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Using Strategic Workforce Planning to Avoid Layoffs

March 2, 2023 | By Samantha Varner

Alphabet, Microsoft, and Spotify have become the latest tech companies to announce layoffs. They, like many tech companies, experienced accelerated growth during the pandemic, which is challenging to maintain over time. But that doesn’t make layoffs inevitable. If these companies had used a resource management platform that enabled strategic workforce planning, could they have avoided this wave of tech layoffs?

Let’s take a look at how resource management can help companies avoid the dreaded boom-and-bust scenario.

Understanding capacity

We’ve already discussed why knowing your team’s capacity is crucial in project planning. If you don’t have enough people to complete the work in your project portfolio, then the work won’t get done (or at least not on time). So if your company is going through accelerated growth and your resources are over capacity, should you immediately hire? That question has a few layers to it, and the answer lies not only in capacity, but also in strategic portfolio planning.

If the C-suite and leadership team is expecting projects to be executed in greater volume indefinitely, then yes, capacity restraints should be addressed by hiring. But if you look ahead in the portfolio and see that resources and teams are actually at risk of being under capacity in the future, then growing the team may not be the right move. Instead, look at what measures you could take to help combat burnout, such as incentives for your team working extra hours (with a clearly-defined end in sight) or bringing in contractors to support individual projects.

Optimizing allocation

So you hired too many people and are experiencing under-utilization. Does that immediately lead to layoffs? Hint: it doesn’t have to! As a line manager, director, VP of a team, it’s important to understand exactly where your resources are spending their time. Chances are, once you see where time is not being spent, you’ll discover work gaps that your current resources can fill.

Your workforce is made up of individuals with unique skill sets. Are specific resources with key skills or roles causing bottlenecks while other resources are under capacity? This is a great opportunity for reskilling and upskilling, where you can train under-utilized resources on skills that will prevent bottlenecks in the future while helping your employees grow and progress in their career.

Technology that empowers

For most companies, effective strategic workforce planning requires a powerful resource management tool. If you have over 50 employees, Excel just isn’t going to get the job done. Platforms like Tempus Resource include What-If scenario analysis that allows you to test scenarios in a sandbox setting so you can see how shifting or increasing resources would affect project timelines without altering your data. Want to zoom out? Use the net availability view for a quick glance at capacity levels. At any scale, Tempus shows you not only whether your teams are over- or under-allocated at aggregate levels, but also at the individual resource level. And when you’re deciding whether you need to hire, Tempus’s skills management capabilities allow you to assess your current resource pool for reskilling or upskilling potential first.

It’s impossible to predict exactly how economic, geopolitical, technical, or other factors out of your control are going to impact your company. But strategic workforce planning through a powerful resource management platform means your business can make much more informed decisions. Aggressive growth is exciting, but scaling sustainably is the best long term plan. Resource management can help make that possible.

To learn more about how Tempus Resource enables strategic workforce planning, contact us today or schedule a demo.

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