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Four strategic workforce planning tips to grow your business

By Jillian Phipps

Creating a strategic workforce plan for company growth in 2017

After attending a holiday party at the office, you ponder your company’s successes of 2016. Sales increased for the fourth year in a row. Net income also improved substantially. Your business hired several, promising employees. You see no reason why the company won’t continue to grow in the year 2017 and beyond. To effectively expand your business, you realize you need to make strategic workforce planning a priority. If you can relate to this scenario, consider adhering to the following four tips.

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Discover Who You Are

Before you can adequately plan for the future, you need to know who you are today. To accomplish this task, revisit your company’s:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Purpose

Continue discovering your company’s identity by taking stock of its current workforce. Review employees at all levels. Pay particular attention to workers whose job responsibilities will be crucial to the future success or failure of the business. You should also make a note of departments that:

  • Experience high turnover rates
  • Have crucial skill gaps
  • Have extreme levels of absenteeism
  • Continue losing high performing workers
  • Have a track record of new hires leaving after less than one year
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Determine Who You Want to Be

Once you’ve identified who you are, determine who you want to be. Consider factors such as:

  • Long-range profitability goals
  • Plans to expand the company into new geographic markets
  • Plans to diversify the business’s product or service lines

Based on information gathered, determine what your future workforce needs to look like. Decide what types of experience, knowledge, and skills prospective new hires will need to successfully carry out the company’s long-term business plan.

Our Strategic Workforce Infographic shows a process for using predictive analytics to plan the supply and demand of your organization’s talent.

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Analyze External Factors

Practicing smart strategic workforce planning requires you to look beyond the four walls of your business. In addition to determining who you are and who you want to be, analyze certain, external factors. While these influences might be uncontrollable, they can definitely either derail or support your business goals. Pertinent examples include:

  • The political environment
  • Economic developments at home and abroad
  • Evolving social norms
  • Technological advancements
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Improve Your Data Quality

To enhance strategic workforce planning at your company, make improving the quality of data a priority. At many places of business, workforce data is scattered across several mediums including:

  • Talent management systems
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • Organizational charts
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When vital workforce information is dispersed across numerous sources, decision making can suffer. To rectify this situation, work diligently to consolidate all information into one source. Investing in a workforce planning tool that will aggregate your information regularly and check it for errors is a great idea.

When done right, strategic workforce planning can play a major role in the future success of a business. However, effective strategic workforce planning isn’t completed in a vacuum. Managers of all sections of a company should become involved with this important task. Aligning a company’s strategic workforce plan to its business plan is also necessary. 

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