Strategic Workforce Planning – Part 1

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You may have been hearing more about Workforce Planning lately and wondering:

–          Should I be doing this?

–          Am I already doing this?

–          What the heck is Workforce Planning?

Well, the answer is yes to the first two points.  Yes, you should absolutely be doing this and are likely already doing it; at least informally.  In terms of what it is, Workforce Planning is simply that old saying of getting the right person in the right role at the right time; albeit in a significantly more formal, strategic and proactive way than you are likely doing it today.

As an ever increasing proportion of an organization’s value is directly tied to Human Capital, a formal and Strategic Workforce Plan is absolutely mandatory for an organization to thrive and survive.

So, where do you start?

The first place to start is to develop a process for your Workforce Planning Framework.  There are a plethora of processes out there that that you can use as a starting point.  A simple google search will yield over 30 million results.  There are obviously not 30 million Workforce Planning models, but there are enough that you can easily get bogged down in trying to build the perfect process.

A decent place to start is with the process followed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  The OPM’s workforce planning model has 5 steps as follows:

  1. Set Strategic Direction
  2. Analyze Workforce, Identify Skill Gaps, and conduct Workforce Analysis
  3. Develop Action Plan
  4. Implement Action Plan
  5. Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise.

If this still seems a bit daunting, consider a simple alternative that we use with clients.  Our process is:

  1. Understand the Talent You Have
  2. Identify the Talent You Need
  3. Develop Plans for Both

Our Strategic Workforce process can be defined many different ways.  At the end of the day however, all Strategic Workforce Processes should accomplish these three objectives.

The keys for your Workforce Plan is to:

–          Align it to your organization

–          Ensure the process is easy to communicate to the organization

–          Make sure it is something you will actually use.

The last point being most important as the perfect process is the process that is followed.

Stay tuned for Part 2 when I discuss determining an objective standard of measure and how it will drive your workforce planning.

Also, check out my upcoming Webinar in partnership with  Data Driven: Using Talent Benchmarks to Drive Workforce Planning Success (I promise it is more interesting than it sounds).  Click here for more info.



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