actionable insights. At a glance, you can see what’s really happening in your organisation. With built-in reporting and custom dashboard options, you can rapidly identify staffing issues and make data-driven decisions that optimise your bottom line.

Our intuitive mobile app and biometric kiosks provide real time visibility into your time and attendance data, while facilitating team communication and collaboration anywhere, anytime, on any device.

If you want to learn more about how Humanforce software can transform your organisation’s workforce system, employee engagement and team motivation through intuitive Workforce Management Solutions, schedule a demo, or contact us here.