The benefits of strategic workforce planning
One of the biggest challenges for small and medium business owners is their workforce, the backbone of their entire business operation. And every workforce has the potential to either drive growth or drive you into the ground.
“If you have the right people with the right skills in the right roles, working to achieve not only your operational goals but also your strategic business goals, you’re on the path to a winning formula,” Angie says.
What is workforce planning?
Put simply, workforce planning is a process that aims to reduce the people issues in your business, which not only makes the business operate better, but it allows business owners to get back to doing what they do best.
We recommend putting in place a formal organisational structure that allows each role in the business to have a succession and emergency cover option that doesn’t involve senior staff (often the owner), stepping down to fill the gap when employees are on leave or depart the business.
This structure also assists with developing role profiles or position descriptions, plus key performance indicators for each role.
Everyone in the business should know what they’re responsible for, what success in their role looks like, who they report to, and what potential future avenues for development are available to them.
If employees are all coming to you as the business owner to solve all their problems, put out the fires, and deal with all the people issues, this will limit and eventually stall growth. Plus, it’s exhausting for the business owner!
Who needs to do workforce planning?
“Workforce planning is just as important in small businesses as it is in large businesses. It empowers leaders and managers in the business to have the important or hard conversations with team members, which frees up the business owners to do what truly adds value to the business and to them personally,” Angie says.
Businesses with eight or more employees need to start implementing workforce structure and planning their team strategy to not only allow for continued growth in the business but also for long-term sustainability.
How to do workforce planning
If this all sounds too hard or time consuming, don’t stress out as there is expert help at hand.
Synergy has the people, the workforce planning tools, and the expertise to help you, so you’ll get on track to having the right people in the right place at the right time for even greater success.
Workforce planning process
The team at Synergy will walk you through the whole workforce planning process including helping clients to:
- Identify the need for workforce planning
- Articulate the values of your business if they’re not already in writing and visible to everyone in the business
- Develop the ideal organisational chart to work towards. This includes identifying what are the right skills and traits required for key positions.
- Create and match the KPIs of roles to the business operational goals and budget
- Help to discuss the new processes with the leadership team and train them in using it.
- Follow-up during and after the implementation with the team to iron out any issues
Top tips to successful workforce planning
1. Set Values
Set the values for the business, making them visible to all team members. Hold everyone in the business accountable to these values (they are what made you successful in the first place!)
2. Empower your people
The key to the success of workforce planning is to empower your people and in particular, your leadership team. We understand that some business owners can struggle with this at first (it’s a trait that probably helped get them to where they are today).
We also understand that no one in the business will do many things as well as you can. Let’s face it, no one cares about your business and customers the way you do! But for a business to grow, you have to let go of some control.
If you’re struggling with this, start by documenting processes, especially quality control processes. Create checklists for teams to ensure they’re following these processes, and as you get more confident in this process, begin more formal workforce planning.
Implement, implement, implement! Remember your end goal: freeing up your time.
Great planning only helps if it is implemented and persisted with. Resist the temptation when busy to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them.
Our aim is to help you get your workforce planning under control, to free you up as a business owner so you can do more of what you love!
If you need help or advice on workforce planning, contact Synergy. We’ll get you where you need to go. After all, your growth is our business.
Find more great tips, stories, and other seriously useful information in our Knowledge Centre.
Disclaimer: Whilst this publication has been carefully prepared it is written in general terms and is intended as general information and to provide commentary. It does not purport to be comprehensive or render any advice. No one should rely on information contained in this publication without first obtaining professional advice relevant to their specific situation.
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