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Workforce planning: Are you seeing the big picture? (PART 1)

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The New Year is always a good time for organisations to plan, develop plans and develop practical strategies to achieve personal and organisational goals.  

Your HR plans should be linked to the broader strategic plan of the organisation and the business plans and the short, medium and long-term goals outlined.

HR Planning involves the key questions:

  • What are the skills and capabilities I need to support and lead the organisation in the short, medium and long term future?
  • What is the organisational structure that we need to meet our business goals in the short, medium and long term future?

Getting the right people into the right positions at the right time is far easier said than done!  

The best people managers understand this and know it doesn’t happen by accident. It is a deliberate strategy and requires careful thought and consideration.

Increasing competition among companies to recruit and retain the best ‘talent’, rapid technological growth (often outpacing the skill sets and training of existing workers), reduced operating budgets and constant pressures to increase efficiency are all factors that need to be addressed.

Additionally, Australia’s ageing population, and retiring baby boomers in particular, are depleting many organisations of some of their most experienced and knowledgeable employees, often before succession plans (if they are in place at all) are ripe for fruition.

Workforce planning represents a major challenge for HR so I have decided to devote my next two blogs to workforce planning.

In this article (Part 1), I’d like to outline some helpful points to consider when planning your HR requirements and in the next one (Part 2), I’ll discuss some strategies you can use to create the right staffing mix for your organisation.

I hope these suggestions will help you to respond more confidently to changes in your workplace operating environment throughout the year and stay on track to meet and exceed!  your professional goals for 2016.

Where are you headed?

Usually, the most constructive place to start is by conducting an ‘environmental scan’.

To do this, consider the following questions:

  • What external factors are occurring in your industry or sector that could potentially impact on your organisation and therefore your team? (eg new or emerging competitors entering the market, technological changes, economic growth/downturn, the age profile of your workforce, potential legislative changes that may impact on your business)
  • Where can you readily source the most credible data on industry or sector trends to make informed decisions about the staffing mix you need?
  • Are there any current legislative or political issues that may be relevant? (eg expected changes to funding models, training requirements for staff, new taxes likely to come into effect in 2016)
  • Do you need to adapt the types of services and products you provide to meet the changing needs of your customer base?
  • Are you intending to expand, reduce and/or restructure your workforce?
  • What organisational structure would work best?
  • What are the key skills your organisation needs? (including technical, operational management and people management skills)
  • Do you have enough people with those skills? What are the time frames to acquire those skills?
  • Can you grow those skills internally (ie through staff development, succession planning) or do you need to recruit them in? What are the timeframes involved?
  • What internal information do you need to source? ( eg demographics, retirements, predicted staff turnover, succession plans, planned absences, staff surveys)

Taking some time to consider your external and internal environments and taking stock of your internal resources will help you to embrace 2016 with the calm self-confidence of an experienced driver, well- prepared for all conditions and ready to enjoy the journey.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation, please contact us.

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