The Importance of Workforce Planning

Workforce planning should be where every organisations HR team begins to ensure they are continuously delivering people with the required skills necessary for the position. This relates to the strategic and operational plan and is aligned with the company’s future direction. I am going to cover some of the key elements of effective workplace planning.

Future Vision

The future vision of the company needs to be identified which can be done by reviewing and analysing the future program plan, budgets, and environmental factors. Are you forecasting a company restructure or changing location? Understand your funding levels and trends/patterns while factoring in any social, legislative, and technological changes to the organisation.  

Current Resources

Conduct a workforce analysis to determine the future availability of your current employees. This will be done by; predicting internal movement, such as promotions that may open vacancies. Organisation and position structures that may change, requiring staff with a different skill set. Retirement projections and turnover data giving you insight into potential loss of employees.

Needed Resources

Identify areas in which your organisation is falling short and compare your current resources with the organisation’s future needs. Forecast any specific needs and the overall number of staff required. Compare these needs with your current resources to establish if your organisation has had an increase or decrease in productivity levels, your company is under staffing or over staffing, forecasting career progression and management replacements, and establishing any change in the skills required for the position.

Legal Considerations

Put some thought and research into any recent developments in employment law. This will avoid any issues if changes have been made and maintain fairness and legal compliance. Does your organisation need to be more diversified and represent greater equal opportunity? This could be achieved by growing the gender balance and/or indigenous employment. There are many more legal considerations such as redundancies, flexible staffing arrangements and succession planning that need to be reflected on when workforce planning.

Action Plan

Addressing all the above and any other critical issues you need to establish your HR objectives and develop an action plan. Understand your sources of workers, internal and external. Design or redesign the job required, create a training plan, and prepare for productivity improvement, any company restructure, and a position management plan. The action plan will completely depend on your company needs and plans and may require more than the above.


Are you increasing or decreasing staff? What are the costs associated with hiring someone? Are you going to recruit internally or externally? You need to get a full understanding of the costs that come with recruiting someone, along with the induction process. If you bring someone new on board, you may have relocation and reorganising costs, along with training, potentially retraining and career management.

This step by step process to workforce planning should assist you in making effective decisions to give your organisation a successful outcome. Now it is time to put your plan in to action!

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