Finding Strategic Workforce Planning Process For Your Business

Having the right people in place with the right skills is crucial for any organization to execute its strategy and achieve its goals. Organizations need strategic workforce planning processes to align human capital needs with business objectives to build an agile and capable workforce.

What is a Strategic Workforce Planning Process?

A strategic workforce planning process helps managers and HR leaders align workforce resources with their organization’s business objectives. 

Strategic workforce planning models address an organization’s current capabilities and project future talent needs. The process analyzes the workforce dynamics inside and outside the organization to anticipate challenges and opportunities. Key activities include:

  • Assessing the external labor market to assess the availability of required skills and talent
  • Forecasting workforce supply and demand
  • Identifying critical jobs and core competencies
  • Analyzing gaps and surpluses in workforce numbers and capabilities 
  • Developing action plans to address gaps and capitalize on opportunities

Benefits of Implementing a Strategic Workforce Planning Model

When organizations implement an effective strategic workforce planning model, they can:

  • Align human capital capabilities with business objectives
  • Anticipate and meet future talent requirements 
  • Identify workforce surpluses and deficits proactively
  • Develop workforce solutions tuned to organizational needs
  • Focus investments on strategic human capital priorities
  • Enhance workforce flexibility and readiness for change
  • Improve employee recruitment, development, and retention

In today’s fast-changing business environment, leaders recognize the role an effective strategic workforce planning process plays in navigating uncertainty and driving organizational success. A well-defined framework allows companies to optimize their most important asset—their workforce. With proactive planning, they can build the workforce needed today and tomorrow.

A Strategic Workforce Planning Process for Your Business

Here are some tips on how to develop a strategic workforce planning process for your business:

Assess Current and Future Needs

The first step in developing a strategic workforce planning process is to conduct a gap analysis between your current workforce capabilities and future talent needs. Examine upcoming business objectives, new projects in the pipeline, and changes in the competitive landscape. This will identify critical roles, competencies, and skills that may be lacking, based on where the business is headed. Analyze workforce trends such as attrition rates, retirement eligibility, and turnover. Forecast talent needs not just for the immediate future but 3–5 years out.

Scan the External Labor Market 

Conduct market research to understand the availability of critical skills and roles in your industry and region. Then factor in demographic shifts, competition for talent, and changes in the educational pipeline. This will ground your workforce plan in the realities of the labor market. Monitor leading indicators such as enrollment in degree programs related to high-demand skills.

Develop Talent Pipelines

Once you identify strategic capabilities required for the future, determine how to build a sustainable talent pipeline. This may involve targeted recruiting, upskilling existing employees, internships, leadership development programs, and strategic partnerships with educational institutions. Focus on streams of talent versus individual hires.

Align HR Programs and Technology

Examine how existing HR infrastructure needs to be adapted to support strategic workforce planning. Revamp recruiting strategies to seek out critical skills. Audit learning programs to cultivate future capabilities through internal development. Ensure HR technology provides analytics and dashboards for data-driven talent decisions.

Communicate and Collaborate

Adopting a strategic workforce planning model requires input and coordination across the organization. HR should facilitate conversations between business leaders and functional heads to spot upcoming needs and surface great ideas for developing talent. Publicize workforce plans and progress to promote transparency and generate commitment to talent development initiatives.

Revisit and Refresh Plans

Workforce planning is an ongoing process that evolves as a business evolves. Revisit gap analyses, market scans, talent pipelines, and programs regularly to keep plans attuned to changing needs. Conduct annual reviews and recalibrate strategies based on new projects, technologies, and other evolutions in the business landscape, which impact talent priorities.

Measure Results

Monitoring key workforce metrics that demonstrate progress toward strategic goals is critical. This includes recruiting metrics like quality of hire and time-to-fill for critical roles. Track uptake and completion rates for learning programs intended to build strategic capabilities. Survey metrics can provide insight into employee engagement, satisfaction, and career development opportunities.

Invest in Workforce Planning Capability

Developing and executing an effective strategic workforce planning process requires dedicated resources and expertise. Invest in analytical tools to provide robust workforce data. Hire specialists in organizational design, recruitment, and capability development. Train HR business partners on translating business objectives into talent implications.

Gaining leadership commitment and dedicating resources to strategic workforce planning enables an organization to build a future-ready workforce. Over time, a sustainable, dynamic process can be used to systematically address changing talent needs and give your business the human capital edge to drive growth and innovation.

Get Started with A Strategic Workforce Planning Process

Implementing a strategic workforce planning framework is the best way to achieve the highest staff productivity. It will help you optimize costs, navigate demographic changes, create a long-term recruitment strategy, and improve your bottom line.

Are you ready to learn how implementing a strategic workforce planning framework will help you maximize resources and future-proof your workforce? Contact us to request a demo.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Stay Social