Running a business requires a focus on many external forces, such as market and consumer behavior changes, labor markets, cost and pricing adjustments, capital needs, and more. Internal resources are best utilized by making sure the right people are in the right roles, systems are being properly utilized, and processes are as efficient as possible.
Workplan analysis is an effective tool used to review and analyze internal processes, systems, and particularly the experience and expertise required to execute your operations. The results are compared to the expertise of current staff. This analysis brings clarity regarding areas for improvement in process and staff allocation and enables data-backed decisions around areas of opportunity, such as the addition of automation, adjusting staffing levels, reassigning roles, and similar optimization decisions.
Applications of Workplan Analysis
A common use for workplan analysis is measuring staff workloads, assessing team skills and experience in relation to the demands of your operations, and assessing whether current systems are the best solutions for functional needs. It measures whether systems and automation are being utilized to maximize functionality, or if other systems should be implemented to augment or replace your current solutions. The vcfo workplan analysis begins with interviews of key staff about their workforce or business operations to learn the following:
- Does the team have the necessary skill sets for the required roles?
- What skills are missing that will be needed to support continued expansion?
- Are team members focused on the necessary tasks?
- Are there inefficient processes?
- Is production consistently at capacity?
- Is the team hitting deadlines?
- What internal controls need to be added or adjusted?
- When was the last time processes were evaluated for efficiencies?
- What processes or systems need to change to support growth expectations?
Virtually any organization can gain insights and value from a workplan analysis. Assessments are best done one department (finance, human resources, customer service, shipping, etc.) at a time, but multiple, independent workplan analyses across different teams can be conducted concurrently. While each workplan analysis is performed independently, the team looks at the overlapping functions, processes, and deliverables to deliver a comprehensive assessment with cross-departmental recommendations.
In smaller organizations, departments or teams often consist of a single person or a small number of people who are essentially “handling everything.” But as an organization grows in complexity and size, these individuals or small groups can no longer handle the entire workload. A workplan analysis can identify the right time to add staff to any team and how to best rearrange responsibilities within a work group to optimize experience and expertise on the team. Workplan analysis supports scalability as organizations continue to expand. It analyzes bottlenecks, segregation of duties, internal controls, experience gaps, and opportunities.
The Workplan Analysis Process
Workplan analysis is led by a senior CFO or CHRO professional with deep experience in applying the tool and a full understanding of the concerns, questions, and decisions that need to be weighed. The process itself is comprised of three steps: data collection, data analysis and visualization, and findings review.
- Data Collection– Workplan analysis data is collected via interviews, surveys, observations, or a combination of methods. Information is gathered on items such as company objectives for the team, job tasks, task durations, tenure, internal controls, skill sets, and more, depending on what is being assessed.
- Data Analysis – Collected data is then compiled, normalized, and refined to enable views from multiple perspectives. Metrics are calculated and visualized to indicate things like the tasks that are demanding the most time, variations in the time it takes to complete key steps, and whether different variables (e.g., experience, expertise, education, and training) may be affecting outputs.
- Findings Review –Easy-to-interpret data visualizations and supporting information provide clarity on the questions or issues being examined. These outputs also generate, and enable the assessment of, additional “what-if” questions, such as “what would be the result of adding another person here?” or “should we invest in new software solutions or an investment in equipment that would automate 20% of these tasks?”
Once workplan analysis is complete, companies are better equipped to make decisions and implement actions that will drive improvement. With the baseline measures and insights from the workplan analysis in place, the process can deliver further value in the future by repeating it at different points for comparison.
Making Your Company Stronger
Leaders wrestle with an ever-changing array of challenges and concerns in determining how to improve their organizations. Workplan analysis will deliver specific, clear, objective, and actionable information to support optimal decision making around staffing and optimization opportunities.
Interested in learning more about how this analysis can help your organization? Connect with a vcfo expert who can get you started.
We have worked with more than 5,000 business teams in our 25+ years, would love to hear your story and concerns, and share how our experience and collective wisdom can help.