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How software helps planning teams deal with staff turnover and fluctuations in workloads

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

A key challenge for planning teams is maintaining the right people amidst the constant fluctuations in workloads and changes in staff that are prevalent in the industry.

Most view this as a hiring problem, they look to solve this by hiring the people they need according to their prevailing workloads.

However, as many will now, this doesn’t always work.

  • Finding the right people is hardest when you need them most. There’s a general skills shortage in the planning industry and this is naturally worst when workloads are high and you need staff the most. Despite significant fluctuations in construction activity, the planning industry has grown incredibly fast and only looks set to continue given the growing number of issues to be managed by policy.

  • There’s no guarantee new hires will solve your problem. New hires take time to onboard and get up to speed. This often takes up time when you’re busiest and after all that, there’s still the risk of whether they’ll successfully fill the role you need.

  • Planning workloads fluctuate and it’s hard to predict the future. Fluctuations in the construction industry and changes to planning policy both significantly affect workloads and make it hard to know what capacity you’ll need in the future.

This is a reactive solution and when it comes too late it can be a disaster. When workloads get out of control, stress goes through the roof and the risk of key staff leaving increases. We’ve seen teams decimated like this in recent times and it can take a long time to recover.

Few are aware that software can now serve as a solution to mitigate your risk and make your planning team more resilient to changes in staff and workloads.

  • Software for planning assessments is new. To date, software has mostly focused on IT and management, not the day-to-day planning assessments done by planners with report templates and checklists.

  • It increases the capacity of the staff you already know and trust. Rather than rely on new hires who often need to onboard at the busiest times, software helps boost the capacity of staff you already have with minimal lead time.

  • It reduces onboarding and training costs. Software puts your knowledge and approach into a clear process that the whole team can leverage across all different project types, significantly reducing oversight needed from already overloaded senior planners.

  • It acts like a shock absorber to fluctuations in demand. Software is charged based on usage. That means it can be scaled up quickly when demands increase and scaled down in quieter periods without any change in headcount.

Ultimately, building and maintaining planning teams is tough, but hiring and training is not the only solution. Software gives you a new opportunity to get the most out of your planning team today and build resilience by doing what you can to prepare for future changes and uncertainty.

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