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Short-Term Versus Long-Term Workforce Planning & Problem-Solving

CoAdvantage – When faced with labor challenges like worker shortages, it’s important to think beyond just solving the immediate labor need. That’s obviously first priority, but once that’s done, it’s equally important to consider, plan, and strategize around long-term staffing needs.

Without long-term planning, organizations can end up constantly reacting to whatever is happening in the labor market around them and constantly putting out hiring-related fires. Long-term planning is crucial to getting ahead of recruitment challenges.

Immediate tactics for short-term solutions

Increase use of contract and contingent workers: Not every role has to be a full-time position. Incorporating temporary workers, contractors, and “gig” workers can help to meet immediate business needs. This approach can also help businesses to accommodate fluctuations in staffing needs. Temp-to-hire programs can even create a staffing pipeline that can serve long-term needs.

Create a “resource pool” of workers: This is a tactic often used within the healthcare space: cultivate relationships with workers who don’t necessarily want full-time, 9-to-5 jobs but would rather pick up shifts here and there. Creating a resource pool can be labor-intensive on the part of the HR team, but the end result is a ready-made pool of workers that the organization can call upon as new shifts open.

Get help: Outsource the recruitment function to vendors that have ready-built relationships with your desired labor market combined with in-house expertise in attracting, vetting, hiring, and onboarding those workers. Especially for SMBs, an outside helper can make a tremendous difference in filling labor needs.

Ongoing tactics for long-term solutions

Focus on employee retention: You don’t have to fill a role that never opens up. In tight labor environments, this is more challenging than it is at other times because workers often have their pick of positions. It unfortunately puts employers into a defensive and competitive position. However, to both attract and retain talented workers, the employer must take whatever steps are needed to cultivate long-term employment relationships.

Upskill and reskill existing employees: Training and cross-training employees does double-duty. First, it means organizations have an improved ability to fill skill gaps in the face of sudden shortages. Second, employees appreciate training and development opportunities, so it can help with retention.

Implement better succession planning: Every company is going to lose at least some people no matter how good their retention programs are. HR should be actively managing succession plans for high-profile positions to ensure there’s already at least a plan in place, if not an active process, to fill inevitable gaps.

Forecast long-term staffing needs: Here, you need to start collecting staffing and workforce data and have the capabilities to analyze that data effectively. That’s not something you can do quickly, but it’s a powerful way to be able to get ahead of future staffing challenges before they turn into labor crises.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.