Business Deadlines


Work Force Planning for SMEs

29 November 2021

For many small business owners and managers, the idea of workforce planning may be a little intimidating  but workforce planning doesn’t need to be corporate, complex or cold. The reality is quite different and is just as important for a smaller business as it is for a big business – possibly even more important! In large organisations, you always have someone to cover a role and more than one person with the skills but in a SME life isn’t like that. We all have to wear multiple hats and often we are the only person with the qualifications for our role. In a SME it’s critical to have the right people with the right skills.


What is Workforce Planning?

In simple terms it means ensuring you have the right people, with the right skills in your business to deliver your business plan or goals. At its heart – it’s a really simple process. The thought process is to reconcile what you have VS what you need.

Current Position: your business + existing team of people

Future Position: your projection for your business this year + future skills required to achieve your business goals


You need a Plan

Hopefully, you have a business plan in place. It doesn’t need to be 100 pages long and full of complex diagrams and words that only you can decipher. It does need to create a clear picture of what you want and what you need to deliver.  However, most of us don’t deliver everything in our business ourselves. We have grown beyond that and employ a team to make the impossible, possible. This is your workforce plan at its simplest.


What is in a Workforce Plan?

Creating a Workforce Plan is the process of making sure you have the right combination of team and technology to achieve your objectives (dreams). It should take into account some, or all, of the following:

Current and future workloads

  • An honest picture of what is really happening in your business
  • Too much work for the existing team or too little projected work can change everything
  • Be honest with your workload projections, otherwise you will end up with a team of stressed out and unhappy people. Or, a team of people mastering “Among Us” on your time because they have nothing better to do

Market and technology changes

  • Consider how imminent new technology might affect how your business operates
  • Are there new products or competitors in the marketplace?
  • How will you will adjust your business to compensate against external factors that are beyond your control?
  • For example, automatic bank feeds have fundamentally changed the role of accounts receivable officers who now have additional hours (not minutes) in the day to call debtors etc. Use the additional time wisely

Team performance and skills

  • Consider your teams’ skill profile
  • Does their collective set of skills, qualifications, experience and length of service help your business?
  • Importantly, do their skills match what you need in your business?
  • Can you be successful with their current knowledge and skills?
  • Do your employees like working with you and how many employees leave your business in a year?
  • If your business typically has a high rate of employee attrition, you’ll need to plan for additional recruitment

Client expectations

  • Are your clients or their expectations changing?
  • What do you need to do to ensure the clients are satisfied with your work?

Knowledge = A Plan

Once you have mapped out the answers to these questions, you can start to plan:

  1. You are ensuring your business is always ahead of the competition
  2. You are planning your business to employ the right number of skilled people to have your clients singing your praises.
  3. It might mean a focus on recruitment or training or a change to how you pay people, but it will make certain that the focus is where it needs to be instead of playing catch-up after something has gone wrong.

Where to Start?

The start of a new year can be a strange time for SMEs. For some it is the busiest time of year and for others it is slow as we wait for people to make decisions in the post- Christmas lull. Regardless of what it is like for your business, it is a great opportunity to look with fresh eyes at what positions and skills are needed in your business for it to thrive.

If you would like help with your Workforce Plan call us now on 1300 474 672, or send us an email. We have the expertise to help support you through this important process.

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