We know Halloween was just last weekend, but as a business it’s never too early to look forward to 2011.

Workforce planning is becoming increasingly important as the economy continues to slowly chug along. By simply being more proactive and giving yourself time to plan, you give yourself the ability to adapt to common internal and external business conditions that will affect you in 2011. Career Advancers touched on five challenges this coming year will bring and how you can manage the changes. But we want to focus on what we think are the three most important obstacles…or opportunities.

  • Growth Management. Many companies have had to deal with shifts in growth within the past couple years. As things look to improve (if ever so slightly) in 2011, it’s imperative to know exactly what level of talent you need and when you have hit the hiring threshold. Don’t compromise on an entry-level employee for budget’s sake—make the commitment to invest more if it’s a long-term position.
  • Employee Satisfaction. It’s well known that the recession has hit everyone, whether that was in the form of job loss, pay cut, or job dissatisfaction. The latter has had a significant effect on companies, especially when top talent is actively looking for new opportunities. It’s critical that you strategize which positions are most vulnerable to this and how you can actively keep your employees happy and communicating with you. Having a plan for this can save you valuable time when issues arise.
  • Workload Assessment. Job dissatisfaction can also be directly related to the amount of work your employees are being forced to manage. With cuts in employment, costs and resources comes a cut in productivity. By creating a plan now on how to reasonably rearrange and/or delegate tasks, employees will likely be able to increase productivity. What follows could be a domino effect: increased efficiency, employee retention and employee satisfaction.

This is merely a sample of what can be done proactively to increase your chances of success in 2011. But sometimes all it takes is a little planning to avoid big barriers in the future. How are you planning for 2011?