Workforce planning - why it’s essential to your company’s success

Workforce planning - why it’s essential to your company’s success Natacha M.
October 21, 2022

Workplace planning.

It is all the rage right now. But what exactly is it, and how can you leverage it for a competitive advantage?

Learn how to plan and implement a cost-effective workplace planning initiative that optimises your organisation and promotes sustainable growth.

So, let’s dive into the world of workforce planning:

Key Takeaways

A solid workforce planning strategy will make your company adapt to changes and challenges faster and more efficiently.

It maximises resources, matches the right talent with the right positions and enhances the overall quality of work.

It improves employee retention and reduces costs in the long term.

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What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning ensures your company has the right people in the right role at the right time for the correct cost.

By analysing your current workforce and evaluating future staffing needs, you can use workforce planning to identify gaps and fill them accordingly.

Moreover, it prepares companies for future challenges and helps them effectively set up long-term success.

Why is it so important?

Besides meeting long-term goals and financial targets, workforce planning enhances the employee experience and improves staff retention.

Planning and placing the right people in the right roles gives staff security in their positions and clear-cut goals to work towards.

Furthermore, workforce planning encourages collaboration between employees, which is proven to boost motivation and morale.

Once you have a solid workforce planning strategy, you can identify skill gaps faster and move staff to roles where they can have the most significant impact.

How to implement workforce planning

Workforce planning is an ongoing process that you will continue to refine as your business develops.

Either you go at it by yourself or alternatively work with an expert human capital strategy consultant.

But before you even start creating a plan, you need to make sure that you know your organisation inside out.

If you have many employees, ensure you receive detailed information from managers and department leaders.

Without this information, your workforce planning will not be as effective as it can be.

There are five steps to a good workforce plan:

  1. Evaluate your current workforce
  2. Assign goals to employees
  3. Identify gaps
  4. Determine a solution
  5. Implement and monitor
guide to remote team

1. Evaluate your current workforce

The first step is to get to know your company’s workforce.

How many people work in what department, and what goals are they working towards?

What skills and talents have you got at your disposal?

Try to understand each employee’s skills and talents and see if they are in the correct positions.

There might be talent in your company that is entirely in the wrong place.

2. Assign goals to employees

Once you have gained a good understanding of your current workforce, assign long-term goals to individual employees or departments.

Make sure each person or department has something concrete and measurable to work towards.

These goals should all align with the company’s long-term vision to help you achieve the targets much faster.

Once you have the goals in place, it will be easy to measure your workforce’s success and see where your employees need to improve.

3. Identify gaps

By assigning goals to employees or departments, you can identify staffing and skill gaps much easier and faster.

You can see where talent is missing and reassign employees or hire new ones.

This also helps you determine if too many people are working on one assignment, making you reevaluate positions in your company to reach targets more efficiently.

4. Determine a solution

Once you identify gaps in your organisation, you can determine an appropriate solution to the problem.

Get managers involved and collaborate with staff to better understand the best solution.

Finally, figure out the best way to streamline and align your workforce with your organisation’s long-term goals.

5. Implement and monitor

Now it is time to implement your solution and monitor.

To monitor your planning successfully, set KPIs and clear-cut numerical goals and have regular meetings with employees and managers to discuss progress.

In addition, keep reviewing your current staff, spot talent and see where new employees might be needed as your company grows.

workforce planning graph

The difference between strategic and operational workforce planning

Let’s get into a bit more detail. You can divide your workforce planning between strategic and operational.

It is beneficial to work on both. Here are the main differences between the two:

Strategic workforce planning

Strategic workforce planning focuses on broader issues and the long-term goals of your company.

This strategy ensures that your staff aligns with your company’s overall image and goals.

It evaluates the company’s talent and ensures everyone works towards the same overall targets.

Operational workforce planning

Operational workforce planning focuses on short-term goals and everyday tasks.

It helps managers and department leaders maintain productivity and maximise employees’ talent and skills.

In addition, it streamlines daily activity and enhances strategic workforce planning in the long term.


There are many resources you can use to ensure your workforce planning is as effective as it can be.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is one of the most effective ways to ensure your company is ready for every situation.

Take some time to develop different worst-case scenarios and see how well your company is prepared for them.

9 Box Grid

The 9 Box Grid is a very effective tool that assesses your employees’ skills.

You can use the information to ensure that the right talents are placed in the correct positions.

This is very helpful for step one in your workforce planning.

Online Software

Instead of doing everything manually, many online programs can help with workforce planning, such as Workable or Recruitee.

There are several free options, as well as paid ones, depending on the size of your company.