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  • Jude Mahony

Holistic approach to workforce planning...



...can reduce the impact of the skills shortage

Skilled workforce multi generational multi disciplinary

In part three of this series exploring ways to address the Australian skills shortage (as outlined in Pit Crew Consulting Services’ Resources Sector Workforce Report), we review the importance of holistic workforce planning strategies.


Workforce planning connects your business strategy to your people activities and helps you to identify what to prioritise to manage risk and Return on Investment (ROI). And it all starts with understanding your customer and your value proposition.


Many businesses consider their customer’s needs and expectations at the end of their workforce planning activities, however by considering your customer’s needs first, you can gain meaningful insight to inform other aspects of your people strategy.


Once you truly understand what drives/motivates your customers, you can work back through your delivery value chain and determine the activities required to deliver the products or services to suit their needs. You can then identify the skills that your workforce will need to underpin those core activities. Armed with that information, you are equipped to build a picture of the service delivery model, locations, suppliers and governance required to provide your services to your customers. This approach is applicable to all businesses interested in developing robust operating models and gives you a total picture of the workforce and enablers required to support your customers.

It will also help to build out your EVP or Employer Value Proposition – which can help you understand why people stay with you and why they would want to join your business.

Let’s, for a minute, look at the role of leaders in developing a holistic workforce strategy and consider the sporting term “bench-strength”. You may be familiar with this term but for those who aren’t, it refers to the idea of looking at who is on your “bench” that can be “subbed” in. That is, who, within your current team, can you invest in to help build capability and fill skills or knowledge gaps? What role do they have in your succession planning and plans to future-proof against challenges such as skills shortages?


Without understanding the activities required to deliver to your customers and the skills required to deliver those activities, you won’t know what your team needs to look like and what the gaps are in your bench.

It’s about defining the right work, the right people, and the right behaviours.

I believe businesses need to invest in and understand the drivers behind what makes them resilient to a fluctuating market. From identifying customers’ expectations and understanding what motivates and drives their staff, to determining what skills are needed within the business to bridge the gap – strong analysis will inform the development of robust implementation and workforce plans, able to withstand skills shortages.


So, how does a holistic workforce roadmap potentially mitigate the impact of the skills shortage identified in the Pit Crew Report?


Have a read of our Workforce Planning guide available here. It’s a free e-book that will give you an overview of the different types of workforce plans, the benefits and some suggestions to get you started.


The criticality of developing total workforce planning strategies is a key theme I’ll explore in my book, “Offshoring or shit-shoring? How to transition work between teams” coming out early in the new year. (Send me an email or sign up here if you’re keen to be added to the Waiting List for a copy when it’s released.)


Not sure where to begin? The Optimal Resourcing team offers the “3-2-1 Workforce Roadmap” which looks at your business strategy, engages your team and gives you a clear plan of recommended actions. It helps you to determine what skills you have now, what you need for the future and how to address any gaps through buy, build, borrow, release or retain strategies. We call it the “3-2-1 Workforce Roadmap” because it takes three steps, in two weeks to develop one action plan – a roadmap – of what, when and how to start your targeted people activities. It’s that simple.


Optimal Resourcing’s holistic workforce consulting services focus on our clients' most critical issues and opportunities including:

  • people strategy;

  • leadership;

  • service delivery;

  • recruitment;

  • development;

  • retention,

  • processes;

  • technology;

  • transformation;

  • analytics; and

  • mergers & acquisitions.

I’d be delighted to discuss how Optimal Resourcing can help your organisation – please reach out if you’d like to grab a coffee.


Next week, I’ll publish the final post in this series focussing on the role of training and collaboration in future-proofing Western Australia against skill shortages and other issues.

My other posts can be found here.