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What are the steps in workforce planning?

 As thought leaders in the workforce planning space, we get a lot of questions surrounding the topic. Our most asked question is always: “What are the steps in workforce planning?"

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Each organization will have a different process for workforce planning, but many steps will remain the same in this process regardless of the organization. The important part is that your organization finds a process that is successful for it, and then continues to use it to ensure long-term success. Download our free workforce planning template here.

Download Our Workforce Planning Template!


The five steps below detail the answer to the question “What are the steps in workforce planning?”. They also provide in-depth examples from our hypothetical t-shirt company: ABC Inc.


“What are the steps in workforce planning?” Part 1:

The first step in the process is doing an environmental analysis. This consists of looking at external and internal variables that are affecting your organization now or could be in the future.

For example, ABC Inc would do an environmental analysis of the city government where it is located, since it is a local business.


“What are the steps in workforce planning?" Part 2:

The second step in this process is to create a summation of the current status of your workforce. This involves profiling individual’s skills, as well as teams, departments, and the entire organization.

For example, ABC Inc would develop an overview of the skills of each of its 50 employees. They would then profile the skills of teams, departments, and then the overall organization.


“What are the steps in workforce planning?” Part 3:

The third step in this process is to create an overview of skills or requirements needed by the organization at a future point in time. This point in time will be a measurement decided internally based on your own planning needs.

For example, ABC Inc would create a report detailing where the organization is going in the future and the skills needed to support the organization at this point in time. ABC Inc is looking to move to a new printing and software system next year, so the functionality of this new system is a skill that will need to be learned by employees.


“What are the steps in workforce planning?" Part 4:

In the fourth step of this process, the organization should create a plan to ensure talent meets the needs required of the organization specified in part 3. This plan could consist of internal or external training, outsourcing, recruiting of new talent, etc.

As the software program does not have too high of a learning barrier for current employees, ABC Inc could develop a training program. They could introduce a guide for employees to go through to become knowledgeable about the new program.


“What are the steps in workforce planning?" Part 5:

In the fifth step of this process an organization should evaluate the results from the previous steps, and then modify to create an optimal outcome. This step should be repeated until the optimal result is found.

In the ABC Inc example, the organization could find that the guide was not sufficient in training the employees. They could then enlist the help of an external trainer to make sure the employees were trained successfully on the new program.


Has your workforce planning strategy led to layoffs? Check out our script!

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