Workforce planning in general encompasses four critical steps :
Step 1: Setting Corporate Strategic Direction
This first step presumes that the given corporation has already implemented a robust strategic planning initiative. Multicultural workforce planning is a function that goes in addition to strategic planning. Whereas strategic planning helps companies map where they are, where they will be, and how they'll arrive there, a multicultural workforce plan lays out the specific tasks and actions necessary to ensure that an organization has the diverse resources to accomplish its milestones.
Of course, one of the prime reasons for integrating diversity staffing initiatives into workforce planning is to increase the effectiveness of a company's diversity outreach, thereby assuring that the company has the required workers to support its mission and strategic plan. In Step 1, those responsible for diverse workforce planning should identify the company's pursuits and objectives of its overall strategy.
Remember that a corporate strategic plan serves as a future map that also involves broad mission-related goals and significant symbolic achievements. A company's vision, mission, and measurable objectives articulates what type of work will need to be accomplished. Thus, an effective multicultural workforce plan will translate strategic thinking into defined activity in the area of diversity workforce staffing and development.
A strategic corporate plan typically answers these questions:
- How many and what kinds of jobs are needed in order to meet the company's performance objectives?
- How will the company develop worker skills?
- What strategies will the company apply to retain these skills?
Step 2: Conducting Workforce Analysis
Accurately analyzing your internal workforce make up is critical to your entire multicultural workforce planning process. When conducting your workforce analysis, consider information such as occupation, skills and experience, retirement eligibility, current diversity, turnover, and other trend data.
Diversity focused questions should include:
- Which positions have poor diversity retention rates?
- Is it possible to identify a causal effect that is directly impacting diversity turnover?
- Has turnover reduced the skill set of a certain occupational group?
- Are there enough multicultural professionals in your company's management team?
Answering these questions should help your organization develop plans for stable staffing levels, succession planning, training, diversity affinity groups, and skills and management development.
Step 3: Implementing Workforce Plans (the actual dance!)
The implementation step is very much like what salsa dancing is to salsa music; it is comprised of the "moves" that bring your multicultural workforce plan to life!
At this point, I typically utilize the project management practice of "paradigming" or "storyboarding" to help me illustrate and understand the various action plans I will need to address during the implementation of each individual strategy in the cumulative multicultural workforce plan.
Prior the implementation step, do not neglect to:
- Secure required resources to expedite the entire multicultural workforce strategy
- Clearly articulate individual responsibilities and expectations during the strategy implementation. This also includes the need for coordination among different points of the organization or with different consultants/vendors.
- Layout project management timelines and deadlines
- Define performance metrics, milestones, and expected deliverables.
- Brand and market the multicultural workforce plan
All multicultural workforce strategies should be integrated into the fabric of the organization's overall strategic plan. If the strategic plan changes due to unanticipated customer, leadership, or policy alterations, adjustments to multicultural workforce plan strategies will be required to assure all changes are accounted for within the workforce plan.
Step 4: Monitoring, Assessing, and Stabilizing
Never-ending program assessments and constant adjustments will be imperative in any multicultural workforce planning initiative and will serve as a valuable resource to continuous program optimization.
We recommend that our clients review their multicultural workforce plans on a bi-monthly basis, to ensure that no surprises rear their ugly heads. Should an organization not review its workforce planning efforts consistently, it will run the risk of failing to quickly respond to unanticipated changes in budgets, projects, staffing, turnover, and leaves of absence.
In order to avoid this, the multicultural workforce planning project manager must learn to love statistics and reports and be able to slice and dice the information at the drop of the hat. Such a project manager will never suffer unexpected surprises or workforce emergencies.
When reviewing your multicultural workforce planning efforts:
- Review performance measurement information for drastic or erratic statistical changes.
- Assess what's working and what's not.
- Adjust the plan and strategies as necessary
- Address new workforce and organizational issues that occur before they get worse
- Learn which participants in the diversity strategy may not be pulling their fair share of the load
- Avoid surprises and achieve your milestone objectives
Organizations that are ahead of the game and have experience utilizing traditional workforce planning have found the following data collection tools to be helpful in determining whether or not their new multicultural workforce plan is achieving results:
- Customer satisfaction inventories
- Program progress reviews
- Standardized questionnaires
- Diversity Balanced Scorecards
- Corporate Diversity Affinity Groups
Excerpts from 4 Steps to Multicultural Workforce Planning by H. Martin de'Campo