What are the simple 5 steps to efficient workforce planning?

What are the simple 5 steps to efficient workforce planning? - Centric HR

Understanding the key elements to efficient workforce planning can make a huge difference to your organisational strategy. With our 5 simple steps, you will have an easy guide to monitoring your workforce goals and determining areas for improvement. Read on to learn more about the 5 steps to efficient workforce planning including the benefits of workforce planning. 

So, what are the simple 5 steps to efficient workforce planning?  To improve workforce planning you should follow these steps; understand your current processes, analyse your workforce, develop an action plan, implement your action plan, and monitor your action plan. By following these steps you will identify SMART goals for improving your workforce efficiency. 

Keep reading to find out more about the key workforce planning tools that you could be using as well as whether workforce planning is cost effective. 

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5 simple steps to improving workforce planning efficiency 

Workforce planning is the central process that relates to the main strategy of any workforce, and can most easily be understood or applied by using 5 simple steps. We have detailed the 5 simple steps to improving your workforce planning efficiency below, so that you can use them as a guide. 

  • Understand your current process: 

The first step to improving your workforce planning efficiency is to understand how you currently plan for your workforce. This could include requesting your current business plan to assess how the business is performing and the goals in place for the future. Alternatively, you may evaluate the realistic level of input a goal is going to require from each employee and whether you have the capacity to meet this requirement. The main purpose of this step is to identify how you are currently managing your workforce, as well as any areas for improvement. 

  • Analyse the workforce: 

The second step involves taking a deeper look at the skills, abilities and knowledge levels of your workforce. Analysing your workforce can also include assessing your employee retention rates and identifying reasons why you may be losing staff. What’s more, you may even begin to notice patterns in certain demographics of your workforce and levels of understaffing. Recognising these patterns are vital to creating workforce planning solutions. 

  • Develop an action plan:

From analysing your business plan and strategic goals, you should now be able to recognise the skills and knowledge that will be required from your workforce in order to achieve said goals. As part of this, you will also be able to recognise the timeframe that is required in order to achieve these goals. By identifying these factors, you can plan for scenarios that may be unexpected or for times when certain staff members are not present. For example, certain employees may be retiring soon, therefore you need to ensure that you will have a sufficiently skilled workforce to meet the business goals during the crossover period. 

  • Implement your action plan: 

At this stage, you should collaborate with various departments to implement your action plan and ensure the resources are in place to make your plan achievable. For example, you would need to organise a budget with your accountants, and work with your marketing team to decide how you are going to advertise for recruitment roles. Furthermore, you will also need to work with management to write detailed job descriptions to ensure you are seeking the correct talent. 

  • Monitor and evaluate your action plan: 

Once you have implemented your action plan it is important to consistently monitor its progress to ensure that it is proving successful and adapting it where required. Using SMART goals to measure your progress can be particularly helpful at this stage, to ensure you are on track for achieving your workforce goals and in a relevant timeframe. 

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What are the workforce planning tools that you could be utilising? 

Workforce planning tools are a great way to ensure you monitor all areas of your workforce planning strategy. They can act as a support to your planning and prioritise the identification of where you are in relation to your end goal. Take a look at the table below to learn about the workforce planning tools that you could be utilising. 


The 9 Box Grid The 9 box grid helps to map the potential and performance of your employees all in one model. It categorises employers by talent risk, performance level and consistency. People often find this workforce planning tool useful because it is an easy visual to understand. 
Strategic Workforce Planning MapThe strategic workforce planning map is a tool used to align the plan with the overall goal and strategy of the organisation. Once the directors have decided upon the organisation strategy, this tool can be used to create a roadmap for workforce planning, and to identify how you are going to achieve these goals. 
HR DashboardingThis is a tool that is used to show current workforce capabilities. The dashboard uses payroll information and an applicant tracking system to calculate data which can inform you whether your plan is proving successful. This is often quite a popular workforce planning tool because it provides numerical data to work from. 
Contingency PlanningThis workforce planning tool helps to plan for alternative scenarios that may take place. By thinking in this way, you reduce the chances of being caught off-guard and experiencing a negative impact on your workforce planning strategy. By identifying these scenarios you can then create contingency plans to avoid any potential issues. 
Compensation and Benefits AnalysisThis workforce planning tool is a great way to be accurate and effective with your strategy. This is because it involves setting benchmarks for when employees should be rewarded which means they have something to work towards. Then as soon as they have reached the benchmark, they get rewarded. By doing so, you can easily identify the employees that are underperforming and those that are overperforming. 


What are the benefits of strategic workforce planning?

Implementing a workforce planning strategy can provide an array of benefits to organisations in any industry. So before you begin to apply workforce planning to your organisation, take a look at the key benefits of doing so, according to the CIPD

  • Alleviation inefficiencies within the workforce
  • Improves employee retention
  • Improves employees’ work-life balance
  • Improves talent management 
  • Improved employee productivity 
  • Reduced labour costs in favour of workforce flexibility 
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These benefits are good for both the employee and employer because they improve how an organisation is run whilst simultaneously creating a better workload, and workplace for employees. This can result in employees feeling more positive and motivated towards their work, which in turn improves employee engagement. To learn more about employee engagement and why it is important take a look at our recent blog by clicking here. 



Is it cost effective to implement a workforce planning strategy? 

Implementing a workforce planning strategy may seem like a good idea but often it can be difficult to decide whether it is a cost effective investment. With other increased overheads that come as part of running an organisation, is workforce planning the biggest priority? 

Workforce planning is a cost effective investment because it can improve the overall efficiency of your workforce. With improved efficiency, comes reduced labour hours, reduced cost of hiring new employees and reduced need for additional training. What’s more, once you have been guided by experts on how to implement a workplace planning strategy, you can then continue to utilise that knowledge and experience independently, for years to come. 

Although it may seem like an initial upfront cost, you can be confident that you will receive bespoke, unbiased advice on how to improve your workforce planning. This in turn, will result in a more efficient business with potential reduced costs. 

Workforce Planning at Centric HR

Centric HR are experienced HR Consultants in Staffordshire and Birmingham. Our team is here to support you with your HR workforce planning strategies to ensure that your organisation runs successfully. Our workforce planning programme helps to identify cut costs and improve the efficiency of your organisation. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our workforce planning service and how we can help your business. 

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Picture of Sandra Berns

Sandra Berns

Centric HR was founded by Sandra Berns, a confident and versatile Human Resources and Organisational Development Practitioner with 25 years demonstrable experience and a Fellow of the CIPD. Sandra has both Operational and Strategic HR expertise across Public and Private sectors and has assisted senior teams in meeting challenging workforce objectives in many corporate environments.