Strategic Workforce Planning: Axcet HR Solutions' Six-Phase Process

By Sherri Bennett, SPHR & SHRM-CP on Jul 21, 2021
5 min read 0 comment(s)

Share this:

workforce planning

The National Institutes of Health defines workforce planning as a multi-phase process of analyzing and forecasting workplace supply and demand. This process involves assessing skill gaps and determining the appropriate talent management interventions. Organizations need to ensure they have selected employees with the right skills and placed them where they can best utilize those skills. Without workplace planning, smaller businesses would not be able to meet strategic objectives.

Axcet HR Solutions Offers Strategic Workforce Planning for Smaller Businesses

As a certified professional employer organization (CPEO) in Kansas City, Axcet HR Solutions works with companies employing fewer than 250 people to help them meet business objectives. The process starts with evaluating the productivity and level of engagement of current employees.

With so many other administrative tasks to attend to, many small and mid-sized employers in the Kansas City area find they could use help from an experienced HR partner. Axcet is available to be that partner for growing organizations or those considering changes to the organizational chart. Here are just some of the objectives of our organizational development and workforce planning services:

  • Identify current skill gaps and potential skill gaps in the future and propose a plan to address them through employee training or a revamped recruiting effort
  • Identify key performance indicators for current talent
  • Provide communication that assists organizations in discussing how each employee’s role fits into the company vision

We follow a six-phase strategic workforce planning process that we outline below.

Phase 1: Establish Strategic Direction

The primary goal of this introductory stage is for the larger organization to understand objectives determined by leadership and the steps required to bring employee actions into alignment with them. HR professionals from Axcet work with clients to identify expected organizational changes within the next one to five years. Clients need to understand what will drive these changes and current challenges that could stand in the way of achieving them.

This phase is ideal for completing a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The results of the analysis help to determine how prepared a smaller business is to survive issues such as budget changes, lack of employee cooperation, or increased competition. We also assist clients with determining how well each department’s strategic plan aligns with the company’s overall direction and strategy.

Phase 2: Supply Analysis

The purpose of supply analysis is to determine how the current workforce might change over time due to attrition. An easy way to begin this phase is to count the number of employees at each organizational level. Do individual roles within each level align with the current business strategy? If not, what does the company need to do to change that? Some other factors to consider during a supply analysis include:

  • Impact of staff turnover on the company’s ability to deliver products and services
  • Employee seniority in each department
  • Potential change in workflow or organizational leadership
  • New recruitment strategies that can uncover top talent
  • What positions are the most difficult to fill and why

Resolving supply issues is necessary to consider the impact of demand.

Phase 3: Demand Analysis

The middle part of workplace planning requires employers to understand workforce requirements both currently and in the future. For example, what are the staffing requirements to deliver each product or service the company offers? Axcet HR professionals help clients determine the most effective way to measure employee output for each service to ensure maximum efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Smaller businesses need to consider any changes in government regulations, customer base, company policies, or new technology that could impact demand for future services. Individually addressing the impact these changes would have on every product or service the company produces is essential for sustained growth. As we uncover potential challenges, we ask clients to consider whether the company could combine some resources to minimize disruption to customers as much as possible.

business succession planning tips to start the process

Phase 4: Gap Analysis

After identifying gaps between workforce supply and demand for a client, the next step is to prioritize gaps that pose the greatest threat to the overall performance level. We assist clients in developing a plan to address the prioritized gaps such as increased skill training of current employees. For companies with multiple locations, we study the area demographics such as cost of living to uncover reasons why some locations may struggle more than others to retain the most experienced employees.

Phase 5: Implementation of Solutions

Here is where we take all the issues we identified and create a plan to address ongoing gaps with the intention of meeting the organization’s strategic goals. We propose both short-term and long-term solutions to drive the achievement of goals.

Our HR experts also ask clients to consider which solutions the company is ready to implement, realistically. When leadership is ready, but most employees remain resistant, we work on developing tactics that enable clients to receive greater buy-in from current workers. Because Axcet HR Solutions recognizes that every small to mid-sized business is unique and has different objectives. This is the reason we spend so much time determining the best performance metrics to gauge the results of specific actions.

Phase 6: Monitor Progress

When it is clear that a newly implemented change is not progressing as expected, we work with clients to identify and overcome challenges to widespread adoption. We understand that workforce supply, demand, and strategic direction changes over time for every company and update workforce planning accordingly.

An important question for clients to consider at this phase is how the company will define success. Will employees need to work through certain steps to call the new process a success, or will it come mostly from the information included in financial reports? Keep in mind the definition of success differs for every smaller business. Leadership may require input from our HR experts to come up with an agreeable definition for everyone.

Timeliness is also important to consider. If a business did not complete its action plan on time, what were the reasons? Was the action plan realistic? Did key individuals fail to give it the necessary time and attention? Answering these questions honestly will improve the workforce planning process each time a company undertakes it.

Schedule a Consultation to Learn More About Our Strategic Planning Services

Axcet HR Solutions has served as a co-employer for small and mid-sized businesses in the Kansas City area for 33 years. With an average staff tenure of almost 10 years, clients can feel confident of working with an experienced and dedicated team of Human Resources professionals who have their success and best interests at heart. We invite employers to request a consultation to learn more about all services we offer at Axcet.

Related Reading

Building an Effective Compensation Strategy During Uncertain Times

Hiring at the Top of Your Salary Range? Here's Why It's Not a Good Idea

Business Succession Planning: Why It Should Be Your Top Priority

Human Resource Solutions: You have HR questions. We have HR services.

Get HR Updates

Table of Contents

Should Your Small Business Offer Health Insurance

are you required to offer health insurance at your small business
Axcet HR Solutions Human Resources Consultant in Kansas City Mariah

Choosing the Right Health Insurance for Employees While Saving Money

Let us know what you think...