employees

SMEs must plan now to position for growth

The new financial year is upon us, and now is the time SMEs should be considering their 2011-12 HR requirements.

Finding and sourcing the best talent is causing a major constraint on the expansion plans of many organisations, and workforce planning has never been more important as a result. As the war for skilled candidates becomes more intense, these pressures will only increase.

However, a recent survey conducted by BCG highlighted that only 9% of corporate respondents have actually analysed the supply and demand of their future workforce, and only 6% have started to look at developing retention, recruitment and talent management strategies for jobs affected by skill shortages.

If you don’t have strategies in place to retain key staff as your business grows, how will your business maintain current levels of capability and productivity?  Now’s the time to act.

The key to the success of a workforce planning strategy is in cross-functional engagement and partnering – make sure the processes and functions interact effectively throughout your business, and then link the workforce plan to the business plan.

It’s important to map the supply and demand of talent to your business’s current and future strategy. Using the right set of measures, businesses are armed with the ability to determine the size of any talent gaps or surplus, and the urgency with which this should be addressed.

When looking at workforce planning, it is also important to consider environmental analysis, taking natural fluctuations and retirement into account to paint a clear picture of your future workforce. Be sure you consider factors such as productivity developments, skill shifts, expected advancements or changes in technology and the way your business operates, as well as future business planning to ensure you meet talent demand and support growth in the longer term.

Leading HR academic Dr John Sullivan believes a six-step workforce planning model is worth considering to strengthen your future talent pool:

–        Forecast the need for talent

–        Prioritise positions

–        Predict potential turnover

–        Identify and develop internal replacements

–        Identify and obtain external replacements

–        Improve ability to manage employment costs

Workforce planning involves predicting, planning, procuring and retaining people. Ensuring your business has the right people, with the right skills, available in the right numbers –performing at optimum levels – when you need them will ensure you achieve business goals and objectives.

Take the time to review your performance in each of these key areas and plan to ensure you to get off to the right start towards reaching your business goals.

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