Quiet over summer? Build your workforce plan

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As employees come and go on their holidays over the summer season, it presents a good opportunity for employers to reflect on their organisation’s workforce plan over the next 12 months. It’s no secret that skills shortages are affecting the accounting and finance industry, where over two-thirds (68%) of employers said they had experienced moderate to extreme skills shortages in the past year according to the Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends 2019 guide. The good news for employers is that with smart and timely workforce planning, you can mitigate this. Here are three recommendations employers can take to build their workforce plan and mitigate effects of skills shortages.

Start strategically

Your workforce plan should be a core component of your business strategy, no matter what area of accounting and finance you employ staff in. For all business needs, there are a wide range of workforce solutions available, so those involved in planning your workforce should be aware of all the options.

A strategic place to begin your workforce plan is to consider the short and long-term requirements of your organisation, as this will help you design your workforce in a way which accommodates this. Do you need skills for a short-term project? If so, hiring skilled temporary workers to support your accountants to free them up for key project work might be a good way forward. On the other hand, if you are continually hiring temporary professionals to deal with increased demand, employing a fully-qualified, permanent member staff to provide long-term strategic input might be more cost effective. However you begin your workforce plan, be strategic about how best to balance your workforce requirements with staff of different levels.

Reconsider interim staff

Once you’ve made a start, it’s a good idea to take a considered approach to hiring temporary workers, as this can have a huge impact on your workforce. As mentioned above, support from temporary staff is obviously beneficial for short-term requirements as they plug gaps and offer immediate support to reach peaks in demand. However, employers should reconsider their approach to hiring temporary workers, and encouragingly many organisations are already doing so.

Hiring temporary professionals specifically to handle the everyday tasks in your organisation will free up your permanent staff to work on projects which are more strategically valuable to your business. This means more time is being spent on growing your business and ensures that critical knowledge and familiarity of how the business operates stays within your organisation, rather than leaving with interim staff.

Invest in your employer brand

After scoping out the type of workers you might need, it’s time to think deeper into how you are going to materialise this plan and attract the right candidates. This is where ensuring that you have a strong employer brand is essential. By presenting a strong employee value proposition (EVP) and targeting this offering to the type of candidate you want, you can make your workforce plan to come to life.

An EVP communicates an organisation’s values and culture, as well as rewards, opportunities and experience of working there. In short, it communicates what it’s really like to work for your company. A strong EVP starts with understanding your employees’ perception of your company. Why are they attracted to working for you? What do they value about working there, and what influences them to stay or leave? Promoting your employer brand will attract and retain candidates who are aligned with your values and ways of doing business which you need for your workforce plan to take shape.

By following these three suggestions, employers can give themselves the best chance of creating the right workforce plan for their organisation. Not only will this help you track the right candidates, but it will also help mitigate the impacts of skills shortages and retain key talent across your business.

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