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What does the future look like for your business? Adapt, Adjust, Pivot and Innovate are words I keep hearing over and over again. It’s the advice coming from the business guru’s – the experts on what we should be doing to survive COVID-19. They are the words I keep hearing from the business owners I am talking to as they try to find a way to ride out COVID-19 to ensure their business exists in the future. None of us really know what’s going to happen but the general consensus is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Business owners and leaders are revisiting strategic plans, adjusting operational business plans and many have used this time to action ideas and initiatives that have been on the back burner because we have been time poor in the past and unable to get to those ideas on our to do lists.
With all this adapting, adjusting, pivoting and innovating, what does that mean for your workforce of the future?
Workforce Planning can sometimes be the step that we overlook, or don’t invest enough time in considering. Therefore, now more than ever it’s critical to review and rework your Workforce Plan to align it with business changes and new directions.
What’s a Workforce Plan?
It’s the ongoing review of your people to ensure the business can meet service or production requirements and objectives. Basically, it’s about having the right people in the right jobs at the right time to ensure success.
The reality for many businesses is that because of the changes we are making, either through choice or because we have been forced to through economic changes, our workforce will look very different in the future compared to what it did pre COVID-19. To set your business up for success we need to think and plan for what our Workforce needs will be.
Changes that might need to be considered could include:
- Positions becoming redundant because we no longer offer a particular service or product, or we offer it in a different manner or because we have leveraged technology.
- Recruiting new skill sets because of the change in the way we do things or new service offerings, we may need to bring in new or different skills and expertise.
- Upskilling and cross skilling team members because of changes in workloads in various departments and the need to have multi-skilled staff to be able to retain them in the business.
- Growing our workforce to capitialise on the bounce back opportunities, this may mean engaging temporary employees until we know what the growth looks like.
- Restructuring – if we have had the wrong people in the wrong jobs and have been inefficient, now is the opportune time to make changes and get people operating in their genius.
Where to start? If you have been adapting, adjusting, pivoting and innovating; the next step must be to look at your Workforce Plan. If you miss this critical step, even the best laid plans and ideas to adapt and innovate will go awol. You won’t have the right people with the right skills, or the right number of people to help you execute and achieve your plans. Remember it is our people that differentiate us to our competitors.
Three Key Tips for Reviewing your Workforce Plan
- Map the workforce you need based on your new strategic plan or business plan or new projects/initiatives. Identify the gaps compared to your current workforce plan or your current workforce structure. Create an action plan to close the gaps.
- Communicate, communicate and communicate some more. Engage your people in the process, let them have input, they will see things differently to you and will have some great ideas to consider. This is a change management process so bring them along on the journey. Be very aware of your key messaging and what they are hearing vs what you think you are saying.
- Work with some one independent; a business mentor or coach, a HR consultant. You will need someone to challenge your thinking, question your decisions and reasoning. It’s easy for us to get to close to our businesses – we are emotionally invested and sometimes we are biased in the decisions we are making because of emotions and relationships. There may be some hard decisions to make, someone independent will help you navigate this space to make sure you are making the right decisions for the right reasons.
Investing the time now to revisit your workforce plan to get the right people in the right positions at the right time will give you the best opportunity to achieve your business goals and objectives as we start to rebuild post COVID-19.
Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.