Workforce Planning: Part 1 – Introduction

6 mins read

This article introduces you to the Workforce Planning process that most organizations conduct during their company’s budgeting season.

Businesses that do not plan for the future risk falling behind on organizational goals, objectives, and deliverables. Forgetting to plan ahead could be a costly misstep, as businesses may encounter situations that could be detrimental to the smooth running of the organization. This can also affect other external factors such as the professional image of your organization.

When planning for the future of your business, remember that it is comprised of more than just the future plans, projects, and revenue; the future of your business and how its going to succeed should also consider taking the workforce into consideration.

Why should the workforce be considered in the future plans of your business?

To reduce the risk of falling behind, you want to consider your workforce to ensure that your business has the right manpower, skills, and capacity in place, at the right time to achieve its overall success!

Businesses that have planned out their workforce reduce the risk of overworking employees, seeing delays in reaching milestones, or incurring unnecessary costs on payroll when they plan ahead. This can be accomplished by implementing an annual workforce plan and incorporating it into the budget.

Mercer puts it this way in their Global Talent Trends Report 2020: “It can’t just be about employee capacity and business unit alignment, workforce planning must recognize employees’ potential and engagement and be intertwined with the company’s roadmap.”

What is an Annual Workforce Plan?

An annual workforce plan (staffing budget or staffing plan) is a process that most businesses complete to align its organizational goals and objectives with recruitment and talent management. Because of this alignment, the annual workforce plan is considered to be a vital business process.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that running a business can be exhausting, however, you do not have to do it alone. Your employees are the foundation of the company and are there to help drive your business to achieve results! Which is why it is a best practice to consider the workforce and incorporate them into your business plan.

It was mentioned in one of our articles, Strategic Human Resources, that without employees there would be no products or services to sell, which unsurprisingly can affect the success of the business. We recommend following a well-developed workforce plan in order to plan ahead and ensure that your business has the right manpower and talent in place, at the right time, so they can support you and your business to achieve the desired planned outcomes.

Down the road, this plan will help bring awareness of what abilities your current workforce has, and needs, which may reduce the risk of spending unnecessary money on payroll or falling behind.

Workforce Planning Process

This process creates a planning and monitoring tool for businesses to use, so it remains on track. When starting the planning process, businesses will generally conduct an analysis on the current human capital (workforce) to help identify any gaps in talent, skills, competencies, and capacities.

When analyzing your workforce, you are also evaluating the various facets of the business to identify the businesses needs and requirements, which generally encompasses, but is not limited to:

    • Setting SMART organizational goals, and aligning recruitment and talent management to it
    • Analyzing the current workforce capabilities
    • Determining the future requirements of the workforce
    • Identifying gaps between where you are and where you want to be
    • Designing and implementing solutions to accomplish your goals
    • Fulfilling your strategic plans though hiring the right talent

Developing an effective workforce plan can be an intimidating process, as there are a lot of moving parts and complexities to consider when evaluating the business and planning for the future. However, we would like to remind you that you do not have to do this alone and your company’s strategic workforce plan can support this.

There are 5 manageable steps to take to make sure your strategic workforce plan is effective:

    1. Setting a Strategic Direction
    2. Identifying Potential Gaps
    3. Conducting a Gap Analysis
    4. Creating a Plan
    5. Monitoring Progress

Now that you have been introduced to workforce planning and the importance of it, stay tuned for part 2 of this series when we discuss the first manageable step to take to make sure your strategic workforce plan is effective, which is Setting a Strategic Direction.

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