Start 2018 off Right with Strategic Workforce Planning

Sixty one percent of recruiters expect to hire more people in 2018 than they did in 2017, while 29 percent expect to maintain their current headcount. The thing is, the resources you need to ramp hiring may vary, based on your organization’s business goals. Strategic workforce planning can help you map those business goals to your headcount plan, so you can get a ten thousand foot view of what lies ahead. This includes information like how many hires your team will be responsible for, which types of positions are expected to open up, and what the desired timeline looks like.

Look at your organization’s growth plans

Fifty six percent of organizations are hiring to support growth in 2018. Your first step in strategic workforce planning may be to understand how that translates to recruiting needs this year—and beyond. At this year’s Talent Innovation Summit, Mathew Caldwell reminded us that hiring 120 inside sales representatives is very different from hiring 25 people for each department. Furthermore, the resources needed to hire 40 product managers and engineers this year are very different from the resources needed to hire 40 sales and marketing people next year. Different roles require different recruiters, tools, and budgets to successfully fill them, and it can be helpful to have a long-term plan from which to base decisions. There is also a huge benefit to being able to pipeline for high-priority or hard-to-fill roles well ahead of time.

Don’t forget about your turnover rate

When building your strategic workforce plan, don’t forget to take turnover into account–even if you’re not hiring for growth. Thirteen percent of organizations say they are hiring only to backfill vacant positions. Turnover is inevitable, and it’s important to plan for it to keep your organization running smoothly. If you track your employee turnover rate and compare historical data, you can understand how many people you can reasonably expect to lose this year. Many organizations are now also turning to predictive analytics for a more detailed assessment of expected turnover. Delve into your data by department and seniority, or even position. It’s important to know if, say, sales development representatives have a high turnover rate, but company leaders have experienced virtually no turnover. Hiring and retaining talent for these two types of positions is very different and requires different strategies and resources.

Consider internal candidates

Once you know how many roles you can expect to recruit for, consider whether you have suitable internal candidates to fill them. Internal recruitment can yield high-quality candidates who are pre-screened, can be trained for the specific skills they will need, and will be happier and stay at your organization longer. Using strategic workforce planning to understand your long-term recruitment needs can give you the time needed to develop succession plans, career paths, and development plans. Of course, you will also need to consider the vacant roles internal promotions can leave behind, and plan for those as well. However, those roles are often lower-level, less impactful to the organization, and easier to fill. Promoting internal candidates to more high-priority roles as they open up can do wonders for your overall time to fill and cost of vacancy.

Final thoughts

With strategic workforce planning, you can get a clearer picture of your hiring goals for the next several years, as well as how they relate to business goals. From there, make sure you have the resources you need to meet those goals. You may need additional people on your recruiting team (including internal sourcers and external recruiters), and new recruiting tools (including sourcing and screening tools). Use internal recruiting metrics and benchmark data to make your case for the resources you need to meet your hiring goals. For instance, Lever’s benchmark data shows that 52 percent of applicants are considered unqualified, compared with 22 percent of sourced candidates and 30 percent of referred candidates. Armed with this data, you may be able to build a stronger case for an internal sourcer and an employee referral tool. With the right planning and resources in place, you have a much better shot at reaching your hiring goals and, therefore, your business goals.