Understanding the 6 Phases of Workforce Planning

People are the most important asset in any organization. Understand the key phases of workforce planning if you wish to have a successful enterprise.

Key takeaways:

  • The workforce itself is arguably the most important asset in your organization.
  • Companies need to ensure that their recruitment strategies align with their business objectives.
  • It’s crucial that managers and business owners know the six phases of workforce planning.
  • The supply analysis phase looks at your current workforce while the demand analysis phase looks at your future labor needs.
  • In the gap analysis phase, you must compare the current workforce and your future labor needs before finding solutions to address the gaps.

In today’s ever-evolving, talent-based economy, investing in the right people is still one of the absolute best ways for your business to succeed. On a rolling basis, companies need to review the HR skills and roles that are necessary to meet their business objectives. As simple as it sounds, this is often an uphill battle for many companies.

Workforce planning is about having the right person in the right job at the right time. This means that you need to review your business objectives and plan how you will align your workforce to them. There are six phases of workforce planning that you should implement for solid results. We’ll explain the benefits of workforce planning, describe each phase, and include information on how Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) can help. 

Why do you need workforce planning in your business?

Workforce planning sets you up for success by defining measured, optimized goals and how to meet them. It will help you solve your current and unforeseeable staffing problems in the future. Here are four more reasons managers today need to plan their workforce.

  • Talent management – Having a pool of talented staff sets you apart from your competition. Finding people with the right skills and drive will push your business goals forward.
  • Change in demographics – A significant number of firms have an aging workforce, which will present challenges in the future. These problems may include mass retirement or the lack of much-needed contemporary skills. Workforce planning can help a business arrange for such shocks before they shake the foundation of the organization.
  • Reduced costs – With increasing global competition, you ought to figure out a way to work smarter. You may have an expensive or aging workforce that is not as productive as it should be. BPO is one of the smartest ways to increase productivity while reducing costs. 
  • Flexibility – Your organization should be aware of the realities of the current business world. This means adapting to new ways of working such as remote work, or new technology that can enhance the productivity of your staff.

These are just some of the benefits that a business receives when it adopts workforce planning. However, you need to understand the phases of workforce planning if you are to implement it well. Knowing the phases will help set you up for a rigorous, effective plan. 

The six key phases of workforce planning

Now that you have an idea of the benefits of workforce planning, it is important to know how to go about it. There are six essential ingredients of any workforce plan. They include:

1. Strategic direction

The first phase is setting out the company’s strategic direction. Workforce planning is all about getting the right people that can deliver the objectives of your company. So, it makes sense that you should first have a clear understanding of your business goals.

You will have to pose a lot of questions when looking at your strategic direction. This can include discovering existing and future challenges, expected regulatory changes in the market, long-term business strategy, and your future financial projections. Once you have a clear strategic direction, you can create a comprehensive workforce plan.

2. Supply analysis

In this phase, your main aim will be to take a snapshot of the current state of labor supply in your business. You will have to look at both internal and external factors that affect the supply of labor in your organization. For internal factors, you should review the specialization skills, age, gender, and even location of your workforce. Other internal factors include costs and your organizational structure.

Having a clear picture of the labor supply in your organization is important for several reasons. For one, you can decide to find an offshore BPO company for non-essential tasks if you have rising labor costs. Hiring locally isn’t working for many companies because of increased overhead costs and a lack of talent.

3. Demand analysis

Your future human resource needs are what you should focus on in this phase. A smart business owner analyzes some of the future workforce skills that are in demand. They should also figure out the skills that will help their company weather turbulent markets.

The demand forecast should also take into consideration a broad number of issues. You may want to think about future product lines, threats from competition, and the state of global markets. In other instances, you should consider the availability of certain skills in foreign countries.

4. Gap analysis

Once you have your demand and supply analysis ready, you can proceed to this phase. Simply compare the demand and supply models to find out the gaps between your current workforce and your future labor needs. You can work with workforce planning professionals to help you figure out possible future scenarios. The gap analysis will ensure you have an idea of the employees you need and those that you will have to let go of.

5. Solution implementation

This phase involves seeking solutions to the problems you saw when gathering and assessing data. It is here that you have to decide whether to allocate more money or time to certain labor gaps or introduce training to your current staff. You may also want to decide which locations you will hire from and the resources you will use.

6. Monitoring progress

It is wise to regularly monitor the progress of your implemented solutions after completing the phases of workforce planning. Remember that your solutions were meant to address certain workplace gaps, so you should check their efficacy. This should also help you to improve on solutions if they are not effective. Your business objectives, demand analysis, or supply model may change over time, which will prompt you to change your solutions, too.

Doxa7 will add structure to your workforce planning

Workforce planning is a taxing activity that can take up a significant portion of your time and money. Instead of taking on the burden yourself, you can always choose to work with professionals who will save you the anguish and propose credible solutions. This will also allow you to focus on your business. 

In today’s world, you can easily address your workforce challenges by outsourcing your business functions. Doxa7 helps small to medium-sized businesses build high-performing, scalable, global teams. Using our proprietary system, we ensure that small and medium businesses have the infrastructure, tools, and resources to compete with larger organizations.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

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