Starting a workforce planning initiative at your organization can be difficult without the proper tools. After all, the process is extremely data-focused, which if not handled properly from the very start, can get confusing very quickly. This is why we recommend using a workforce planning template for Excel that can you easily insert data into and keep the whole process running smoothly.
Excel is typically the best spreadsheet program to use for workforce planning data because you can easily create templates that can be passed out to your managers for them to help with the data-collecting process that comes with the first step of any well-rounded workforce planning initiative.
To help with this, we have created an easily customizable sample template that you can download here:
So, how are you supposed to use this template and what is its purpose inside your very own workforce planning process?
Let’s take a look.
Using a Workforce Planning Template in Excel
The goal of using a workforce planning template in Excel is to create a document that contains all of the information gathered during the process.
To start, we recommend that you use a template to gather intel on your current workforce, paying special attention to what skills your workers have, how long they have been at the company, and things of that nature.
To do this, lean on your managers to list who works in their team, what their level of experience is, what projects they are working on etc. This should become a profile of the individual worker.
This list can look something like this:
- Type of Position: full-time/part-time/contract
- Manager Name
- Qualifications: degrees, experience, certificates, etc.
- Skills: what skills do they have that are pertinent to their current role
- Level of Competency (1-5): This should rate the above skills, ranging from beginner to expert
- Potential Next Positions: Ask yourself what position this person may be promoted to in the future if they continue development
- Years of Experience Needed for Promotion
- Skills and Training: what core development training do they need to move up into a new position
- Potential New Salary
With this data in hand, you will be able to see all of the details that pertain to your current workforce on an individual level. This is a great way to start workforce planning because it paints a large picture of who you have working at your organization.
To actually create this overarching image of your workforce, you need to combine this data.
Using a Workforce Planning Template in Excel: Creating a Clear Picture of Your Workforce
Having data on everyone working for you allows you to examine where your workforce is right now and where it is headed in the future. For example, if someone is up for promotion, will you need to hire a new entry level person to fill their now vacant spot? Do you have retirees that may step down this year, leaving their position empty?
To understand what you are working with, create another tab that looks at the high-level details of your organization.
Here is what this tab can cover:
- Promotable Employees Within the Next Year
- Total New Open Positions
- Potential Retirees
- Promotable Employees With No Growth
- Open Positions With No Suitable Internal Candidates
- Average Competency Level of the Organization
You should create one of these charts for every department at your organization and a master one that looks at the total number of positions.
For example, you can have one that goes over all of the positions in the marketing department and then one that goes over everything in sales. This helps you paint a more accurate picture of how each department is doing so that you can make changes that align with your business goals.
At the same time, you can create a general, overall chart that shows how the totality of the workforce is doing, too, which is vital to your upper management teams.
Track Your Goals With a Workforce Planning Template in Excel
After you have all of this data, you will need to also keep track of what your business needs are. We recommend breaking this down into two categories, critical issues and strategies/objectives.
For the critical issues chart, keep it simple, allowing you input notes and comments. Basically, you just need two columns:
For example, you may see that your PR team has a competency level of 4. However, you need them to be at a 5. You can list the issue and then the solution, allowing you to easily keep track of what immediate, necessary goals are.
In another chart, you can outline your full plan for the future. This chart can outline things like this:
- Standards of Performance
- Plan Steps
- Employees Involved
In each one of these columns, you can outline what you want to accomplish and what you need to actually achieve those goals. This can range from something simple, like offering new training initiatives, to something more organizationally-related. For example, you could have a goal to retain talent across X many months. This would include creating incentives, projects, goals, and developments plans across the board. You then need to outline the steps, a timeline, and who the plan impacts.
When all is said and done, this Excel-based workforce planning template can help you keep track of what talent you have and how that talent is helping you achieve your business goals.
One note, though: make sure you are always checking back in with this plan. Workforce planning isn’t something you can just do one time and then forget about. It requires continuous check-ins so that you can remain on track and plan properly for the future.
Using a Workforce Planning Template in Excel: The Recap
In summary, your workforce planning template Excel sheet should cover profiles of your employees that outline their skills, where their development is headed, what promotions they may receive, etc.
From there, use that data to examine what changes you need to make to your workforce to make sure that you are covered for the short and long term.
After you have explored all of these details, list out out your business goals and make a plan of action to get your workforce aligned with them.
Want to use out workforce planning guide in Excel? Check it out below.