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Workforce Planning

Watch this to explore workforce planning for Higher Business (and why teachers are a business asset)

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If you’re watching this, then school is probably a big part of your life.

You probably - hopefully! - have some teachers that you like. Maybe you like their style of teaching, or they throw in the odd decent joke during lessons and keep things lighthearted despite the inevitable pressure of exams.

Equally, you likely have some teachers you’ve had enough of!

Whatever your perspective, teachers are essential to your success and the wider operation of the school.

In business terms, teachers are employees; they represent the workforce. Let’s think of a school as a business and use this to look at the importance of workforce planning.

You might even become a teacher yourself one day!

This is thinkfour.

The employees in an organisation will change over time. New staff may need to be recruited because the business Is growing overall due to higher demand from consumers. There may be a need to open more stores in more locations therefore more staff are required to populate these branches. The business could be diversifying into entirely new markets and so they look to bring in new employees with experience in those specific areas to help them succeed.

To come back to the example of school life, changes may happen because teachers are retiring and so they need to be replaced. Maybe a teacher leaves your school to go another so that they can become a Head of Department or a Depute Head and gain a promotion. This means they’d leave a space to be filled. The same scenario would apply if a teacher goes off for maternity leave; their position would need to be filled on a temporary basis to make sure that classes can still be taught effectively. Maybe the school is growing as more houses are built in your area and so more teachers are needed.

Effective workforce planning is about determining how many staff will be needed in future, what specialist skills are needed, and when these workers need to be in place.

This process starts by analyzing the likely level of future demand. For example, is the number of pupils attending your school increasing, or is the popularity of a particular subject going up so it needs another teacher. Maybe at certain times of year the school needs additional short term staff for exams or big events. This is the same in many businesses as seasonal fluctuations come and go.

Managers will also do a staffing forecast to gain information on planned retirements, staff who may wish to leave or are perhaps moving from full time to part time hours. This will help highlight any potential shortfall in employees and identify gaps.

Workforce planning isn’t just about bringing in new faces; the process should also consider the needs of current employees as well. In your school, you probably have some teachers who teach more than one subject or may be in the process of training to do this. This could mean some teachers switching between subjects.

In other types of business, employees may become demotivated by carrying out the same duties on repeat. The needs of these workers should be taken into account and opportunities provided for staff to gain experience in different departments and gain new skills. The knock-on effect here is that staff may be happier in the long run and so they’re less likely to leave which keeps recruitment costs down for employers and retains experienced talent within the business. Crucially, the workforce planning process isn’t a one-off event; it’s a cycle that business managers and headteachers will need to repeat, possibly on an annual basis, again and again.

Depending on what time of year you’re watching this, it’s likely that one or two of the teachers at your school are about to hang up their teaching clogs for the last time and head off into the sunset or onto a new challenge in a different school. Your headteachers will be planning for this in the background, recruiting new experienced staff with fresh ideas from all over the country and beyond, to ensure that the level of education you receive is the best it can be.

Effective workforce planning would ideally be done well in advance, conveniently also giving you plenty of time to come up with a wee leaving present for your favourite teacher!

You love us really.

This was thinkfour; thanks for watching.