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How Your Succession Plan Can Inform Your Workforce Planning

Jason Diamond Arnold

February 20, 2020

Skilled workers are the heart and soul of a company, but with unemployment at an all time low and a growing skills gap, a shortage of skilled workers is making it hard for businesses to find the right employees to give life to the mission and business objectives of that organization. For a number of organizations, the ability to effectively staff their company and retain employees is a growing concern with revenue, productivity, and output at risk.

So, what can you do within your role to develop a skilled workforce within your organization? Strategic workforce planning helps organizational leaders design a process that proactively anticipates hiring needs, and a plan on how to fill those needs efficiently. Through the use of business analytics, financial ability, and HR data, organizations can create a strategic workforce plan that meets its desired long-term goals by ensuring the organization has the resources it needs to meet its business needs.

Don’t know where to start with #StrategicWorkforcePlanning? @InspireSoftware says look to your #SuccessionPlan for clues:Tweet This!

But it’s not just your entry and mid-level employees you have to worry about. 10% to 15% of corporations every year need to appoint a new CEO. For most companies, a shift in executive leadership is an imminent business issue, and an important part of an organization’s strategic workforce planning (SWP).

Change and uncertainty can have an adverse effect on the overall health of an organization, but effective planning can eliminate friction and ambiguity when change does occur. Seamless succession planning is a key component of a strategic workforce plan.

Bonus Content: Download the Millennial Succession Timeline

Strategic Workforce Planning

So, what exactly is strategic workforce planning? SWP takes an organization’s key people objectives and details their hiring and development needs for the year in order to reach those objectives. Key objectives might include:

  • Aligning hiring goals with long-term needs
  • Onboarding and time-to-productivity improvements
  • Training and developing teams and individuals
  • Developing leaders from within the organization
  • Increasing retention rates and reducing attrition
  • Crafting a stronger company culture
  • Identifying talent gaps and their potential solutions
  • Building productive, high-performing teams

A robust SWP provides organizations with a more holistic vision of their overall business objectives, and illuminates where managers can use training and personnel strategies as a foundation to support organizational productivity. SWP is normally crafted through a model that helps you organize, prioritize, and align your business needs with a carefully researched methodology. Using a SWP model that fits your organization helps you visualize how your staffing needs might adapt in the future — like experiencing executive turnover — and you can anticipate any known or unseen changes that may impact your hiring forecast and development needs down the road, before it becomes a crisis.

Succession Planning vs. Workforce Planning

There are some similarities between succession planning and workforce planning. Though they may serve different purposes, they can function well together. These are some of the key aspects of an effective Succession Plan:

  1. Proactive development of employee skill sets
  2. Continual and effective feedback
  3. Set measurable outcomes
  4. Create a realistic timeline
  5. Use your company vision and values as a guideline

Bonus Content: Download the Succession Planning Infographic

These five principles could also apply to your workforce planning. While your succession planning requires strict parameters for executive development and leadership, adopting the same criteria for a high-stakes position at the executive level is a great opportunity to build out best practices throughout the entire organization. Steps 1-5 of your succession plan can be just as relevant for the internal promotion of Senior Software Architect as it is when hiring your next CFO.

How are your #SuccessionPlan and #StrategicWorkforcePlanning linked? @InspireSoftware has the answer in their latest blog:Tweet This!

The difference lies in what happens beyond employee development and staffing needs. While a succession plan creates a timeline and a development cadence for one specific need, workforce planning serves to identify resource gaps, staffing holes, and which key results can be improved in the process. Data gained from your strategic workforce plan advances your business forward, ensuring you are constantly improving performance metrics and meeting new organizational objectives at the same time.

Inspire Software can help create the foundation for identifying training and development needs, aligning them to greater strategic objectives, and fostering an environment where employees at all levels strive for excellence. Your talent is your greatest asset, and while turnover and hiring is inevitable, Inspire provides the tools you need to ensure that the people you have can work to their best abilities and full potential. We’d love to show you more about the ways Inspire can help leaders motivate, develop, and encourage growth company-wide.