Workforce planning

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Workforce Planning is a continual process used to align the needs and priorities of the organization with those of its workforce to ensure it can meet its legislative, regulatory, service and production requirements and organizational objectives. Workforce Planning enables evidence based workforce development strategies.[1]

Workforce Planning Definitions[edit]

Workforce Planning
is the business process for ensuring that an organization has suitable access to talent (potential candidates that have the ability to undertake required activities including decisions making) to ensure future business success. Access to talent includes considering all potential resources (employment, contracting out, partnerships, changing business activities to modify the types of talent required, etc.). The cycle of workforce planning includes filling resource requests, analyzing resource utilization, forecasting capacity, managing and identifying the resources (human) to fill that capacity, and then restarting the cycle.[2]
Strategic Workforce Planning
is the framework applied for Workforce Planning and Workforce Development, where the links between corporate and strategic objectives and their associated workforce implications are demonstrated. Strategic Workforce Planning takes into account the projected loss of knowledge through employee exits and the projected knowledge requirements for sustaining and progressing the business. Knowledge requirements may include technology, new skills, new roles, documentation of key workforce intelligence or new business demands.
Operational Workforce Planning
is initially processed based and focused on building understanding and capabilities in Workforce Planning, supported by simple tools, templates and techniques. Once established and practiced, these tools, templates and techniques can become more sophisticated and link to existing or new IT systems to enable Workforce Planning to be integrated into normal business practice.[3]

One of the more restrictive and potentially dangerous assumptions is that Strategic Planning is only about talent in the form of employees. Hiring is a strategy for accessing talent and will often be the superior one. However, the use of employees to meet talent needs carries with it unique risks that can be mitigated using alternative access sourcing arrangements.

The Strategic Workforce Planning process is linked with the organization's strategy. It's important to identify the talent needs that could adversely impact business success. Once the business risks are recognized attention turns to schedule and timing, where organizations assess current internal capabilities. Implementation and execution are the final steps that follow.

Workforce Analytics Approach[edit]

An analytical approach is important as it provides a fact based method of understanding workforce behaviors. This analysis typically includes reviewing employee recruitment, promotion and turnover patterns. The analysis also uncovers the hidden causes of overtime, absenteeism, and low productivity.

Steps in Workforce Planning[edit]

There are five fundamental activities that make up a Workforce Plan:

Environment Scan
Environment Scanning is a form of business intelligence. In the context of Workforce Planning it is used to identify the set of facts or circumstances that surround a workforce situation or event.
Current Workforce Profile
Current State is a profile of the demand and supply factors both internally and externally of the workforce the organization has today.
Future Workforce View
Future View is determining the organization’s needs considering the emerging trends and issues identified during the Environment Scanning.
Analysis and Targeted Future
Once critical elements are identified through quantitative and qualitative analysis, the future targets that are the best fit in terms of business strategy and is achievable given the surrounding factors (internal/external, supply/demand) are determined.
Closing the Gaps
The process is about determining appropriate actions to close the gaps in order to deliver the targeted future. There are 8 key areas:
Resourcing, Learning and Development, Remuneration, Industry Relations, Recruitment, Retention, Knowledge Management, Job design.


Smith, Tracey. Strategic Workforce Planning: Guidance & Backup Plans, 2012. ISBN 9781478317173[4]

  1. ^ Sloan, Julie. The Workforce Planning Imperative JSM, 2010. ISBN 978192103375 (pbk.)
  2. ^ Rudolf Melik. "Rise of the Project Workforce, Chapter 9: Workforce Planning". PM Hut. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ Sloan, Julie. The Workforce Planning Imperative JSM, 2010. ISBN 978192103375 (pbk.)
  4. ^ Smith, Tracey. Strategic Workforce Planning: Guidance & Backup Plans,