What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Applied to strategic workforce planning, the answer is: that’s a hard call. 

You’re likely a business already in existence and you need to keep things moving in the right direction. Since you probably don’t have the luxury of halting everything (and why should you?) then let’s start with what passengers we currently have on the bus.  

Identify your passengers with Talent Cards.

A Talent Card is very similar to a resume that also builds upon the specific needs of your organization. Some information that may be found on this document is:

  • the person’s name
  • previous experience (equates to years of experience)
  • education
  • certifications
  • ability to travel
  • ability to relocate
  • preference of in person or remote work 
  • if the individual is part of a succession plan and, if so, if they are ready now, in one to two years, or three to five years, etc. 
  • what developmental opportunities they must have to become a part of a succession plan

Now that you have your talent identified, build the structure – the “bus” for our passengers to ride in.  The number of seats depends on your organizational needs but since organizations are ever changing and you’re going to grow along the way, leave room for a double decker and future seats as well.

Determining how to structure your “bus” relies heavily on your business goals and objectives. Once those are set you can determine how you are going to get there. 

Remember: every seat has a purpose. Based on the structure you have defined, determine what types of roles and how many roles you need. As you work through these answers, make certain that you are defining how each role will contribute directly or indirectly to the team.  

Create an organizational chart.  

This chart will allow you to clearly see your structure, where each seat is, and if you have or need a hierarchy vs. having a more linear organization

Each seat needs a job description so that the passenger who occupies that seat understands clearly what they need to do to ensure the trip runs smoothly.  After the seats and job descriptions are clearly defined, you can match the talent cards of your passengers to their seats.  

You may fill all your seats with the passengers you currently have lined up. That’s fantastic! If you have a structure in place that already works, make sure that you are always planning for the future, so your people don’t grow stagnant.  

Unfortunately, it’s likely not that easy. You are more than likely going to find that you have empty seats, passengers that you aren’t certain are the best fit for openings that you have, and passengers that are sitting in the wrong seat. All of this is normal and ok! 

It’s all part of why strategic workforce planning is so important. This process isn’t to say that you need to take the boarding pass away from the passenger, instead it is to determine where else on the bus the passenger is needed and if you need the individual to change seats, what is the smoothest and best path to get them there.

If you have vacant seats, look to internal talent first. If you need to hire externally that works too. Make sure that you aren’t hiring just for today’s needs. Hire for tomorrow’s needs as well, keeping in mind your future growth.

You will have passengers who want to be drivers, want to provide GPS directions, want to sit quietly in the back, want to hang out the window, ect. All of this is ok if those passengers are sitting in the seats that support your structure and that utilize the passengers’ strengths to the best of their ability.

Revisit talent cards often. 

Growth and development will assist in retaining key performers. Since you’ve worked through the entire workforce planning process, you are certain that each person plays a key role directly or indirectly in assisting the organization in meeting its business goals and objectives.

Finally… Budget, Budget, Budget.

Sound like a lot? It’s worth every ounce of time, energy, and resources. You aren’t able to deliver on your company’s promise or meet your company goals without it!

HR Insights is skilled in workforce planning and can cater to your business needs. Schedule a meeting today to get started on your strategic workforce plan! 

You may know exactly what HR solutions you need or you may not know where to begin. Either way, we are here for you!

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