• Wonolo

When it comes to hiring temporary workers in your organization, it’s vital to balance supply and demand. Optimize it, and you’ll properly meet business needs through a right-sized workforce. Get it wrong and you risk inefficient business processes, frustrated customers, or high temporary worker expenses.

When it comes to understanding your future business demand and temporary workforce needs, you can use the steps in this guide to get proper workforce optimization.

Step One — Start a Few Months Before You Will Need Temporary Workers

The most stressful time for workforce planning is the week or morning before a sudden spike in demand! You can avoid losing sleep and hair by starting your workforce optimization well ahead of time. We recommend having a couple of months of lead time built into your workforce planning so you can develop an overall strategy, get the right budget in place, and optimize properly.

Step Two — Look at Your Overall Business Strategy to Understand Changing Workforce Needs

The high-level business strategy will impact how busy the business, and your department, is going to be. Look at the strategic plan for the business, especially how this ties into new products, sales, and marketing to understand impact on various areas and teams. Business strategy can be driven by major acquisitions, big projects, new product development, outside factors, and many other areas.

Look at how your business is doing against strategy at the moment and over the last few months to check that everything is progressing as planned. That will be a good indication of future needs.

Step Three — Work with Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Other Areas

Understand exactly what is going on in sales and marketing so you know how busy your business is going to be. Look at the timing of their initiatives and promotions to calculate the impact on customer and business demand. Work with Customer Service and other areas so you properly understand the impact of both the overall business strategy and tactical and operational decisions.

Step Four — Explore Historic Trends and See How that’s Going to Change Business Demand

If your business is affected by seasonal variations or other historic trends, ensure you incorporate those changes into your workforce planning. For example, if you’re a retailer, you’re going to be busier around the holidays, so will need more distribution, warehouse, and sales staff. Other industries will have different seasonal fluctuations, so be sure to incorporate them.

Step Five — See How Effective Your Permanent Workforce Will Be at Handling Changing Demand

You already have a base of productive, permanent employees. Temporary workers exist to fill the gap between your permanent workforce and your expected demand. Look at your permanent workforce headcount and hiring plans over the foreseeable future. Incorporate your regular, permanent employee headcount into your workforce optimization.

Step Six — Look at Employee Rotas and Shift Work Patterns so You’re Properly Covered at All Times

Your workforce likely varies throughout the day, week, and month depending on your mix of full and part time employees, rotas, and shift patterns. Make sure you incorporate this into your workforce optimization so that you have proper cover at all times.

Step Seven — Understand Exactly What Departments Will be Impacted and Who Will Need Extra Workers

Different areas of your business will be impacted in different ways. Your logistics and distribution area might need more drivers or packers. Your customer service area might need more agents. It’s important to establish exactly how any changes in demand translate to increased need in the key areas of your business.

Step Eight — Calculate Exactly How Much Work These Changes in Demand Will Create

You now need to translate any changes in demand to the number of additional workers you will need to deal with demand — in other words, exactly how much extra work will all this new demand create for you? Start by exploring the likely percentage increase in workload for each of the key departments you’ve previously identified.

Do that as follows:

Calculating demand for each department:

  • Take the baseline for the amount of work you currently have.
  • Adjust the baseline according to business strategy.
  • Change that baseline according to sales and marketing initiatives.
  • Change that baseline according to historic and projected trends.

Then, work out the current capability of your teams to meet that demand.

Calculating supply for each department:

  • Understand how many permanent employees you currently have.
  • Adjust that number according to planned hiring practices and how that headcount is likely to change.
  • Take account of rotas, shift patterns, part time workers and other areas that impact your FTE.

This information will let you understand your current workload, likely projected future workload, and your ability to handle that workload with your current employee base.

You can then do a simple gap analysis between likely demand and your current supply of permanent employees. Any gap between the two can be fulfilled with temporary workers.

Step Nine — Get Signoff of Your Workforce Optimization from Business Stakeholders

Now that you’ve calculated future workforce needs, ensure you work with HR representatives and department heads for any areas impacted by these changes. You will want to check you’ve covered off all eventualities and get signoff for your workforce planning.

Step Ten — Get Your Temporary Workers in Place

Finally, you can start getting the temporary workers you need. Here at Wonolo we make it fast and simple to hire enough workers to perfectly meet your business requirements. Because we can get you workers in 24 hours, we can even help out if you’re workforce planning the day before. Easily flex your temporary workforce up or down on a day-to-day basis to ensure all your departments are properly supported.

This comprehensive approach to workforce optimization will get you ready for any changes in business demands. You can properly size your workforce to handle whatever gets thrown at your business, confident in the knowledge that your permanent employees and temporary workers will be able to handle it.