A fast-growing economy puts pressure on any company’s workforce planning. As the unemployment rate in the U.S. dips toward 6 percent and productivity gains taper, there are fewer qualified candidates to fill a swelling number of open positions. Many HR departments must adjust their efforts in order to fill a widening gap between the supply and demand of new talent.
Re-Assessing Your Current Workforce Plan
There are many signs that the U.S. is finally heading out of its long recession. Your workforce planning efforts must identify the areas most affected should the economy take off.
- Company projections for growth in the workforce may no longer be realistic. Ask what it would take to meet a surge in open positions. Perhaps an increase of contingent staffing for the short-term is in order.
- Increased demand for employees also increases pressure on your retention policies. Review current retention policies, especially for your most valued employees.
- Scrutinize how your company’s compensation and benefits packages compare to those of competitors. Look for creative benefits improvements that appeal to a younger generation of workers.
- Re-evaluate new college graduate acquisition programs. A larger internal talent pool of graduates could be tapped as the economy grows. Perhaps your company can improve its university presence and expand internship and training programs.
Leveraging Information Technology
Automation and increased use of information technology has been unquestionably effective at improving productivity in many industry sectors. The application of IT is not typically a key expertise of an HR department, but associates should collaborate with other company groups to advocate for employing such resources in order to reduce headcount needs.
Maintain High Standards
As the economy grows and qualified candidates become harder to identify, HR must avoid the temptation to lower hiring standards in order to fill seats. Acquiring and retaining talented employees pays huge dividends in the long term where the focus of workforce planning should be. Early adjustments to your company’s workforce planning should take priority over settling for less qualified workers.