Strategic workforce planning is a process that ensures that your business has the right people in the right jobs at the right time to achieve your expected results. This discipline helps organisations understand their current state, forecast talent gaps, and take the necessary steps to close those gaps. It is a core business process that is often handled by HR, but it is so important to the success of an organisation that its leaders should approach strategic workforce planning proactively and take ownership of it.

We’ve all heard the saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” The traditional strategic planning process often focuses heavily on large capital expenditures, technology, and marketing investments. But that traditional process focuses too little on the organisation and the human resources necessary for sound execution.

It is almost as if the business takes for granted that it already has people with the necessary capabilities. The truth is that it can take several months, if not years, to get the right people into the right jobs, which can seriously hinder the execution of even the most well-thought out strategy.

We polled our experts and asked them to define a simple, straightforward strategic workforce management process. They outlined the following six steps:

  • Establish where your business is going
  • Understand where the labour market is going
  • Understand your future talent demands
  • Assess your current talent inventory
  • Identify your talent gaps and strategies to close them
  • Implement your strategies