How to execute effective workforce planning

Workforce planning refers to the strategic alignment of an organisation's human capital with its business direction. This includes planning ahead to avoid any talent surplus or shortage that the company may experience. Workforce planning mainly involves analysing the current workforce, working with company directors to determine business objectives, determining future work needs, and implementing a direction that human resources should take for the company to fulfill its future ambitions. To summarise, workforce planning is "to get the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, with the right contract, and at the right cost."
To execute effective workforce planning, human resources must have good knowledge on how the business cycle runs throughout the year. HR professionals constantly complain about the boom-and-bust cycle of budget cuts, sudden growth, and the repeated cycle. Human resources always desires stability, but many fail to adapt and respond appropriately during the boom and bust phases of a business cycle.

In many cases, HR does not think of the company's future business plans and objectives, and is more focused on completing its own job for the short term. Human resources has two reasons for planning ahead in terms of workforce planning. The first reason is to lessen the impact caused by boom-and-bust phases in a business cycle, and the second reason is that it gives HR control over the talent pool of the organisation. Workforce planning can bring advantages to a company in terms of controlling talent pool and handling future objectives.

To effectively plan a company's workforce, one should take into account the following predictions:
1) Estimated increase or decrease of company growth, output, and revenue.
2) Estimates of talent needed that comes with company growth. This can include number of employees and skills needed.
3) Predictions of future vacancies.
4) Estimates of internal and external availability of talent needed to meet current and future company objectives.

Workforce planning can be impactful for a company. Being able to plan for the future results in advantages that can give one's company a competitive edge over rivals. Smoothing out business cycles by fine-tuning the company's talent pool can ensure smooth sailing through sudden changes in boom-and-bust cycles, while developing employee skills during these phases. With adequate workforce planning, companies can reach their goals in tough times.

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