Workforce planning – recruiting future talent

COVID has caused every business to reflect on its operations and requires businesses to reassess its workforce planning. Whilst some have already pivoted their business and are looking to invest, others say; “we just don’t have the budget”, “we can’t afford to do it” or even worse, “we’ve just laid people off”.

Every single business is facing change – whether it be big or small. Workforces are aging, and some staff turnover/absenteeism is inevitable, even in the smallest business.  Since every organisation is the sum of its people, workforces need to adapt as employees move through the employee life cycle. As this is unavoidable, workforce planning should be something ALL businesses are doing.

For example, there are some activities where artificial intelligence will replace human beings – just call your bank. By removing the low-level transactions, customer service teams have been redeployed, retrained or let go. Technology is changing the way businesses operate; the who, what, how, and why. Furthermore, working from home is the new norm for many. Workforce planning is needed in order to ensure future demands are met.

For many businesses change is a scary prospect, an expensive gamble, and out of their comfort zone. In this article, we will look at the different phases your business needs to analyse, in order to implement workforce planning into your business strategy.

#1 Attracting talent through workforce planning

Your business needs to cultivate a positive experience for potential candidates.

Review sites such as Glassdoor and Google, are already well-established tools in attracting talent. As well as market reputation. And companies rely on these review boards, to establish their brand and help attract potential candidates. However, what once worked prior to COVID19 may not have the same positive impact now.

‘Attracting talent’ is a unique phase, in that efforts are fully committed to people who are not yet employees of the organisation:

  • How does your business stand out from your competitors while remaining authentic?
  • What do you offer in terms of flexibility, employee protection, proactive employee health/well-being measures?
  • What made your organisation attractive to talent, is it still true today?
  • Was your main attraction your city-based, funky office space where people worked and socialised in close proximity?

#2 Recruiting

Do you have a multichannel approach in order to actively seek out scarce talent?

Channels typically include job postings, job referrals, advertisements, networks, alumni, job fairs, and access to passive job seekers. As a recruitment agency, we spend 365 days a year attracting talent ready for when your business needs them.

Workforce planning considerations:

  • How do you help build trust, confidence, and candidate excitement with a strategy to recruit under these new constraints (such as without face-to-face interaction)?
  • Does your organisation have a solid understanding of the type of talent that has been lost to attrition, or cuts due to COVID19 and insights into the most important talent that needs to be replaced?
  • Everyone is in a position to maximise the use of technology to enhance the virtual recruiting process?
  • Is it necessary to explore new channels for potential candidates if your company relies on a “high-physical-touch” strategy?
  • Is geographical location of prospective employees still a factor? How often will they have to come to site?

#3 Onboarding

Your businesses main focus should be to help new recruits adjust as quickly as possible to their role within the company. You should help them gain the knowledge, skills and abilities for them to perform their roles successfully.

The adjustment period includes; how the employee learns the expectations of their role. And the organisation values, attitude and norms that help drive the culture of your organisation.

The faster employees feel welcomed to the organisation/their teams, and prepared for their future work, the faster they will be able to make a positive impact and drive the organisation forward. This has all become much more difficult in our COVID affected world.

  • How can the business seamlessly communicate new processes/policies/procedures post-COVID19?
  • Does the onboarding process accommodate the needs of virtual workers so they can adjust as fast as employees who are not virtual?

#4 Developing

Developing employees breeds strong retention along with increased productivity:

  • Are the leaders of your business helping and nurturing virtual and on-premise employees?
  • Is your workforce able to perform at its highest level in a virtual environment?
  • How will your employees stay productive and engaged within their work teams in a virtual or physical environment based on what has changed from the pandemic?
  • Have career paths changed in response to the unexpected event?
  • Does your organisation understand who in the current workforce is best fit for these new career paths?
  • Is there sufficient flexibility available to support your workforce with external pressures?

#5 Seperation

In the last stage of the life cycle, an individual can leave the organisation as an employee for many reasons. It may be a new job within the business, retirement, new employment, redundancy, etc. When an employee leaves a company, this can affect other employees almost akin to a bereavement.

So, what can we learn from their exit?

Workforce planning in summary…

Workforce planning is about collecting information, analysing it, and finding our what the new demands are. You then will need to set actions that will help build on the existing workforce, to help meet these new demands.

As recruitment partners we are keen to understand the full cycle in order to help us attract the best talent for our clients. The more we know about our clients and the closer the partnership, the better the success for all involved.