Sustainable Workforce

A sustainable workforce is a potential outcome of medium to long term strategic planning reviews carried out by organisations that view their people as assets and do not simply focus on the short term; enabling them to plan for the future with regards to their people requirements.

Creating and maintaining a sustainable workforce requires organisations to take appropriate action to: recruit and retain the right workforce; address key future and occupational skill shortages; promote jobs, careers and the concept of employability; identify , develop and motivate talent; address diversity and inclusion issues . (Source Fire Professional Framework Strategic Aims and Objectives).

The creation of a sustainable workforce is a significant challenge in itself, particularly when the external influences lend themselves towards short term focus. However, adopting a longer term view and focusing on sustainability of the workforce can lead to on-going organisational benefits and positive impacts for organisations, our communities and staff.
Why create, develop and maintain a sustainable workforce?

Examples of some mutual benefits for organisations and individuals are:
  • Addressing the impact of external challenges
  • An organised, planned workforce focusing on the right things aligned to key business priorities should improve customer satisfaction, Value for Money and performance
  • Organisational capacity for change is linked to workforce capabilities and motivated and engaged staff
  • A continually refreshed, skilled workforce are more likely to continually deliver improved high performance and customer excellence
  • Supporting staff when things go wrong in and outside work is likely to translate to improving performance and customer excellence
  • The more diverse and representative of our communities the workforce is the better equipped organisations will be to understand and deliver customer service
Tools and techniques are available to help organisations create and maintain a sustainable workforce.

Key Elements of a Sustainable Workforce:
  • Workforce planning
  • Recruiting talent
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Succession planning
  • Talent Management and building capability
  • Outstanding leadership
  • Organisational Culture
  • Employee Relationships
  • Performance Management
  • Employee Well-being
Workforce planning is about predicting the future demand for different types of staff and skills and seeking to match this with supply. Effective workforce planning is an important tool to help organisations optimise their resources and build capacity in a structured and planned cost effective way.

Workforce planning has a significant role in delivering improved organisational performance and value for money. The outcomes of effective workforce planning include:
  • Accurate forecast of numbers of people required and the potential skills gaps
  • Helps organisations to match training and development requires against business needs
  • Aligned corporate strategy, financial and people plans
  • Better management of employment expenditure by anticipating changes
  • provide information to predict and address peaks and troughs in supply demand for specific skills
  • retain employees and identify longer term workplace asset requirements
  • helps embed diversity and inclusion
  • effectively support organisational development and transformation
  • having the information to make informed decision regarding people, resources and investment
  • Ability to predict fit for purpose employee relations and reward strategies.
Future Workforce Requirements:

According to initial surveys carried out with a selection of managers across FRS regions; the future workforce needs to:
  • Embrace change
  • Be even more adaptable, agile and flexible
  • Be more accountable at all levels
  • Have the right mix of skills for the changing community needs
  • Exhibit the right attitudes and behaviours
  • Operate as effectively and efficiency as possible
How do I undertake workforce planning?

There are tool kits available to help you with:
  • Medium to long term workforce plans linked to IRMP and corporate plans
  • Department managers, undertaking functional/area/station review
  • Sharing or merging services
Links and Case Studies under development

Within these examples, there are some core factors to may wish to consider. These need to be considered in context; with a view to detailing the current position alongside defining future service requirements .Examples of the core factors are:
  • Analyse the relevant external environment –( PESTEL)
  • Specifically analyse any relevant external workforce trends within the sector, region and locally. This will help to identify any workforce availability issue
  • Review current workforce demographics and characteristics ;including skills audit, absence levels, staff turnover, workforce diversity
  • Define what your future service requirements are and then translate into workforce requirements and characteristics
  • Compare the current and future workforce requirements .This Gap Analysis will provide the detail to inform the organisational and HR interventions to deliver the workforce plan. HR interventions may include: recruitment, training, succession planning, reward and recognition, performance management, revised policy
Skills For Fire & Rescue