Workforce Planning Essentials for the Remote-Savvy HR Manager

Workforce Planning Essentials for the Remote-Savvy HR Manager

There are plenty of great quotes from inspirational leaders that perfectly sum up the importance of workforce planning, but in my mind, none of them quite capture it like this one:

“Making a plan without the right tools is like making spaghetti without a pot.” – Kris Hughes, Content Strategy Consultant

You are absolutely not going to be making any spaghetti without a pot, or at least a pot-like vessel that will hold boiling water in a way so as not to burn the crap out of your hands in the process. When it comes to workforce planning, the spaghetti is your business and the pot…

Okay. I took the simile too far. You get the picture: if your business doesn’t have the right people in the right place, you got nothing.

Think beyond that: if the right people don’t stay or aren’t being utilized properly, you still don’t have a pot to… make spaghetti in.

There is a lot out there about workforce planning, and by a lot I mean, a frickin lot. It’s my job to do research and even I got a little dizzy trying to sort through all the different takes on what is or isn’t or could be/might be the best way to manage your workforce.

This post aims to simplify all that. I’ll cover the foundations of workforce planning, specific considerations for remote work, and examine some common methods for finding the right approach for your organization.

This Process Street post is designed so you can jump straight to the info you need to know, so feel free to skip ahead.

Let’s get planning!
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Plan for Success With 11 Free Human Resource Planning Checklists

Human Resource Planning

The term planning is imbecilic; everything can change tomorrow

That was a quote made by a French manager, straight after the 1973 oil crisis.

He’s kind of right of course. Everything can, quite easily, change tomorrow. We’re living in a world where we see changes every day. Ground-breaking technology, product innovations, medical breakthroughs, economic globalization. Things change. I can’t argue with that.

But does that mean “planning is imbecilic” though?

Can planning be inflexible and slow to respond to change? Yes. Can it be reliant on poor, over-optimistic forecasting? Probably. Can it lead to bad business decisions? Definitely.

Planning can be ineffective and damaging if it’s done badly.

Good planning, on the other hand, can minimize the uncertainty brought on by change. It can reduce risk, promote reflection and encourage innovation. It forces rational, logical thinking and it helps inform good business decisions.

Don’t believe me?

Take the 1911 race to the South Pole. The race was between two explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott. They each had a similar amount of experience and were the same age. Both faced 1,400 miles of gale-force winds, blizzards, and minus temperatures on their expeditions.

Amundsen meticulously planned his trip for several years. Scott didn’t.

Guess which expedition tragically failed?

Amundsen was already sailing back to Norway when Scott’s team finally gave up hope.

Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

So, now we’ve established that planning is sensible, and not ‘imbecilic’, let’s find out why human resource planning is one of the most valuable processes a company can follow.

To do this, I will cover the following:

Without further ado, let’s get stuck in!

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