Workforce Planning

What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning is a formalized system for identifying current and future staffing needs to ensure the company can meet its goals. Also called labor forecasting, workforce planning outlines human capital solutions for several possible scenarios.

Once a business identifies the needs, it creates a roadmap for executing. As business conditions change, the organization modifies the plan as needed.

What are the goals of workforce planning?

  1. Ensure the org has the right talent, in the right roles, at the right time
  2. Develop employees to take over leadership roles as they are needed (succession planning)
  3. Keep high performing team members at the business
  4. Ensure the labor force can meet unforeseen challenges
  5. Enable the team to capitalize on new opportunities when they arise

Why don’t more small businesses do workforce planning?

A small business owner or HR director has a wide range of responsibilities which often take priority over labor forecasting. Nevertheless, workforce planning is just as important for small companies. They face the same hiring and retention challenges as larger companies.

How does the lack of workforce planning harm a small business?

When leaders manage staffing reactively, rather than proactively, it leads to productivity gaps and lowered morale. In roles that require training, reactionary hiring can leave positions unfilled for weeks or months. Initial problems compound over time, stifling growth and innovation.

See also


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