6 Pitfalls to Workforce Planning: The Third Pitfall

We’ve talked about the first two pitfalls to Workforce Planning:

  1. Expecting HR to Own Workforce Planning; and
  2. Missing the Big Picture.

Today, let’s talke about Pitfall No.3: Biting off more than your organization can chew.

When properly characterized, Workforce Planning should be viewed as a living, breathing organism. What does that mean?

It means that Workforce Planning should be kept alive and not be allowed to grow stagnant.

Workforce Planning has a number of different levels in its life-cycle; if properly nurtured, Workforce Planning regenerates itself. Think of Workforce Planning like this:

  • At conception, Workforce Planning comes about after an organization creates its Vision and Business Strategy.
  • In it’s embryonic state, Workforce Planning will thrive if the organization gathers and digests a lot of information about the competencies that already exist in their workforce. This will help the organization predict their employees’ potential for future growth.
  • Once that potential is identified, the organizataion must measure skills gaps and define the methods by which to close those gaps.
  • During its infancy, the Plan must be nurtured with positive reinforcing training and informational activities, and kept vibrant with regular assessments of the workforce in order to keep it on track with the organization’s business strategy.
  • The Plan has to be flexible during its growth years, to adjust for and devise retraining opportunities. This means the organization should consistently evaluate their pool of existing potentials and add or delete members based on changes in their business strategy that create changes in their needed competencies.
  • As the Plan matures, it enters its reproductive years; this is when the Plan spawns many levels of repeat activities (e.g., reexamining the workforce to identify new “potentials” for inclusion in the organization’s developmental plan; removing members of the pool who have not grown sufficiently to stay there; and identifying new workforce needs as well as the future competencies needed but not yet available in the labor market). This is the multi-generational phase in Workforce Planning.
  • You will know if the Plan enters its full adult phase when the organization has kept on track with its Business Strategy. This means that its pool of current and ready employees are shored up, ready to move into key positions when needed, high potential employees are in their development stages to backfill currently available employees, a new group of potentials have been brought into the organization based on the organization’s future business needs, and the life-cycle is never-ending.

This is a pretty heady process, right? And because of its complexity, organizations should start small – perhaps identifying 3 to 5 key positions to work with. This will help the organization build credibility with its existing workforce, foster good public relations to attract new employees, and make the overall process a lot more easy to manage and grow. When the full complement of employees are onboard, Workforce Planning is in a much better position to succeed and deliver on its desired results.

Related Article: 6 Pitfalls to Workforce Planning – In the Beginning

[source: “Workforce Planning Pitfalls” a Whitepaper]

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