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6 Ways to Overcome the Obstacles of Workforce Planning

The workforce is evolving. Today’s employees aren’t afraid to leave their current jobs to find another that better meets their career aspirations. In fact, an estimated 3.4 million Americans willingly quit their jobs in June 2018. Facing these high turnover rates and increased employee expectations, employers are looking for new ways to attract and retain talent. An organization’s workforce planning efforts are now more important than ever before.

There are a whole host of benefits that come with strategic workforce planning, from helping the company ensure the right people are in the right roles, to improving efficiency, new hire onboarding, and employee engagement. An organization’s employees are without a doubt its strongest assets; therefore, it goes without saying that workforce planning is critical for long-term success.

However, despite the wide array of benefits that come with it, many organizations still struggle with workforce planning. Although it’s becoming a more critical area of focus for employers battling high turnover rates, workforce planning is certainly not without its fair share of challenges—and getting it right is even more challenging.

Understanding the Common Workforce Planning Obstacles

Whether you’ve been tasked with workforce planning or you’re proactively looking for ways to improve workforce planning at your organization, you may find yourself wondering how employers can overcome these obstacles and effectively plan for the future. Before you jump right into your planning efforts, it’s helpful to understand the obstacles that organizations commonly face (and sometimes learn lessons from) when they’re focusing on workforce planning.

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Some of the most common obstacles that organizations face during workforce planning include:

The good news is that when you’re aware of these challenges going in, you can implement solutions to avoid hitting any potential roadblocks that could stall your progress.

Identifying Potential Workforce Planning Solutions

Although getting started may be daunting at first, by focusing on a few key ways to overcome obstacles, you can ensure your workforce planning efforts are both strategic and successful.

1. Recognizing the Gaps

One of the first (and most important) steps to workforce planning is recognizing any existing gaps in the workforce. This applies to not only talent gaps, but also process gaps and skill gaps. What isn’t working about the company’s current setup? What is the organization lacking? What could be improved upon to increase efficiency and enhance the employee experience? By recognizing these gaps, you’ll begin to gain a better understanding of the changes that need to be made to drive improvement.

2. Collaborating on Plans

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make during workforce planning is failing to communicate and gather feedback internally before coming to any final conclusions. Too often, major decisions regarding the organization’s structure are made without consulting any of the company leaders outside of the executive team. Instead, you should collaborate with department leaders and managers, who are close to the employees on a daily basis and likely have a better understanding of areas for improvement. Modern workforce planning technology, such as live org chart software, makes it much easier to share different versions of the org chart and invite others to collaborate and make changes.

3. Managing Talent Strategically

When it comes to running a successful business, strategically managing your talent is extremely important. Along with ensuring that your existing employees are in the right roles with the right responsibilities, you should also approach new hires strategically. It’s a good idea to achieve a balance between promoting existing employees and recruiting new hires. When you decide to hire externally, workforce planning can help ensure that you recruit talent that fills a specific demand or skill set that your organization lacks. It’s important that you carefully align your gap analysis results with your hiring efforts to ensure that you’re making the smartest possible decisions for your organization’s workforce.

4. Preparing for Future Growth

Rather than being reactive and focusing on only the short-term initiatives, employers should think ahead and make plans with the company’s future growth in mind. If your organization plans to ever expand, workforce planning can help identify the types of employees that you’ll need to hire in order to drive (and manage) that growth. By taking a proactive approach and planning ahead, you can anticipate the company’s future needs and ensure you have the right people in place to meet those needs should they arise. Also, instead of limiting the company’s growth planning to executive leaders, be sure to involve other leaders who may be able to offer valuable feedback to help inform the organizational structure as it evolves.

5. Leveraging Technology

Workforce planning initiatives are only as good as the team and tools that you entrust to get the job done. Not only is it important that you put the right people in charge of workforce planning, but also the right technology to help execute it. The right workforce planning technology, such as live org chart software, can help by allowing you to collaborate internally on reorganization. With this technology, you can create multiple private versions of the org chart as you progress in your planning. You can also easily share those org charts with your team members for easy collaboration while implementing a corporate reorganization or planning for a new phase of hiring.

6. Making Data-Driven Decisions

With such an abundance of employee data available, why not leverage that information to make smarter, data-driven decisions regarding your workforce? Employee data is fundamental when it comes to predicting future staffing needs, identifying talent and skill gaps, business forecasting, recruiting new hires, and much more. With live org chart software, you can leverage an organized view of the company’s employee data to inform all of your future workforce planning initiatives.

Although workforce planning is certainly not without its challenges, it’s also an extremely useful tool for improving employee engagement, retaining talent, increasing efficiency, identifying gaps, enhancing employee onboarding, minimizing risk, and achieving long-term success. With the right team and tools in place, you can effectively plan for the future and ensure your organization meets its strategic goals.

The right workforce planning technology can help you effectively overcome many of the common obstacles that come with planning for the future and restructuring as an organization grows and evolves. Sign up for a free Pingboard account to take advantage of our dynamic live org chart software for workforce planning, onboarding, internal collaboration, and more.

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Cameron Nouri
by Cameron Nouri
I am the Director of Growth at Pingboard. I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart. I love trying new things and taking educated risks on new ventures, both professionally and in my personal life. I bring that passion to work everyday where I enjoy helping others discover the power that Pingboard can unlock.