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Our approach to workforce planning
Pressure on margins is relentless. So the need to reduce costs is constant.
And for most companies, employment is the greatest single cost.
Having too many people wastes their time, reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the business, and costs a lot of money, especially if sustained.
And the law on redundancy, severance pay, minimum notice and so on makes overstaffing costly to eliminate.
Having too few employees is also a threat to the business. It can prevent economies of scale, restrict specialisation, and hinder the response to new orders, customers and business opportunities.
Managers must try to have the right number of people. They may be permanent, temporary or casual – and the mix is also a factor. Our approach is to design and set up robust systems to define the numbers required and plan
to provide them.
To do so, we need to understand the demand for skills and competences now and in the future. And for that we need a detailed understanding of processes and activities. This knowledge rests with those who do the work. When
products and services change, the volumes and nature of the work also change.
This usually requires a redesign of the workforce - a process that demands considerable effort.
So, workforce planning is not only for workforce planners or human resources specialists. All managers have a vested interest in shaping their workforces for the future and in increasing productivity. They have a responsibility to
challenge the status quo. But they cannot do this without hard evidence.
Collinson Grant (CG) has done a lot of workforce planning with the Department of Health in the UK. CG was instrumental in preparing the October 2008
DoH publication ‘Planning the pathology workforce – a guide for pathology managers’. Much of the material in these notes (in particular Chapter 4) was taken from this publication and from the CG report ‘Planning the Pathology
What is workforce planning?
Workforce planning is a process that aims to predict the demand for different skills and considers how best to manage the supply of suitably qualified, competent and skilled people to meet that demand.