Headcount planning is not for the faint of heart. Sure, you can project and collaborate on hiring needs, but when you’re in an ever-changing economy and wrangling multiple stakeholders, you need to ensure that your decisions are the right ones (no pressure).
Unfortunately you can’t wave a magic wand to make sure everything goes according to plan. However, you can equip yourself with the right processes to help make informed, aligned, and efficient decisions… all with approval workflows.
When it comes to headcount planning, having effective approval workflows in place is essential for success. An approval workflow orchestrates the steps and procedures to approve any new hires or personnel changes within your organization. And, as we all know, the more organized the better when wrangling people from across your company to take action.
Approval workflows help you work smarter, not harder, because they:
Your inbox shouldn’t be your source of truth. Instead, a people operations platform with approval workflows aligns stakeholders to help save time and make better, more informed decisions.
Headcount planning can be one of the most challenging tasks for leaders. With different sources of data and scattered communication, it’s often difficult to reach a consensus across teams and departments. Luckily, building approval workflows within the right platform helps solve these problems. Below are three ways to jumpstart building out your workflow processes.
Before we dive into how to set up your approval workflows, it’s important to discuss the best way to conduct headcount planning: within a people operations platform.
When you collaborate on a shared platform, everyone with permission has access to the same information, so not only are you aligned for this round of headcount planning, but you’ll have historical data at your fingertips for future headcount forecasting needs.
And when your people operations platform has an approval workflow functionality, you can sleep well knowing your headcount plans are properly vetted before implementation.
The right platform tracks each step in the approval process, including which stakeholders provided input, so that there is always a clear picture of what has been approved and where the headcount plans stand.This feature makes it easy to spot any discrepancies or changes in the plans, as well as make changes in real-time. Even better: After the approval is completed, the information is automatically saved in “The Headcount Plan.” No more moving plans to another spreadsheet or saving your document as “FINAL FINAL Headcount Plan.”
Lastly, having a one-stop-shop for communications, planning, and approvals helps you maintain compliance with auditable regulations, policies, and procedures. Instead of searching your inbox to double-check that you obtained necessary approvals, it’s all saved in one location to help you hit your deadlines confidently.
When designing an approval process for workforce plans and changes, the design of the workflow depends on the operations of your organization.That’s why it’s so important to choose a people operations platform that’s configurable to your needs.
Therefore, create an approval process that fits the level of sophistication of your organization. A simple approval process could look like: VP of People → CFO → CEO. However, a more complex approval process could include additional approvers based on department, location, team or group.
So when it comes time to decide who’s who for approving headcount changes and workforce plans, look at the hierarchy of your company or your own organization’s policies. Making intentional choices on who is approving what will ensure that the decisions align with the goals and objectives of the business.
This suggested workflow for standard approvals is one way an organization can ensure the right people are making people decisions for their organization.
Ready to optimize your headcount planning process? Here are three distinct types of approval workflows to get you started:
Annual headcount planning can be daunting, especially when there’s multiple stakeholders, complex data sources, and competing priorities involved. Need we even mention all the emails, spreadsheets, and Slacks along the way?
Sure, coordinating all of your hard work is needed, but there’s a better way to see your plans through. When it comes to major annual headcount changes (such as large hiring pushes or downsizing initiatives), an efficient and robust approvals process is necessary. Determine whose input is needed and build out your approval workflow accordingly.
Does your headcount plan in Q3 look like it did in Q1? Yeah, didn’t think so..and that’s totally normal.
Because your headcount needs fluctuate over time, it’s important to have a streamlined system in place to review and approve any adjustments. A well-crafted quarterly adjustment process does just that by allowing managers to collaborate with the right people (like Talent, People teams, and Finance) to ensure they have what they need to do their jobs. Additionally, regular planning adjustments help ensure that any changes are aligned and adjusted to business priorities.
Last but not least, ad hoc headcount planning is an important part of any workforce strategy. Having a well-designed approvals workflow in place helps managers quickly evaluate and approve any requests for new hires, dismissals, and backfills, ultimately reducing the amount of time it takes for these decisions to be made. And luckily, using automated approval software helps streamline these decisions even further, ensuring that all steps of the approvals process are completed accurately and efficiently.
When setting up your approval workflows, it’s important that everyone involved is on the same page. This initiative includes training people at all levels on the new process, including how to use any planning software that’s been put in place. Providing clear expectations from the beginning can help prevent confusion down the road.
Who would have thought a software feature like approval workflows could create a better workplace environment? But we’re here to say it does, as it aligns all stakeholders and the data in one platform and orchestrates the approval process in exactly the way your organization needs.
And because all the right people are using the same information to make decisions, approval workflows increase transparency and encourage collaboration, while also providing insight into headcount forecasting for the future. Ultimately, using the right resources and procedures create an aligned and informed process to help your people and organization hit their headcount planning goals.
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