The advent of the recent pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way people do business. Whether this change becomes permanent or will eventually revert to post-COVID times is all up in the air. However, as business owners steadily recover from the fallout, one thing is for certain － the pandemic’s impact will linger well into the foreseeable future. This is why having a workforce plan is more essential than ever before.
In today’s volatile times, businesses must quickly assess their present situation to adapt and change as well as enable their workforce to persist through remote working if they are to come out successful from this global crisis. So how can organisations manage the impact on their workforce today? How will they overcome disruptions and transform their operations to mitigate future risk? And what are their options for readjusting their current workforce management strategy to mitigate present and future crises?
Read on as we detail workforce planning and the steps in developing a productive strategy.
Workforce planning and the people responsible for it
Workforce planning is getting every factor right when it comes to your workforce, i.e. the right number of people with the right set of skills onboarded at the right time and assigned to the right place. A thoughtfully-considered and well-executed workforce strategy helps identify a business’s direction and what it needs to get there. Another way to think of it is a map that shows the most efficient route towards a successful and sustainable future. Predicting the essential skills and competencies required of staff members across many possible future outcomes helps mitigate uncertainty in the face of disruption and provides a framework for accomplishing business goals.
When it comes to the parties responsible for workforce planning, it goes without saying that Human Resource (HR) teams are the ones on the first line in developing an effective strategy for their organisation. However, it is best to keep in mind that this is not just a ‘people issue’ and that senior leaders must also be involved in the process. For instance, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are the ideal candidates for offering insights into the company’s strategic direction, while Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) can contribute their affordability and budgeting wisdom.
Ultimately, HR will have key information on which workforce skills and capabilities are necessary to produce successful results and how to best train and sustain staff over time. After the high-level planning is complete, do not forget to get buy-in from employees too. Discussions surrounding workforce management, flexible work practices, remuneration, development and training, and family-friendly arrangements should involve a representative to tailor the strategy to the employees’ needs efficiently.
How a strategic workforce plan can benefit your organisation
A proper workforce strategy helps businesses be one step ahead and guides them towards better HR decisions now and down the line. Moreover, it can also:
- Guarantee business continuity by prioritising workforce demographics.
- Identify how to plan and deploy the workforce efficiently.
- Make the business more agile amid dynamic markets.
- Promote proactive and strategic change instead of just-in-time management.
- Focus on developing existing employees and better business managers.
- Attract, retain, and reward top performers and reduce absenteeism.
Five steps to a productive workforce management strategy
As the pandemic continues to pose a risk and with potential outbreaks recurring at any time, it is vital to readjust your strategic workforce planning to prioritise possible future scenarios and steps. Doing so will better navigate your businesses in the current new normal. Below are the general steps to readjusting and executing your workforce plan in the post-COVID era.
1. Reflect and readjust
With most people now having more spare time due to working from home, take this as an opportunity to reflect on recent experiences and learnings and how your businesses can better react to change in the future. Topics like the aspects that evolved in your employees’ work and how you can help them better, realigning executive and HR teams to focus on the present and short-term business priorities, and reconfiguring the workplace and workforce to meet evolving businesses needs are only a few of the things worth pondering over.
2. Prioritise personal safety
The pandemic has renewed and heightened the focus on personal and workforce safety, so make sure to spare no effort in promoting your employees’ overall well-being. To learn how you can best achieve this, here are a few questions to help serve as your guide.
- How can you reorganise the workplace to comply with health mandates while making sure unwell employees stay home?
- How can you promote collaboration in your remote teams?
- How can you make remote working more productive and inclusive?
3. Functional flexibility
With remote working arrangements like work from home (WFH) now part of the norm worldwide and well into the near future, businesses and their employees now enjoy greater flexibility that comes with savings, be it in office rents or daily expenses on commuting. However, it is important to still pay attention to the workforce’s needs to do their job properly. To ensure your employees have everything they need to be productive while also combating the inherent issues of long-term WFH, consider adopting coworking spaces into your work model, which delivers the flexibility you need and all the necessary tools, supplies, and amenities for uninhibited work.
4. Be the best example in what you say
With traditional efforts to align teams now ineffective due to remote working, having clear, timely, empathetic, and supportive communication is key to keeping everyone together. Thus, look into strategies to regularly communicate with staff, connect physically distant teams, and policies for respectful online interactions to keep workforce connections intact for when it is time to return to the office.
5. Train for the future of work
According to a McKinsey report, a crucial component of building operating-model resilience is workforce strategy adapted to post-pandemic working methods. Although the pandemic catalysed digital transformation, leaders should not solely focus on remote working or automation. Resilience in the post-COVID world requires upskilling or reskilling employees to maximise productivity and develop new, more agile business models.
Among the many lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the most important takeaway is to expect the unexpected. Thus, business leaders must act fast and draft an effective workforce plan that covers as many possibilities regarding what may come tomorrow, next week, and well into the foreseeable future to keep up with today’s changing economy. This is the way businesses can future-proof themselves and safeguard their people so they can do their best work yet.
If your organisation is interested in adopting coworking spaces in its workforce plan, look no further than GreenHub Singapore. Our modern and green coworking office spaces for rent come with complete furnishings, office supplies and amenities. They are adorned with specific design elements like greenery and natural lighting proven to enhance productivity and promote your employees’ overall well-being. Give us a call at +65 6692 8000 to learn more details.