Being part of a growing organization can be exciting as well as stressful, and HR executives are often caught in the eye of the storm. A common reactive strategy is to implement a hiring spree when profits are up and reduce extraneous staff when business slows down. Reacting to needs without a plan presents a headache for HR professionals and can be detrimental to a company’s success in the long run and having a strategic workforce plan.

Developing a Strategic Workforce Plan can minimize the growing pains of expansion and set a company up for continued success. While workforce planning has become the catch-all term that covers everything from annual reviews to employee satisfaction, here are some of the basic steps of building a growth plan:

  • Define the company’s growth objectives for the mid and long-term future. Growth means different things for various organizations. Whether it’s a three-office expansion, a goal of 50 new clients, or a doubling of production output, it is important to state what your organization wants to achieve.
  • Analyze your current workforce profile and assess to see what skill sets are covered and where there are gaps in your talent. Identify the current employees who need training or development. Are there key people close to retirement? Which departments are over or understaffed?
  • Predict your future workforce requirements. Based on the company’s stated goals, what kind of workforce will you need? Are there opportunities to streamline or consolidate functions? What skills and positions might become obsolete or redundant?
  • Plan a Recruiting Strategy that aligns with the growth objectives. A recruiting strategy involves setting a budget, strategy, and timeline to fill the gaps you have identified in your workforce.
  • Execute your plan. Implement training and development programs for current employees and begin recruiting efforts to expand your talent pool. Traditional advertising, job fairs, online presence, referrals, and temporary workers can all be part of a strategy to find the right mix of new talent.
  • Evaluate the progress and results. Workforce planning is a continuous activity, and periodic review is necessary to track progress, identify new developments, and adapt to changing needs.

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