The Countdown to Establishing a Strong SWP program

December 7, 2017 Katy Roberts

In a recent broadcast, we discussed ways to establish a solid Strategic Workforce Planning program to increase productivity and prepare your organisation for the Future of Work. We countdown the top 10 take-aways from that discussion. 

TEN: Strategic Workforce Planning is paramount to a company of any size. As a company grows, from start-up to established organisation, your Strategic Workforce Planning model should constantly be evolving and changing along with the needs and focus of the business. 

NINE: The world is getting more and more competitive. Finding profit is getting trickier, and when you do find profit, it's a lot thinner than it used to be. As a result, an organisation's focus is on increasing productivity.  Organisations are looking for better contribution and growth within their people in order to increase productivity.  Strategic Workforce Planning now becomes the critical key to handling your changing people strategy

EIGHT:  Strategic Workforce Planning is a continuous program. It’s done in iterations. So, when you complete one iteration, as with any iterative process, it requires regular review against the overall business strategy. And once that’s done, because a strategy is something constant and ongoing, you should be continually forecasting and building in flexibility into your strategy, and Strategic Workforce Planning should be a fundamental part of that. . 

SEVEN: Strategic Workforce Planning allows the intelligent use of high value alternatives, such as interims, contract work and specialist skill at organisational peak time. And when organisations face high transition periods then being able to access the right skill at the right time becomes a critical success factor. 

SIX: Strategic Workforce Planning about leveraging data – internal and external. When you put a business or product plan together,  you wouldn’t do that without detailed analysis. And the same applies to undertaking SWP.  That analysis, and your findings, are then used to inform the need for change within your business.  That’s when you identify potential risks and opportunities, and implement actions within the strategic business plan as appropriate. 

FIVE: When trying to forecast workforce demands against an increasingly fluctuating market, Strategic Workforce Planning helps organisations adapt to change on an on-going basis.  Traditional resource planning has always been focussed on the short-term. But with the development of Strategic Workforce Planning,  that focus is now geared towards long-term planning. If you’re looking at the long-term, you’re looking at the long-term changes within your strategic business plan with SWP becoming a key pillar in that process. 

FOUR: Traditionally the Human Resources function used to be a separate function to traditional operational resources. SWP has become a key strategic responsibility that is owned by the entire business. It is cross-functional and is aligning people to your core business strategy – and where your strategy involves functions like Sales, and Marketing and Finance, it requires strong sponsorship from all levels within the organisation for it to be truly effective. 

THREEOne of the key things about Strategic Workforce Planning is that you’re creating a pipeline of internal and external talent. Similarly with a sales pipeline, you have a set plan on the the types of customers you’re looking to attract.  Tomorrow’s leaders need to be focussed on how individuals increase contribution into the organisation, and require a soft skill-set that is adaptable towards a different type of workforce. Where businesses have become really good at digging deep, through Strategic Workforce Planning, they are now developing the skill to develop breadth throughout their organisation. 

TWO: There is a changing mindset that recognises the balance between SWP and the development of a digital and technically-founded world. In the world of Robotics and AI, there will still be the requirement for niche, human-based skills like problem-solving, decision-making and thinking visibly. You learn those skills from real-life situations, which means that organisations are under pressure to develop those skills if they intend to remain competitive. 

ONEGetting started: Keep it really simple and tailor your Strategic Workforce Planning process to you, and your organisation and your organisation’s culture. It’s a process – there are a number of steps in the middle which lead to an output. So, be conscious of the problem you’re trying to fix or the situation you’re appraising when you start to build your Strategic Workforce Plan. Remember that it’s about increasing productivity and competitiveness, and then aligning that to your strategy. 

If you require hands-on help to get your Strategic Workforce Plan designed and implemented, then we have experienced consultants who can help to do just that, and deliver productivity and competitiveness back into your organisation. 


About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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