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These different objectives often go hand in hand. But they may have a different degree of importance depending on your business strategy. It is up to you to determine which of these objectives the resource planning process should focus on.
If your resource planning is mainly intended to optimize the workload of your employees, the resource planning process will only need to track internal employees. But if you wish to position external profiles to meet customer needs, and if you work regularly with freelancers and subcontractors, the database taken into account to work on your resource planning must be broader.
The 3 types of profiles to be considered are the following:
This internal profile database is essential to achieve your goals at resource planning. All profiles must be taken into account and it must be possible to update the profiles with skills and preferences (clarified in the next section).
Knowing how to respond to all customer demands thanks to a database of profiles that will identify skills above and beyond those of internal employees can create a real competitive advantage for a service company. The chances of meeting customer requirements with the right level of skills must be maximized.
That is why it is necessary to also include the profiles of subcontractors you have already worked with, and of candidates (profile you have identified and registered) so that you can contact them if necessary.
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It is necessary to clarify the list of skills that can be assigned to the different profiles. This requires coordination between the sales teams and the management. They know perfectly well the customers' expectations. The human resources teams may already be following these skills aspects. Alignment within your company regarding the skills repository to be followed is necessary, because there is a stake in the offer vis-à-vis the customer and in the follow-up of careers from the HR point of view.
The skills must then be added to each profile with an indication of the mastery of each of them. The skill level is an interesting addition to facilitate the choice when several profiles have the same skill requested by a client. It is important that this update is done massively if it is to be done by the same person. Otherwise, each employee must be given the opportunity to update his or her own skills, before the manager checks them.
As the employee completes projects, he or she accumulates new skills or develops existing ones. It is important to be able to update after each project in order to keep the skill base up to date.
Selecting profiles based on customer criteria is imperative. Integrating employee preferences into the selection criteria is a real asset for employees. It is an approach that promotes the career progression of the teams and the development of the profiles' skills. It is the type of process that promotes employee satisfaction and retention.
In order to remain pragmatic, it is necessary to define which types of preferences can be updated by employees. Indeed, they must be used in the choices of resource planning, otherwise this approach will end up creating more frustration on the employee side than satisfaction. Also, it is important that these preferences correspond to criteria used in the resource planning applications so that a "matching" can be done.
Ideally, a communication to launch a campaign over a limited period of time ensures that all employees update their preferences. You need to make sure you have an easy way to track who hasn't updated their preferences so you can follow up with them.
It is necessary to confirm at the day, week or month level, the time expected to be spent in the future on each of the client projects. The project managers are the people who will have the best visibility to indicate what remains to be done by each collaborator, and over what period of time this workload should be planned.
It is also necessary to take into account the load related to internal projects. This ranges from time spent on management to the various internal projects to which employees contribute. Planning is often done in hours or portions of a day over a period. For example, half a day per week dedicated to management.
This update allows to take into account the associated load and to reduce the capacity of the collaborators to avoid overloading them.
Finally, all planned absences should be positioned, and when employees are working part-time, the dates on which they cannot work should be indicated. If, for example, an employee works four-fifths of the time and is absent every Friday, it is essential that his or her capacity reflect this.
At this point, you have a consolidated view of the load, as well as detailed information by profile (and potentially by team). Here are the key indicators that must be followed:
Objective: to see the global occupation of the employee and to verify if he/she has the capacity to be staffed on customer or internal projects.
The goal is to ensure that employees spend enough time on revenue-generating projects to preserve margin.
Discover all the essential steps in our guide
Steps 7 & 8
The global view you have created now allows you toidentify issuesand answer the following questions:
The role of the operations manager is to resolve each of these issues by conducting the necessary trade-offs and adjusting assignments to ensure that the indicators are at the right level.
Implementing an effective resource planning that improves performance involves coordinating change so that data is updated regularly. This update frequency is imperative to ensure that the data you rely on to make decisions is reliable and relevant.
Project managers need to be trained and made accountable to update the forecasted workload on their projects regularly. Ideally, a review of their project portfolio should be done every month. It is also necessary to set up a regular meeting of resource planning to facilitate arbitration.
Depending on the needs of the various teams and the challenges facing the customer, a decision taken by a manager in a collegial manner promotes improved performance.
Steps 9 & 10
Now that everything is in place, it is necessary to define the objectives to be reached on which the resource planning has a direct impact. The KPIs identified above must be reviewed by the management and monthly, quarterly and annual objectives must be set. The employee approach also allows consolidation at the level of groups of people (teams, business units, roles, etc.).
Therefore, these indicators need to be analyzed from different angles, and targets at each level need to be set to strengthen performance.
You have the choice to work on your resource planning on spreadsheets and design templates or to choose a dedicated resource planning tool. As you can imagine, we recommend the second option. Spreadsheets create the following problems:
Will you opt for a tool from resource planning ?
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