Workforce planning is a key task of HR management and begins, inevitably, with the corporate objecives. The second stage is to develop HR objectives and strategies. In terms of he information required to make these decisions, the most important is a forecast about the size, skills and location of the future workforce, which can then be compared to the currect provision. This workforce planning enables decisions to be taken about how to achieve the required workforce as and when it is needed. These decisions form the baiss of the workforce plans, which require deailed information if they are to be effective.
Components of a workforce plan
The typical factors to take into account when drawing up a workforce plan are:
- A skills audit of the current workforce to identify the quealities and abilities of existing employees. It is quite possible that managers might be unaware of the potential of their staff. New qualifications are relevant experience may have been achieved outside the workplace, for example through voluntary work or a trade union.
- Data about labour turnover, wages rates, trend analysis of workforce demographics such as the level of entrants into the market (school leavers, apprentices, university graduates), statistical forecasts about the impact of economic migrants.
- Marke reserach data and sales forecas which will include the number of employees needed. If this is combined with technological developments, the quality of workers required and their productivity can be estimated.
- EU directives and government initiatives relating to working conditions and practices.
Plans reviewed, Objectives achieved - Corporate objectives - Workforce assessment, Demographics: trend analysis, workforce audit. Skills gap/surplus - Transition plans, Recruitment training plans redeployment redundancy plans.
From all this information, the workforce plan can be formulated. The main components are:
- Recruitment requirements: a new job descriptions and person specifications, specialist recruitment consultants.
- Training and development programmes: the acquistion of new echnical skills to meet future business needs and the development of employee potential.
- Retraining and redeployment: when skills become redundant was a result of technological change, employees can be encouraged to acquire new ones which will be in demand in the future. If the business plans to relocate its manufactoring facility, this ma involve the redeployment of some workers.
- Redundancy: if the forecasts sugget that a smaller workforce is needed then planned redundancies must be included in the workforce plans. This should begin with natural wastage and then move on to volunar redundancy before complusory redundancy is considered. The aim is to ensure that people of future value to the business are not encouraged to leave, because this would be counter-productive.
Benefits of workforce plans
- Workforce plans provide a strategic basis for making human resource decisions and facilitating solutions to current and future workforce issues. This allows managers to anticipate change and therefore be proactive, rather than reacting to events that take everyone by surprise.
- Managers can plan replacements and changes in workforce skill levels by focusing on components such as workforce demographics and retirement forecasts. Gathering detailed information on…