Filling the Gaps: Strong Hiring Plan Requires Assessing Current, Future Needs

Employers can’t develop effective hiring strategies without knowing the kind of talent they already have on board, what they’ll need in the future, and how to fill any gaps. A workforce analysis can identify those gaps so that employers can develop an actionable plan. And HR professionals who take the lead in this workforce analysis and planning will be positioned as strategic leaders rather than crisis managers.

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B. Lynn Ware, CEO of Integral Talent Systems, Inc., spoke at BLR’s 2015 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium and described the talent-planning process in four steps. She says to (1) take a current state assessment; (2) conduct future state visioning; (3) formulate a strategy; and (4) execute on and adjust the strategy.
Ware says the strategy starts with an understanding of the gap between the organization’s future demands for talent and the forecasted internal and external supplies of talent. Armed with this information, employers can determine what can be done to plan for and meet those future needs, including adjusting talent development, retention, and recruitment strategies.

Assessing Current and Future Talent Demands

Determining short-term needs and long-term goals and then bringing the two into alignment are the first steps. Ware says to begin by answering a few questions:

  • What are the growth goals for the coming year? In three years? In five years? In 10 years?
  • Where has attrition been, and what factors may affect future attrition?
  • What is important to the organization in terms of recruiting, and how can that be measured?
  • Has the organization’s current infrastructure been able to support its efforts?
  • How is the organization tracking recruiting success? Hiring manager responsiveness?
  • What types of people will the organization need to hire?

Using Predictive Modeling

Most HR professionals who are charged with managing the hiring function often find themselves in a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode. This is because resources are limited, and it is impossible to predict when and how employee turnover will happen.
Often, future hiring plans are hard to predict, making long-term planning difficult. However, most of the uncertainty can be managed using predictive modeling, that is, looking at a date range of personnel records (five years is a good indicator) to determine trends in hiring, turnover rate, and average retirement age.
Analysis of these indicators can show whether an organization is headed toward a workforce shortage – and when – so that appropriate workforce planning can be done.

Developing a Workforce Plan

The majority of work involved in predictive modeling and workforce planning is gathering and analyzing data. In order to ensure that all relevant information is collected, notify all involved individuals that the workforce plan is being formulated.
Consider creating a checklist or standard format for requesting data from those individuals. The data to be collected will most likely include the information learned from predictive modeling but may also include known openings, prior demand, and other competitive factors.
When formulating a workforce plan, remember to focus on business objectives, operations plans, and budgets for a period of years to come. Consider how the competitive market has affected or will continue to affect your organization’s ability to hire and succeed. Also consider:

  • Work to be done to meet the organization’s goals for growth and future success.
  • Which jobs will be integral to the organization meeting those goals?
  • What skills and personalities are required to meet those goals?
  • What steps are necessary to put the right people in the right positions to meet those goals?

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