Financial Planning & Analysis

5 Keys to Successful Headcount Planning

Headcount planning is more than simply finding bodies to fill seats. It’s strategic. It’s about ensuring your business can thrive. It’s having the right people in the right places to make that happen. Simply put, it’s one of the most impactful responsibilities your Human Resources (HR) department has, and yet:

According to PeopleFluent, 60% of HR leaders say headcount planning is one of their weakest links.

In the everyday world, headcount planning is tough. When you add the effects and uncertainties of a world responding to a pandemic, it can feel almost impossible. Good news is the best practices of headcount planning stand true in any world – but execution can be drastically different.

Now more than ever, timing is critical. We’ll all hopefully be returning to work very soon, and any business mired in its current, pandemic-reactive state could be left behind. The answer is looking forward – to think about the current state but also to plan for near- and long-term needs. To do that, businesses should follow these 5 keys to successful headcount planning:

#1 – Align with business strategy.

COVID-19 has drastically affected the strategies of many businesses. It’s safe to say that no one planned for a pandemic quite like this. That’s why headcount planning needs to be part of any strategic discussion. Successful leaders will create cross-functional war rooms that include HR. As these groups model best-to-worst impacts of the pandemic, HR representatives can ensure that headcount planning aligns with overall strategy.

#2 – Identify any skills gaps.

In a best-case scenario, your current employees can contribute to your war room planning. However, any shift in overall business strategy could create gaps in skills and expertise. For example, with supply chain disruptions, businesses may need to ramp up sourcing instead of continuous operations. Sourcing is drastically different than operations and requires a different skill set. HR must be able to identify and respond to gaps like these.

#3 – Allow managers to help identify and fill gaps.

Managers know their people. They’re in the trenches with them every day. They can help identify and respond to gaps by aligning employee strengths with current needs. HR should collaborate with department managers to help redefine roles and responsibilities. It’s easier than trying to hire, and this responsiveness helps in the short-term while providing a potential long-term solution for both the business and the current employee.

#4 – Hire the right candidates.

Even in a perfect world, hiring is necessary. When gaps can’t be filled with current staff, take time to determine headcount required from the outside talent pool. And don’t forget that today’s social distancing norms come with a unique set of challenges. Be sure your HR teams know how to assess candidates in a world of Zoom and FaceTime. Work closely with managers to identify the skills needed for new jobs. Don’t waste valuable time putting the wrong candidate through to an interview.

#5 – Project costs.

Once you know the job requirements for your organization and what resources are available internally versus what’s needed externally, you can start to project costs. It’s important to remember that hiring, onboarding and training might not be the same as they were pre-pandemic. Technology and IT are more important than ever before, meaning new and different costs could be lurking. Realize that post-pandemic cost crunches are inevitable. Ensure your HR team can change their processes to be more cost effective and nimble during hiring and training.

Headcount Planning for the Post-COVID World

From where people work to how people work – the world has changed. Businesses that can respond by fully integrating headcount planning into overall strategies will win. But why go it alone? Contact us here to learn how an 8020 Consultant can help, or download our service sheet below.

los angeles financial consulting firm

Categorized in: ,

similar articles

Learn to think and approach problems like our financial consultants.

M&A Due Diligence & Transactions

A Seller’s Guide to Maximizing Value with a Carve-Out Transaction

Carve-out transactions (or “carve outs”) have become increasingly popular over the last two decades. Sellers view carve outs as instruments to extract cash from non-core businesses, while investors view them as opportunities for competitive advantages, provided the carve out aligns with their experience and strategy. A carve-out transaction is typically more complex than a complete… View Article

May 6, 2021Aniv Nayar

Careers

Julian de Luna: 6 Questions for 6 Years

Julian de Luna recently celebrated his sixth year with 8020 Consulting! In this post, Julian revisits past projects and experiences, offers advice to professionals considering consulting on their career paths and takes a look forward at the years to come. 1. What do you enjoy most about your work these days? Julian: What I enjoy… View Article

May 4, 2021George Jacob

Financial Systems

Transform Your Budget and Forecast Process: From Excel to Oracle NetSuite PBCS

For small to mid-size companies, relying on Excel can create stress every budget season, including a forecast cycle or two, if time permits! Excel is a great tool for analysis and data representation. However, the pain of consolidating, linking and maintaining version control with multiple spreadsheets and several users to create an annual budget takes… View Article

April 29, 2021Desiree Vaughn

See All