Simple steps to efficient staff planning
It sounds too simplistic to say that your workforce is the beating heart of your company, but it’s true. However, many businesses don’t practice strategic human resource (HR) planning. So why is staff planning so important?
Effective staff planning: preparing for success
Without effective staff planning, you could either be wasting time hiring new recruits needlessly or always be on the back-foot recruiting to try and fill a near-constant staff churn. But there are many aspects of staffing you can prepare for, such as contracts ending, promotion successors, and the average lifecycle of your employees. A well-thought-out HR strategy doesn't just help you minimise the time and money needed to recruit but could boost your employees’ morale and job satisfaction. With that in mind, here are a few steps to take for effective staff planning…
Carry out a staff inventory
Your next recruit could be right under your nose. So before hiring new employees, you need to know the skills, capabilities and behaviour of your current staff. Creating a skills inventory should involve a mix of the following steps:
- Looking over past performance reviews
- Providing your employees with a questionnaire for self-evaluation
- Reviewing attendance performance
- Revisiting CVs and applications to determine where hidden skills lie
- Understanding where your employees are on their career lifecycle
The last point is an important one. What is the typical lifespan for an employee with your company? Do they often use you as a leaping-off point before going on to something bigger and better? If there are any who are nearing that point, what extra training do they need to step up to the role you have?
You need to weigh this against issues such as attendance and their disciplinary record. Someone who always arrives late, has unauthorised sick days or has been vocal in public about their grievances probably isn’t the best candidate for a senior position. Next, try and gauge their interest in their professional development through a one-to-one meeting or during a scheduled performance review.
Even if you don’t yet have a member of staff earmarked for a particular position, continually factoring in training for all staff will ensure they are an asset for the future.
Forecast your HR requirements
Your staff inventory will also offer up other insights which can be added to your HR strategy. So if you know individuals are approaching the end of their contract, retirement age, are currently on sick leave or have maternity leave on the horizon, ensure these dates are in your calendar.
You also need to know the timescales of recruiting for particular positions, so that if a member of staff hands in their notice unexpectedly, you have a strategy in place. What is their notice period? Who could take over from them? When should they start their handover? How long will it take to re-hire?
A crucial element of successful HR forecasting is being aware of the direction of the company. Are there plans to expand or merge, take on a big project, introduce new working patterns or grow a department? All of this will determine how and when you need to start preparing to take on new recruits as well as whether there is adequate cover and training.
It’s also important to assess your company’s demand for new employees alongside the availability of talent in the current job market. If you have had difficulty recruiting in the past, then it is more important than ever to nurture your existing staff so that when you need to re-hire, you can do so from the ground up.
Improve your prospects
A lack of talent in your local area could be remedied by running apprenticeship, internship or fast-track programmes. These will help you develop the skills which could be the future of your company.
An equally important part of staff retention and hiring success is being a desirable company to work for. Begin by knowing the makeup of your staff and what their needs are, perhaps by conducting a survey. Incentives could be flexible working hours, remote working, bonuses, discounted health and childcare, or even well-being perks such as monthly massages.
Review and evaluate your HR strategy
Every month or so, assess your human resource management plan to determine whether it enables your company to achieve its goals. At a company level, look into factors such as turnover, future growth plans and expansion of departments. At a staffing level, review upcoming vacancies, employee satisfaction, productivity, and skills/training development.
Get help from the pros
At SD Worx, we are here for you if you need help with your human resources management. We offer HR and payroll solutions to more than 60,000 businesses worldwide, so why not get in touch to find out more.