Developing a workforce strategy – the steps to take
Step 1. Scoping the development of the strategy
- analysis of each element of the Delivery Program by each manager to determine the current and future workforce needed to deliver the Delivery Program and the objectives in the Community Strategic Plan, including managing partners
- details of how key stakeholders, including Council’s consultative committee, employee representatives (eg OH&S representatives, women’s representatives and union representatives) and management, are going to be engaged throughout the workforce planning process
- key performance indicators and timetables for implementation
- a review of the strategy.
Step 2. Analysing the current workforce and identifying gaps
- how well service needs are currently being met
- whether corporate objectives are met by the current workforce structure
- logistical considerations such as matching appropriate staff numbers and skills in different areas of council operations.
Engaging with staff as well as managers when analysing current workforce issues will assist in identifying the widest range of issues requiring action and will lay a strong foundation for successful change management. Staff should be involved in developing the elements of the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework to improve Council's performance through people understanding their role in the big picture and having been involved in setting objectives and targets.
Key questions set out in analysis of workforce requirements can assist further with carrying out this step. Information gathered in response to the key questions should also be used in the development of the Community Strategic Plan and Council's Delivery Program to ensure that the medium- and long-term objectives are realistic.
Step 3. Forecasting workforce requirements and identifying gaps
This step includes developing an appropriate workforce operational structure, identifying the skills required to meet the Delivery Program and considering emerging technologies.
Engaging with staff representatives when developing an appropriate workforce structure for Council will benefit the change management process and improve ownership of the workforce strategy.
This information can then be used to identify a future demand/supply gap in terms of Council’s workforce. Involve managers in the identification of future issues and the development of strategies to address them.
Step 4. Developing strategies to fill identified gaps
Engaging with staff in the development of strategies and Key Performance Indicators to fill workforce gaps will help to ensure their effectiveness and will assist in securing the workforce strategy’s success.
Councils may also wish to plan together through their Regional Organisations of Councils where they operate in the same labour market.
This is the best opportunity to look at strategies to fill gaps which can also meet EEO objectives and fulfil Council’s obligation to implement the principles of multiculturalism in conducting its affairs.
Apprenticeships and traineeships can be used to benefit Council to fill supply and demand gaps.
Key questions and strategic issues set out in Workplace equity and diversity, Workplace governance and Employee support and development can assist further with carrying out this step.
Step 5. Implementing a workforce strategy
The introduction of new workforce planning strategies will require decisions to be made at strategic and operational levels. Responsibility for implementing the workforce strategy needs to be clear, with built-in reporting mechanisms.
Ensure the General Manager the leadership and emphasise council-wide ownership of the strategy’s implementation by ensuring directors and line managers have clear responsibilities, and that communication strategies are in place so that all staff are engaged in the process, can understand the benefits of the workforce strategy and can provide feedback.
Step 6. Monitoring and evaluating a workforce strategy
- measure the effectiveness of any strategy that is implemented
- determine the success or otherwise of strategies and key performance indicators
- incorporate recommendations into the workforce planning cycle.