5 benefits of strategic workforce planning meetings in construction

5 benefits of strategic workforce planning meetings in construction

Workforce planning meetings, when properly carried out, can keep teams on the same page regarding capacity planning, resource allocations, and overall labor management. During these meetings, information would ideally be exchanged, feedback solicited and given, and strategy decided upon.

This article covers strategic workforce planning. We’ll go over why it’s important, its goals, how you serve to benefit from it, and more.

What is strategic workforce planning?

Strategic workforce planning is the process of identifying and preparing for the future workforce needs of an organization. It involves analyzing the current workforce, forecasting future staffing needs, and developing plans to ensure that the right people are assigned the right jobs at the right time.

Workforce planning ensures that an organization has enough workforce resources (i.e., enough people with the right skills and experience) to meet immediate and future business goals now. A proper plan helps prevent and deal with issues like high turnover, labor shortages, and excess downtime.

Some things to consider when developing workforce planning strategies include:

  • Changes in business strategy
  • Technological advancements
  • Demographic shifts
  • Economic conditions

To start workforce planning, first conduct an analysis of your current workforce. This will allow you to identify any existing gaps in your labor force in terms of experience or skills. Future staffing needs can be forecasted accordingly based on this analysis, keeping in mind any anticipated future changes.

What then follows would be the development of future workforce plans. This could mean re-adjusting, reallocating, or redeploying existing workers and staffing new staff to fill in skill gaps.

What are the goals of strategic workforce planning meetings?

Construction workforce planning meetings can alleviate problem-solving responsibilities, which often falls on the shoulders of construction business owners or members of an operations team. But if they’re not properly conducted, workforce development planning meetings can become a chore rather than an effective way to gather information and collaborate.

Making a workforce planning meeting more effective means allowing for open conversation to gather valuable input based on your team’s expertise. This allows your organization to better identify potential project risks, solve problems, and align with one another to achieve collective goals.

It isn’t easy to consistently run meetings that check all those boxes, but it’s worth making the effort to make every session meaningful. The more effective your meetings become, the more you’ll begin to see results both within your team and your organization.

The strategic workforce planning process

Here’s what you need to know about the workforce planning process overall and how, facilitated by meetings, it can be conducted strategically.

Foundational elements of strategic workforce planning

Workforce planning should be based upon what your company’s current labor force looks like. From there, keep in mind these foundational elements during meetings.

  • Consider the long-term – Any decisions made should be done so with a tactical approach, with enough flexibility to account for concerns in the long-run
  • Ensure planning aligns with overall company goals – Strategic workforce planning should be coordinated with where your entire organization currently is and where it plans to be
  • Make sure planning is focused – Management and overhead should be less of a concern. Instead, plans should be focused on a set of objectives formed around the company’s primary functions

Workforce plans that are effective and strategically executed take these factors into consideration.

Understanding the process of strategic workforce planning

The process of strategically planning out a workforce is determined by the broader market that a company is operating within, which can have an effect on an organization’s capabilities and its currently available resources.

In other words, labor forces are mapped out according to their industry. For the construction sector, this is especially pertinent, as the industry suffers from an ongoing labor shortage. Construction projects are also often huge and complex, requiring many working hands for timely completion.

Workforce planning strategies, then, are centered around what the construction industry demands of companies for success.

Why workforce planning is important

Workforce planning is an important tool for businesses of all sizes, helping to ensure that companies have the right employees in place to meet their future goals. Here are some more specific reasons as to why your construction firm should plan its workforce carefully.

Improves employee management

Hiring more labor when needed is crucial. However, it’s just as important to retain workers once they’re onboarded. Workers quitting mid-way can delay projects and be costly, cutting into profit margins, as it’s been proven that turnover costs more in the long run due to the time and effort required to rehire.

Whether it’s assessing the effectiveness of current training programs or developing new procedures to ensure worker retention, focusing on employee management through workforce planning is crucial.

Addresses the labor shortage

Developing a tactical plan for your workforce and implementing strategic workforce management allows companies to avoid the effects of the industry’s ever-prevalent labor shortage. Carefully planning out a workforce can result in fewer delays, as it can prevent issues caused by a lack of available workers.

Allows companies to remain competitive

To stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in today’s ever-changing business environment, you must increase efficiency and ensure productivity. By having the right people in the right jobs at the right time, organizations can optimize their performance and better meet future challenges, giving them a competitive advantage.

The benefits of strategic workforce planning meetings in construction

Here are some significant workforce planning benefits and why you should consider holding these meetings.

1. Optimizes your construction workforce management

Regularly scheduled meetings for planning are a must for optimizing workforce management. During these meetings, leading general contractors connect with key stakeholders, exchanging information to remain up to date on project progress. This allows for more tactical approaches in the application of workforce management strategies.

Issues and solutions can be discussed to view them from multiple perspectives. It’s important for meeting tasks to be assigned, with input solicited from different stakeholders. The best possible strategy can then be decided upon with greater confidence.

