Workforce planning is critical to any successful business.
On this page:Questions for you to answerPredicting labour supply and demandSuccession planningScenario planningFinalising a planRegular reviewsFunding opportunities
Questions for you to answer
Decisions need to be based on good information, not guesswork, so start by asking these questions:
- do you have enough information to plan your staffing needs?
- do you know what training is required for each employee to meet your business needs? - a training needs analysis is a useful tool
- will your business be affected by the ageing population and increased retirements?
- are there any industry issues that could affect staffing levels?
- do you have strategies to recruit and retain staff?
- do you know your employees' preferred work arrangements?
- do they have the right skills and training to meet current and future needs?
- have you identified any jobs or employees critical to your business success?
- can you redesign jobs and create flexible arrangements to retain key staff?
Predicting labour supply and demand
A gap analysis is a useful tool for predicting labour supply and demand to meet future skills needs. The key steps include:
- gaining an overview of your workforce, including age, skills, intentions and work preferences - it may help to divide your workforce into groups or departments
- calculating predicted losses through retirement, promotions, transfers and resignations for one year, three years and five years
- calculating labour demand through business growth, fluctuations in sales and other internal and external factors over the same periods
- subtracting the supply forecast from the demand forecast to predict workforce requirements over the next five years.
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Identify and track those employees who are capable of filling other roles or higher level management positions. This reduces your dependence on particular individuals and ensures corporate knowledge is transferred when staff resign, retire or go on extended leave.
This involves creating 'what if' scenarios to prepare for events that could impact on your business, such as a manager resigning or a leading consultant taking maternity leave. Scenario planning can be part of a strategic or business planning workshop led by a facilitator.
Finalising a plan
Appoint someone to implement the plan and make sure they have the appropriate tools and resources. The plan should outline:
- what needs to be done - eg opening a new outlet
- who needs to take charge - eg the general manager
- what staff resources and training are needed
- when each task needs to be completed.
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Keep reviewing your plan to make sure it is effective and up-to-date:
- analyse targets and results to check key factors such as staff turnover, vacancies filled, labour costs and training delivered
- gain feedback through one-on-one discussions with senior staff
- hold focus groups to discuss the business and its direction
- introduce employee surveys to obtain confidential feedback from staff, measure job satisfaction, discover employee work intentions and collect ideas for improvements.
Employers wanting to skill or retrain their workforce may be eligible for funding assistance from:
Skills in the Workplace - South Australian Government
Skills Connect - Australian Government
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