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?
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…
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:
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.
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?