As meetings often eat into time that could be spent on completing other tasks, it’s crucial that the time spent in a meeting is properly utilized. This means minimizing tangents and keeping meetings focused on objectives. When properly executed, effective meetings can save time in the long-term and bring about better results in workforce optimization.

“The people I want to share information with can easily obtain access. Conversations with departments have become more real, productive, and insightful. Because Bridgit Bench serves as a single source of truth, everyone is on the same page. I can firefight better now. I’m not feeling pressured.”

— Jeff Olafson, CEO at Gardon Construction

2. Increases understanding of meeting goals and strategy

When you’re creating the agenda for your next meeting, make sure to clearly state the goals of the meeting and the desired outcome of each project that will be discussed. This allows your team members to prepare and align both discussion points and input around the specific outcomes you are hoping to achieve. 

Your meeting facilitator can then use the agenda to keep the meeting concise and moving in the direction of your business needs and strategic goals.

The agenda helps to provide a shared sense of purpose around strategic workforce planning going into your meetings. Everyone not only understands why they’ve been included, they also understand the importance of the meeting. 

Having an understanding of long-term goals and strategic direction is motivating for your team, both during workforce planning meetings and as you push towards achieving organizational benchmarks.

3. Achieves improved team collaboration and engagement

Construction workforce planning meetings that are properly carried out allow teams to share opinions and give input that’s relevant and valuable. Discussions should be focused on problem-solving for pertinent issues and solutions for improving the workforce.

Before the meeting, an agenda should be sent out outlining expected discussion topics, with items sorted by priority. This way, your team has time to think about any ideas they may have and can prepare their thoughts in advance. 

A designated facilitator should lead the meeting and guide it forward, keeping it centered on core objectives while allowing teams to address specific problems.

Letting everyone share their opinions and perspectives makes them feel that their ideas are valued. The result is better collaboration, which can bring about new and innovative ways to resolve issues and prevent potential risks regarding workforce management strategies.

It helps to also solicit opinions from team members who don’t regularly share ideas, as it can increase engagement and allow for a fresher perspective.

“Before Bridgit Bench, everyone would leave personnel meetings exhausted because we were dealing with relatively fixed resources. Now, everyone is more engaged.”

— David Diltz, Operations Manager at Compass Construction

4. Pushes for increased accountability within the workforce

The environment of your construction workforce planning meetings should make every team member feel like their perspectives and input are valued. This will help them feel comfortable taking on different responsibilities and make it clear that every decision made has an impact on individual projects and the organization as a whole. 

Decision-making during meetings holds more weight than decisions made via email, phone calls, or individual meetings. When a decision is agreed upon with everyone’s input, team members feel more accountable to the team and will be motivated to follow through effectively.

Consider also using a collaborative construction workforce planning solution for your workforce planning meetings, as everyone will have full visibility on updates that are being made. This motivates your team to stay up to date and do their part in keeping everyone updated on their progress and relevant issues. 

Since no one likes to be the one holding up expensive workforce planning meetings, ensure you’re capturing the following: 

  • All action items related to specific projects
  • Team members responsible for following through
  • When you next expect to be updated on progress

5. Supports and nurtures career development

Another benefit of strategic workforce planning is the fact that it supports the career development of team members. Meetings can open up opportunities for workers to strengthen important business skills.

For facilitators, meetings can help with the development of leadership and communication skills over time. Consistent team-building through workforce planning fosters interpersonal skills while encouraging organizational development, as facilitators are expected to handle progress reports and hold members accountable for their designated responsibilities.

Team members who attend meetings guided by leadership can also sharpen their communication abilities. When held and executed properly, workforce development planning meetings can challenge members of your team to come up with solutions, which improves critical thinking and problem-solving.

Meetings also allow for better strategic workforce management. During the course of these meetings, it’s crucial to identify skill gaps and strategize filling them in, whether that’s through the training and advancement of your existing labor force or through the hiring of additional workers. High-performance workers can be identified and allocated accordingly.

A step-by-step template for workforce planning

Although we’ve gone through the process of workforce planning, it helps to have a step-by-step guide. Here’s a template for strategic workforce planning to help you better conduct meetings.

  1. Analyze your existing workforce

The first step in workforce planning is knowing what your current workforce looks like in terms of skills and experience. This will allow you to identify what’s missing, what’s needed, and what’s required to increase productivity and efficiency.

One crucial aspect to assess involves current workforce performance. In other words, how are workers performing, and is significant improvement needed? Quality assessment allows for more effective talent management so your company can maximize employee potential and capitalize on the skills that the company already has access to.

Along with quality, it’s important to analyze quantity when developing workforce management strategies. How many employees are involved in top or middle management? Are there too many staff members in production and support? With this data, you can reallocate your employees, training and promoting them accordingly to ensure a more reasonable spread.

  1. Plan your workforce around future anticipated needs

While it can be difficult to predict exactly what the future holds, workforce planning strategies should factor in where the company plans to be in the future. Being proactive in this regard will allow construction companies to better respond to external shifts and weather storms when they do occur.

Mapping a workforce out in advance to account for growth and change will also ensure that you’re prepared in advance so you’re not scrambling to make up for gaps in your skillforce when it’s most needed.

