Workforce planning refers to everything from filling open positions to the inclusion of HR metrics. For our purposes, think in terms of the flow of employees through the company. As with any risk management, begin by assessing the risks involved:
  • Access to available talent
  • Cost per hire and time for hire
  • Retention and turnover
  • Productivity and quality
  • Layoffs and downsizing
  • Retirement and redevelopment
  • Compensation structures
  • Compliance exposures, including Title VII violations and compensation violations.

For example, if your turnover rate is 15% and the industry rate is 11%, your company might be at greater risk. However, if your higher turnover rate results from strict performance demands, you might end up having the most profitable company in the industry. Be sure to weigh the specific risks in every situation. For example, if a company has to pay overtime because it can't staff positions quickly enough, it ends up not only paying higher compensation, but burning out the workforce and increasing turnover, thus exacerbating the problem. The company might plan to ameliorate this risk by using a temporary staffing firm to help them with their short-term staffing needs.

Other risks are more difficult to quantify, such as a failure to conduct proper succession planning. Great companies know who's in the pipeline for all critical positions – sometimes the bench is two or three players deep. Other companies “run bare,” putting themselves at risk if they should lose one of their key employees. One solution: Key Person insurance.

Do you have a plan to manage the workforce planning risks most critical to your organization? HR That Works provides training and strategic tools that can help you deal with many of these risks.

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