When you launched your company, you compiled a list of goals and objectives that mapped out your road to success. But even this is not enough. Every prosperous name in the business world is backed by competent professionals that can collaborate like a well-oiled machine.

So let’s take inspiration from the following quote and take it from there.

“If everyone moves forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Henry Ford

As an entrepreneur, it’s essential you recognize the talent and skills your business needs in order to be successful. And that means hiring the right team members that can do their job expertly, especially where warehouse management is concerned. So alongside your WMS, you will need an integrated talent management system.

team management system

Therefore, to make the most of your current workforce, you need to understand how each of your employees can contribute to the growth of your business. Above all, you’ll need exceptional organizational and planning skills to ensure your business remains viable in this technology-driven landscape.

And this is where workforce planning plays a key role in the success of your company.

What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning is the method of analyzing and aligning the current workforce with your business needs. But it also requires determining the future needs of both the workforce and the organization and identifying the gaps between the two.

According to a study by McKinsey, more than one-third of global executives said their organizations are unequipped to address the skill gaps they anticipate. More surprisingly, 60% claim that nearly half of their current workforce will need to be retrained or replaced within the next five years.

As a business owner, you need to anticipate change and direct your business towards growth. That requires planning for where you want to be in the future, thereby systematically achieving your business goals and objectives.

And it all begins with devising and implementing practical solutions based on the experience, skills, and knowledge of your employees. Having the right people with the right skills at the right time will enable your business to expand and remain profitable.

Why do I need to invest in workforce planning?

Your workforce is the backbone of the company. Organizing and distributing work processes should be a part of your business strategy, especially during an acquisition or merger.

But generally speaking, there are multiple benefits of workforce planning that you can avail on a regular basis.

  • Optimizes operating costs

Workforce planning helps generate more value with fewer resources. Proactive planning helps avoid talent surpluses or shortages. Moreover, it can reduce costs by identifying unnecessary spending.

  • Improves productivity

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that employees are positioned in posts best suited for their skill sets. They’re efficiently doing their job and producing high-quality work. Time and skills are not wasted, increasing the productivity of your company.

  • Reveals obstacles

As you analyze the current workforce and predict future needs, you can understand the gaps and missing skills.

  • Facilitates the recruitment process

As gaps in the current workforce are identified, you can fine‑tune recruitment and selection processes to match the company’s requirements.

  • Offers an accurate view of business performance

Workforce planning allows managers to access how work is currently being accomplished. That will help them decide whether tasks can be completed in-house or out-sourced if more full-time or part-time employees are required, and additional training or support is needed.

  • Develops career paths

Workforce planning allows managers to plan for retirements or promotions. With the right workforce management strategies, employees are positioned in a post that prepares them to manage responsibilities when another retires or leaves.

  • Spot opportunities for growth

Being flexible and adapting to change are crucial aspects of the business. By hiring the right team members, you are paving the road to success and can take on new projects. Moreover, preparing and planning the workforce helps mitigate risks.

Workforce planning examples

To get a better idea of how workforce planning should be an integral part of every business, here are some example of where it can be used:

  • Assessment of workforce
  • Understanding how does workforce work
  • Talent management
  • Identifying competency needs
  • Forecasting future needs
  • Recruitment
  • Leadership development
  • Establishing career paths
  • Internal placements
  • Performance management
  • Retention planning
  • Redeployment
  • Planning for potential retirements
workforce planning

What are the steps in workforce planning?

The workforce planning process can vary from business to business, but some of the common steps are as follows:

1. Evaluating the workforce

To align your business needs alongside your current workforce, you need to analyze your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Identifying skills that are lacking and those which are available in the current workforce yet aren’t being tapped into highlights opportunities for improvement and growth. More importantly, it allows business owners to assess how those skills can directly contribute to your business’s overall performance.

There are two ways to analyze your workforce:

  • A qualitative approach reviews the current performance as well as future potential. Businesses can then consider offering additional training programs to enhance skills and increase the competitiveness of the company.
  • A quantitative approach considers whether the number of employees for each department or at each level is adequate.

2. Assessing your goals and objectives

Workforce planning focuses on achieving your business goals and objectives. How is your workforce helping you reach them? By assessing your business’s performance and reviewing these plans, you can accurately see where your business stands in the future.

3. Identifying gaps

A thorough analysis of your workforce and the industry trends will allow you to identify gaps in your business. Anticipating a skills gap will help you address the situation and prepare for the future.

4. Propose a solution

You can fill the gaps by out-sourcing projects, train the current workforce, or hire additional employees that are experienced enough.

Depending on your current resources and your employees’ current skill level, you can plan and prepare a plausible course of action. For instance, offering training programs is a good idea only if your employees have most of the skills you need. However, if a completely different skill set is required, hiring new team members or out-sourcing is better- your choice is based on your budget.

5. Devise a flexible plan

Plan for multiple scenarios. As automated technology-driven solutions emerge, work processes will change. How will this impact your current workforce? Will, a percentage of your current workforce, be replaced by software, or will you need to hire individuals that will incorporate them into your business?

6. Monitor and adjust

Nothing in this digital era stands still. From customer expectations to business processes to technology, things are constantly changing. You need to monitor, analyze, and adjust your plans to stay in stride.

The good news is that there is a variety of workforce planning tools that can streamline aspects of workforce planning. In fact, strategic workforce planning tools can automate the process by:

  • Providing faster insights
  • Better ability to match spending with resources
  • Helping to make more accurate decisions
  • Supporting real-time analysis
  • Cost-effective

Final thoughts

Workforce planning is becoming increasingly important. Every aspect of the business world is changing, demographics to technology to work processes. Preparing your workforce to adapt to change will keep your business viable in the challenging business climate.

Above all, you’ll be prepared to meet the challenges head-on. With comprehensive trend analysis, recruiting individuals with the right skills, and investing in quality wms, you’re sure to be headed in the right direction.