  1. Incorporate programs for workforce development and management

Once you’ve finalized a plan for workforce development and management, it’s time to actually incorporate it into your company processes through well-developed programs. These programs should be mapped out beforehand, realistic in their timeline to meet workforce metrics, and should have enough flexibility to accommodate changes.

Example of a workforce planning strategy

An example of strategic workforce planning may involve operations teams looking at revenue goals and analyzing where their construction company is expected to go within the next few years. Growth can be anticipated by looking at historical data and consolidating that with current conditions.

If growth is anticipated, workforce planning strategies can then be developed to prepare for expansion. Analysis of the company’s labor force would then be required. Important questions would be asked, such as, “What areas of this organization are most productive, and which sections need attention to prevent future workforce challenges?”. 

If declines are expected, an important question to ask would be, “How can this be remedied through workforce reallocation?”.
Projections wouldn’t be concrete indicators of where the organization will go, but rather, they’d provide guidance until more telling information is collected. Factors to consider would be labor costs and employee turnover.

Common mistakes in strategic workforce planning meetings

Common mistakes are often made during workforce planning meetings that dampen their effectiveness. Here are the most common mistakes that you should avoid.

Not having clear objectives

Without a clear objective, meetings can meander and accomplish very little. This usually happens when adequate preparation hasn’t been made for the meeting, leading to a lack of focus and direction. Unproductive meetings lead to no decisions being made and no proper follow-ups being carried through, which ultimately ends up wasting time and money.

Not creating balanced workloads

Without balanced workloads, workers end up stressed and morale is decreased. Overburdening workers is, at the end of the day, counterproductive. On the other hand, not giving team members enough to do results in downtime (which can be costly for organizations). 

Make sure workloads are balanced throughout meetings, with tasks equally distributed.

Not delegating tasks to the right person

When deciding which tasks to assign to who, it’s important to also consider each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. In other words, think about their skillset and past experience.

Giving the wrong work to the wrong team members opens up the possibility for error and low-quality work, resulting in the need for costly rework. Make sure team members are trained accordingly and are comfortable with the work they’re given.

Holding strategic workforce planning meetings is important

Productive workforce planning meetings, with the right execution, can be incredibly effective in mapping out your organization’s labor force. Streamlining setup and ensuring follow-up of these meetings means making use of technological solutions.

Bridgit is a leader in construction workforce planning. We understand the value that stems from creating an optimized workforce planning process, and provide operations teams with clear visibility over their workforce to promote collaboration during meetings.

We aim to help you better understand your current and future workforce needs so that when new opportunities surface, you’re well-prepared to take on and respond to challenges.

Request a demo with Bridgit today.


Here are some frequently asked questions about strategic workforce management and planning.

What are the 5 key elements of workforce planning?

The 5 key elements of workforce planning are:

  1. Analyses of supply and demand
  2. Alignment with company and business goals
  3. Execution and implementation
  4. Financial planning
  5. Investment in technology

What are the 3 key issues for strategic workforce planning?

3 key issues and obstacles that often affect the ability to strategically plan a workforce include:

  1. External factors that cannot be controlled (i.e., industry-wide issues, economic conditions, demographic shifts)
  2. Insufficient data collection for analysis
  3. Unproductive meetings that don’t lead to proper decision-making

What should a workforce strategy include?

A workforce strategy needs to have a clear goal and objective. Sufficient data is also a must for proper analysis, which decision-making should be founded upon. Once a plan is implemented, there should also be a way to measure progress and effectiveness.

What is a workforce planning framework?

A workforce planning framework is a type of plan and structure that allows for the mapping out of a workforce. It involves analysis and forecasting to ensure that labor needs are coordinated with key business objectives.

What are workforce planning tools?

Workforce planning tools are methods or platforms that facilitate workforce planning. Tools for implementing workforce planning strategies may include labor management dashboards to oversee construction personnel, mapping platforms, and analytics software.

How does strategic workforce planning benefit construction project management?

As project deadlines creep up, the last thing you want is to be dealing with something you could have foreseen at the outset of the project. Waiting on skilled labor at the 11th hour of the project is uncomfortable for everyone involved. Strategic workforce planning improves project management by ensuring the right people with the right skills show up when they’re needed. This optimizes resource utilization and minimizes downtime. 

What are the primary goals of workforce planning meetings in the construction industry?

Workforce planning is about getting and keeping everyone on the same page. The agenda items on the meeting should include items like cross-functional team collaboration, labor forecasting, and reviewing project management systems. The outcome of these meetings is to strategically address issues like skill gaps, relocation of resources, and ensuring the right staff are available to meet project timelines. 

What elements should be included in a construction workforce planning strategy?

Your construction workforce planning strategy should include items such as detailed assessment of current workforce skills, forecasts and estimates on upcoming projects, and strategies for bridging resource gaps. It’s not a bad idea to also include items like succession planning to account for retirements and turnover, as well as training programs and recruitment plans. Make sure your strategy is aligned with overall business objectives and promotes a proactive approach to workforce management. 

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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