Plenty has been written about the importance of engaging with and maintaining a productive workforce during the crisis. But as some countries start to relax their lockdown measures we need to move beyond tips on and effective management of remote working.
With this question in mind, Matthew Dickason, Global Managing Director at Global Recruitment Specialists Hays Talent Solutions shares his thoughts and advice on how organisations can get started in workforce planning for now and the next normal post-lockdown.
Getting the right people, in the right place, at the right time and cost will be central to success and effective workforce planning will be critical to this. Without it how can you be sure you are making the right, responsive and responsible resourcing decisions for your business and your employees?
One of the biggest mistakes we see is people confusing workforce planning with a plan. It does not need to be complex and can be adjusted to suit the size and maturity of your workforce programme.
A simple way to get started is to have a documented check-in with your business unit leaders every other week. Most businesses have already done this on the downside as a response to COVID-19, it's maintaining this discipline and identifying the workforce priorities, their anticipated resourcing needs and critical dependencies on an ongoing basis.
Once you have a plan in place to deal with the right now you’ll need to develop a workforce planning group, to identify a range of realistic variables and resourcing options, accounting for fluctuations in demand, productivity, skills availability and an ever-evolving world of work.
Finally, you will need to establish what the next normal means for your business after the immediate crisis passes. What will have changed forever, what new ways of working do you want to keep and what does this mean for your workforce and then communicate it.
Workforce strategy should reflect business strategy and your organisation’s purpose. Those who work with and for you want to know what an organisation stands for. And this stands true during this crisis more than ever. As whilst your workers may be physically separated, they are united by your purpose and values. This is critical to maintaining and potentially reforming your organisational culture which forms the foundation for future success.
Whilst no-one can accurately predict with any certainty what will come next. It is clear responsive and responsible workforce planning will be required to navigate the now and the next normal. Because the skills you need today will not be the same as those you need tomorrow.
This uncertainty will require you to cycle through your workforce planning process more often than ever. Scenarios will need to be refined and refreshed. Don’t worry about perfection. Each iteration will improve over time.
But start today, so when the next stage of the COVID-19 crisis hits you are the first to know and fastest to act because you’ll have done the thinking, identified the people and created the plans to do so.