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Libby Marks

10 Steps to an Effective Resourcing Strategy

A resourcing strategy equips your organization with the people and skills you need to succeed. Here’s how to write a resourcing strategy that secures the talent advantage for your project business.

If you want to smash your future plans out of the park, you need the right people swinging the bat. 

A resourcing strategy will help your business get the right people with the right skills into the right roles at the right time. It’s concerned with how you recruit, retain, upskill, and support staff - so your business is equipped with expert employees, bringing their A-game to everything they do.

Done well, a resourcing strategy gives your organization the advantage in the (now) global competition for top talent -  with a proactive approach to sourcing, securing, and utilizing the best people for the job.

It can help optimize remote and hybrid teams, accelerate recruitment processes, minimize disruption and project delays, improve client outcomes, increase employee wellbeing, open up opportunities, and generally boost your business and its bottom line. Phew… it really is worth doing.

What is a resourcing strategy?

A resourcing strategy is a medium to long-term planning document, which outlines how you’ll get the right number of appropriately skilled employees to meet your organization’s objectives. It’s about obtaining, retaining, and training staff - so you can deliver projects efficiently, and realize your revenue and growth goals.

resourcing strategy: obtain, retain, train

How resourcing strategy is evolving in 2022

Resourcing strategy is evolving in response to the shift in how we work, post-pandemic. The competition for resources is fiercer than ever now that top-tier talent can work for virtually any business in the world.

Plus the dawn of truly remote and async working means the employee experience looks very different compared to just three years ago. Digital employee experience (DEX) is a new frontier to conquer and previous perks - like free office snacks and an on-site gym - are being replaced by wellbeing initiatives for at-home workers.

If you don’t have a resourcing strategy, now’s the time to create one. And if you do have one, it’s time to check it’s still fit for purpose.

Digital marketing agency Venture Stream has been independently recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work’ thanks to a raft of strategic new measures, introduced to secure the talent advantage. Their CEO Victor Morgan explains. 

Traditional models in resourcing strategy and management treated the workforce like machines. Businesses now need to better embrace the intricacies of the human element to keep pace with emerging “future of work” trends.

At Venture Stream, we are rewriting the playbook of the who, what, where, and why of our own resourcing strategy. For the past year, we have operated under a progressive resourcing strategy featuring a four-day work week, hybrid office and WFH, and a blend of on-staff and freelance workforce.  Management and reporting have evolved to support our now permanent new way of working - leading to improvements in productivity and profitability - as well as wellbeing in our collective team.

Resourcing strategy vs recruitment strategy: What’s the difference?

Resourcing and recruitment strategies are often confused but the terms aren’t interchangeable. Recruitment strategy is about how you’re going to hire the people you need to succeed. It forms part of your resourcing strategy but is only one element. 

Resourcing strategy is the bigger picture of how your organization can meet its strategic objectives through its people. While that does include recruitment, it also looks at talent retention and development, employer brand, resource planning and utilization, and more. 

‘Recruitment is about selling a job to someone willing and able to do it. Resourcing is about looking at the long-term needs of the organization. It’s a far more holistic approach,’ says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at UCL and Columbia University in HR Magazine.

What does a resourcing strategy include?

At the most basic level, a resourcing strategy should include information to answer these four questions:

  • Where are we heading?
  • What people/skills will we need?
  • Have we got them?
  • How do we get them? 

Why is a resourcing strategy important?

Resourcing strategy sets your business up for success. It provides a framework for analyzing your future resource needs and right-sizing your workforce for your project pipeline. This means you’re more able to act on opportunities, deliver bold strategic initiatives, and continue to meet client expectations. 

It’s also the basis for improving your resource utilization, by accurately matching resources to strategic and operational needs. If you’ve read our CEO Nicole’s article on the What, Why, and How of Resource Utilization, you’ll know that’s a huge step towards higher efficiency and profitability. 

But it’s also a virtuous circle in resourcing terms. If you have the right number and type of resources for your project pipeline, they’re less likely to be over-utilized. Overutilization can lead to burnout (something Forbes warns you can’t afford to see as inevitable), reduced productivity, and high staff turnover. The opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. 

Maintaining utilization at a steady 80-or-so percent keeps staff happy - neither too bored nor too busy - whilst delivering the best ROI for your staff spend.

How to build a resourcing strategy

1) Consider the strategic direction of the business 

Your resourcing strategy should ladder up to the strategic objectives of the business, to help deliver them effectively. Capacity and capability planning are key concepts here. If you’re not familiar with them, read our Beginners’ Guide to Capacity Planning next.

2) Understand the implications of future work 

Research what’s on the agenda in the medium to long term - then use this information to forecast the future resource needs of the business. Will you need more skills, different skills, new job roles…? Data from past projects can help you forecast more accurately, by basing your estimate on previous resource requirements.

