L&D Capacity Planning – 2022
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When your L&D staff is under pressure to deliver on an increasing number of training requests, the natural answer is to hire more people to help. However, justifying those additional resources often requires some persuasion and real facts to demonstrate the necessity for a few more pairs of hands. It may fall on deaf ears if you don’t have specified boundaries and actual figures to back up your demand for additional resources. Capacity planning comes into play in this situation.
The majority of learning and development professionals will have horror stories about training project failures. It might be due to missed deadlines, an overworked and under-pressure workforce, or a struggle to say “no” to training initiatives for which there aren’t enough resources. When your staff is consistently overworked, it slows down all projects and results in lower-quality deliverables. The training crew, as well as the candidate’s, suffer. Project failures can be caused by a variety of factors, including overbearing CEOs and tight budgets. Almost all of them, however, have one thing in common: insufficient (or non-existent) capacity planning and resource management.
You can properly plan resources and obtain rapid insight into the availability of your department for new projects when they are requested if you take the effort to build a closed-loop capacity planning and monitoring mechanism.
When it comes to annual financial considerations, capacity planning should be more than a one-time activity. You’ll have a complete picture of your team’s capacity, workload, and availability at all times if you combine capacity planning with resource management. Here’s your L&D capacity planning checklist to help you get there:
Understand the boundaries of your existing resources
Create a demand forecast report by required time commitment and skills needed – To begin, be aware of the forthcoming demands on your team’s time and skills. Depending on how you operate, this may be done regularly or annually, but it should include everything from the simplest assignment to the largest project.
- One-time strategic projects for the L&D team, such as the creation of whole new training programs.
- A new course series or format is being introduced (e.g. microlearning).
- Existing courses are being converted to new platforms and formats.
- Content that is no longer relevant is being updated.
- Administrative responsibilities on a regular basis.
Your capacity planning will be little more than informed guessing if you don’t take the effort to gather precise data on future and pipeline developments.
Draw skills inventory for each individual team member
Working hours are one thing, but the talents required for each activity and project are quite another. For each member of the team, a skills inventory should be created. This includes the following:
- Experience areas.
- Software and tool familiarity level.
- Secondary skillsets.
A properly generated skills inventory ensures that the best resource for each task on each project is on board.
Estimate capacity vs. demand and create a project resource plan ahead of time.
The practice of projecting resource shortages or surpluses in the short or long term is known as capacity vs. demand. It’s done by looking at the disparities between resource capacity and resource demand. Allowing sufficient advance time helps reduce last-minute hiring/firing expenses and guarantees that the correct personnel are available at the proper time and cost for projects. Resource capacity planning aids in the formation of an optimal project team, the reduction of project costs, and the future proofing of the workforce against market volatility and economic uncertainty.
Set up Capacity Monitoring to meet capacity requirements.
Unexpected projects and responsibilities might arise even with the greatest intentions and the most well-organized training team management. Unexpected resource losses can also occur, such as the loss of experienced employees, layoffs, and budget cuts for temps and contractors. As a result, it’s critical to keep track on your capacity on a regular basis. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your team’s capabilities by creating specific timetables that allocate resources to tasks.
In order to satisfy capacity needs, the most important piece of information to take away from continuous capacity monitoring is your minimal capacity availability.
Create a Contingency plan to address urgent requests and unexpected difficulties.
If the worst happens and your team is short on resources and in great demand, having contingency plans in place to deal with urgent requests and unanticipated issues is critical. What if a project proves to be more difficult than anticipated, requiring some of your most experienced staff to work for twice as long as expected? Which projects will be the first to be cut if your department faces budget cuts or layoffs?
Address long term capacity shortages which can be addressed through
While it may appear that your training team is doing great, a well-defined capacity planning approach may help you identify areas where resources are being stretched. Capacity planning may help you solve short and long-term shortfalls, whether they are caused by time constraints or a lack of skills.
Capacity limitations can be alleviated by:
- Long term hires.
- New tools and software’s.
- Ensure high resource utilization and protect the business’s profitability.
The system should be able to anticipate billable, strategic, and total usage in the near and long run. It aids in the implementation of corrective actions to ensure high utilization and safeguard the profitability of the company. The capacity planning system estimates billable and strategic staff use in advance. It will assist you in moving personnel away from non-billable or low-priority tasks and toward billable or high-priority initiatives. Billable utilization is an important KPI for a professional service firm’s profitability and long-term viability.
Align capacity with resources planning
Now that you have a thorough understanding of your team’s capabilities, you can utilize it to efficiently allocate resources to various projects and analyze the need for more funding, skills, and personnel during the resource planning process. To do so, you’ll need a more detailed understanding of the demands that various training requests and scheduled projects will impose on your workforce.
- Define distinct project requirements so that hours and expertise may be allocated properly to each project.
- Devise a team schedule for effective resource allocation.
Streamline the Resource Requisition process to meet project deadlines.
The majority of resource requests and allocations are made by email or phone. It creates a great deal of havoc. It’s vital to use workflow to streamline the process and ensure that resources are provided with the required permissions and notifications. Unnecessary emails/phone conversations should be avoided since they are difficult to reconcile, document, and evaluate afterwards.
If more resources are not available, capacity planning may assist management in determining which initiatives to priorities and which the business can afford to shelve. Resource planning aids L&D management in determining how to priorities projects most efficiently depending on resource availability.
Taking a deeper look at capacity planning and resource planning might assist if you’re having trouble convincing executives that you need more resources or if you’re noticing resource waste in your team’s operations.