Workforce planning has never been trickier. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation it triggered have hammered home just how quickly and unexpectedly conditions can change. And if you’ve seen the latest headlines, the pace of change in the market is only speeding up.

As if there wasn’t already enough to contend with, HR leaders are still adjusting to the not-so-new norms of remote and hybrid work, dispersed teams, flexible hours, and our heightened reliance on technology to communicate, get work done, and thrive.

As we continue to adapt, our modes and expectations of work are evolving. And with today’s market volatility, the key to a thriving HR operation is flexibility. By embracing a dynamic workforce planning strategy supported by appropriate workforce management tools, you can prepare for the ups and downs to come. Formulating an ever-ready business strategy lies in supporting an agile, people-focused, and fluid workforce.

Why do you need a dynamic workforce planning strategy?

Traditionally, companies have employed workforce planning and talent management during market downturns as part of workforce reduction strategies. But in today’s unpredictable economy, HR leaders need to be prepared for sudden, overnight growth as much as for downsizing—especially in the tech industry. The key is to build dynamic workforce plans you can apply to various situations.

How do you create a dynamic workforce plan?

Although it may be impossible to pinpoint precisely how changes in the market are likely to affect your business’s needs, it’s possible to prepare your organization for this uncertainty. By developing “the right mix of talent, technologies and employment models” you can set yourself up for success, fortifying your business against evolving market challenges.

Tip 1: Keep it people-focused

Your company’s most important asset is its people. Without them, the business simply cannot run, and it’s worth remembering just how expensive finding the best and the brightest for your business can be. Worldwide spending on outsourced recruitment is expected to reach a staggering $25 billion by the end of 2022, so strategizing how to keep your people with you is critical in today’s dynamic work world.

In fact, now is the time to double down on your investment. Ask yourself:

  1. What are the most important soft skills in your business? 

Taking the time to explore how you can identify those skills when hiring will make your recruitment process much more efficient. Optimizing those skills amongst your existing talent as part of a workforce reduction plan will also increase employee engagement and help make sure you’re keeping hold of the most valuable skill sets.

  1. What skills are underutilized?

As part of a workforce planning analysis, take a look at what skills your teams have that are either underused or not used at all, and speak with your people to strategize about how these might be put to better use.

  1. How developed is your succession planning strategy?

Succession planning is a long-term investment in your people to prepare them for new positions within your company. Not only does it fill your talent pipeline, it promotes positive engagement and retention among your professionals, showcasing how you encourage growth and development within your teams.

  1. How can you encourage your top talent to stay?

Particularly during recruitment upturns, it’s essential to create a thorough retention strategy. Losing valuable talent can be very costly, and HR leaders are especially conscious of how difficult it can be to find suitable replacements.

Long-standing research shows that a strong company culture can drop your turnover rate from 48.4 percent to just 13.9 percent. Investing in engagement programs that make work enjoyable, like providing regular feedback, celebrating achievements, and establishing clear professional development opportunities, is crucial.

  1. How can you attract top talent to your company?

In all but the steepest of downturns, natural turnover makes recruitment a relatively constant practice. Developing a clear employee value proposition (EVP) and building a company culture that draws people in will go a long way to supporting sustainable recruitment.

Tip 2: Build “liquid teams”

A liquid team is formed and disbanded on a project-by-project basis, drawing together the most appropriate talent for that specific purpose.

This forward-thinking approach to talent management enables team structures to be dictated by business priorities and can supercharge your productivity. For it to work, you need people with agile skill sets they can apply to a wide range of projects and strategies. It works best when your people are happy to operate flexibly and collaborate with different team members.

Tip 3: Use modern HR tech to make decisions based on people data

A human resource information system (HRIS) is a platform that integrates all your HR tools and processes into one simple tool. It can help you conduct a workforce planning process to analyze and identify your business’s future workforce needs, plus gaps in your current teams. 

These data-based insights can help you work out how to address those areas, whether through up-skilling, on-site training, or recruitment. It can also assess which team members may be ready to step into leadership roles to provide training to colleagues, helping you save on costs by creating a leaner business with a stronger bottom line.

The future is dynamic

It’s clear that the rapid changes to the modern world of work by way of flexible, remote, and hybrid work and dispersed teams aren’t going anywhere. With technology a must-have in today’s world of dispersed teams, you need a workforce planning strategy that is equally dynamic and agile. 

It’s imperative to reimagine your teams’ structures and support your people’s growth. Modern HR tech and data you can trust are paramount to promoting the connections you need to build and maintain coherency across your global teams. These tools are also the key to enhancing your recruitment and retention strategies and bolstering your business agility through unpredictable markets and dynamic times.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.