3) Conduct a situational / gap analysis

Map your current resource and skill landscape - and identify any gaps that need to be filled. Remember to consult HR on any staff available for/requiring redeployment. Understanding who you’ve got vs who you need is the crux of strategic resourcing. If you have resource planning software - 👊 - you’re going to find this step so much easier.

4) Plan for recruitment

Who do you need to recruit and how will you do it? What are the best places to advertise different roles to maximize relevant applications? What’s the best way to interview and assess skills? How can you minimize attrition between acceptance and onboarding? What is the timeframe for recruitment and which contract types will best serve the needs of the business - fixed term, permanent, full-time, part-time, or apprenticeships?  

5) Plan for retention

How will you retain the talent you already have - especially your MVPs in hard-to-fill or high-demand roles? What can you offer to optimize staff loyalty in an increasingly competitive talent market (one characterized by high demand and global remote opportunities in many industries)?

6) Plan for talent development  

Which skills gaps can you address in-house through training and what does that look like? Is your Learning and Development offer fit for the future direction of the business? How will you deliver L&P initiatives in remote, hybrid, or async environments?

7) Plan for succession 

Which resources are due to leave the workforce? Do you need to replace them or could you reallocate budget to more in-demand skills? If they need replacing, how will you ensure a seamless transition and minimize disruption? How will you make sure valuable business intel doesn’t leave the business when they do? 

8) Assess and develop your employer brand 

What’s your employee value proposition? How can you become an employer of choice in your sector - so you’re never short of applications? What do employees ‘get’ in exchange for their ‘give’? How well does your business deliver on its promise? Is your employee experience consistent for all employees, regardless of where or how they work? Does your internal culture match your external brand?

9) Consider tools and processes to support the strategy

There are lots of software tools that can be used to streamline resourcing processes. From Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to automatically keep candidates informed of their progress, to resource management software that provides vital insights into resource utilization, skills gaps, and capacity. 

10) Put it into practice

A resourcing strategy is a living document - one that you should put into action. Create a work plan based on the strategy that assigns timescales, owners, and expected outcomes to each activity. Review progress regularly and review your strategy every year after the overarching organizational strategy is set. 

What makes a successful resourcing strategy

Health-checking your employer brand

Read reviews of your business on third-party platforms like Indeed. Conduct exit interviews with staff when they leave. Ask current employees for the good, the bad, and the ugly about your business. If you have brand values, make sure you embody these in the employee experience to attract and retain value-aligned, committed colleagues. Communicate what you stand for and why people would want to work for you. 

Developing a pool of potential candidates

Sometimes recruitment is reactive and you need to fill a post fast. So develop a pool of ‘warm’ prospects who you could onboard quickly.  Keep in touch with past interviewees who might be perfect for future roles. Implement a referral scheme to reward staff who recommend you to new recruits. And looking even further ahead, partner with local schools and universities to build your brand with the next generation.

Matching your selection process to skills 

There’s nothing worse than applying for a job that will never need you to give a presentation… but being asked to present to the interview panel. Ditch the one-size-fits-all selection process in favor of a flexible approach that assesses applicants on the skills they’ll actually need. Use competency-based interviews and practical tests of the skills they need on the job. 

Challenging bias and championing diversity

As well as the ethical imperative to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, countless studies show more diverse organizations are more innovative and successful. Build EDI into your resourcing plan - such as delivering unconscious bias training to your recruitment panels, seeking guidance on how to create fair recruitment processes, and committing to creating an inclusive culture at every level of your organization. 

Using insights from your resource planning software

If you’re already using resource planning software, you’re ahead of the game. You can use it to easily derive insights to inform your resourcing strategy. Look at current utilization rates to spot over and underutilized resources and skills, to inform future recruitment and skills development.  

Just being a great place to work 🙂

If there’s one way to ensure staff stick around - and applicants flock to you - it’s by being an amazing employer. In a candidate’s market, it’s you that needs to make a good impression and hope to be chosen - not the other way around. You need to commit to great compensation, meaningful benefits, and work-life balance. Beyond that, you need to trust and respect your team, challenge and develop them, and protect their well-being at work. 

Resourcing strategy is essential and evolving. So now’s a great time to review how your organization secures talent advantage.

Runn resource management software makes it quicker and easier to delve into data about your workforce. So you can

  • Spot skill gaps and trends in demand
  • Plan capacity for maximum return
  • Recruit the right people at the right time
  • Decide L&P programs to upskill your staff
  • Scenario plan for optimum utilization
  • Protect your people from burnout
  • Encourage staff loyalty and development

You’ll be better equipped to achieve your growth and revenue objectives . And more likely to retain the talented team you’ve worked so hard to build.

Start your free trial today. 

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