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Workforce planning

Think more strategically about workforce planning to add significantly to your organization’s productivity

An introduction to workforce planning

How do you know if your business is getting the right people, doing the right things, at the right time, in the right numbers and with the right skills? If you get workforce planning right, the productivity gains can be substantial. 

In a research study with Forrester, we found that to thrive in an ever-shifting landscape, workforce planning must be strategic and continuous, requiring organizations to have visibility on the end-to-end process in house. Doing so enables them to be more adaptive, resilient, and creative. 

What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning is the data-driven process of identifying what an organization is going to need in terms of right workforce skills and capacity with a sound mix of diversity, experience, knowledge, and location of its workforce to achieve its business objectives. In simpler terms, it’s about getting the right number of people with the right skills in the right place at the right time for the right cost and planning for that in both the short and long term. 

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Workforce Planning Process – CIPD UK

Workforce planning and organizational design

Workforce planning is a fluid, ongoing process that tracks and adapts as the organization changes. It is a mix of strategic outlook over the longer term and designing the right structures to ensure  pragmatic fulfilment of  operational needs in terms of talent in the shorter term. 

Operational and strategic workforce planning

At the Strategic workforce planning level you are asking what the workforce implications of the business strategy are. Do you have the capabilities you need and if not how do you get them (with strategies often referred to as build, buy, borrow or bot)? What are the projected supply and demand scenarios over time?

Whereas at the Operational workforce planning level the questions are more focussed around position planning to hit business targets and address  the shorter term gap between talent supply and demand. While organizational design provides the blueprint for how your business will achieve its objectives, and creates the ability to track progress against plan.

Ultimately, workforce planning is about the supply and demand of workers. It’s about knowing the gap between actuals (supply) and target (demand), what’s causing it, and how to do something about it. 

The benefits of workforce planning

Effective workforce planning drives productivity

Our research shows that organizations see this type of planning as one of the main ways to drive productivity. We found that organizations with better planning capability report a productivity growth rate that’s two times higher compared to organizations with below average capability. 

In our experience, effective workforce planning that’s capable of boosting productivity will include the following activities:

  • Planning the deployment of your workforce specifically to deliver strategic business goals
  • Identifying gaps between your current workforce and future needs
  • Modelling the right people with the right skills to appropriate work
  • Managing workforce costs into the future.

workforce planning challenges

What stands in the way of workforce planning?

Lack of alignment

Alignment between Finance, HR and business units is typically poor with the different groups focussed on different metrics that are tracked in different systems and often don’t reconcile.

Delays in recruitment
Lack of influence between groups
Wasted time

Research shows that this leads to delays in recruitment (42%), lack of influence between groups (45%) and wasted time (40%) all of which is counterproductive to the main aims of workforce planning which is to align your workforce with your business goals.  What is needed is a platform that brings the end to end process together and presents information to different stakeholder groups in the way they can best make decisions and measure success. 

Systems and tools

Collecting, organizing, and interpreting data from a wide array of systems and then using basic tools  like spreadsheets for analysis and planning is neither effective or efficient. Not only are there inherent risks with human errors, aligning across regions and data security  but many of these systems like financial planning software or HR information systems (HRIS) were never designed for workforce planning. However, this is beginning to change with two thirds of workforce planning decision makers saying their organizations plan to upgrade their existing implementation of a workforce planning technology that unifies the process end to end. 

57% of business plan to upgrade their existing implementation of a workforce planning technology that unifies the process end to end

Lack of skills

Lack of in house capability in the workforce planning process reflects a heavy historic reliance on external support through consultancies and data analysis expert. However, as ever-shifting markets drive shorter planning cycles and the evolution of specialist workforce planning there is now a clear trend to develop this capability in house. The result is better internal alignment across HR and finance but also the ability to respond more quickly to changing markets.

Infographic: continuous workforce planning

The infographic summarizes the key findings of a Forrester Consulting Study: Continuous Workforce Planning Navigates Future Uncertainty.

  • Continuous workforce planning drives business outcomes
  • Addressing the challenges of continuous workforce planning
  • The problems with data and processes

How to navigate future uncertainty with workforce planning

Watch on-demand this 45-minute virtual debate with leading experts in workforce planning from Orgvue, Forrester and M&T Bank. Based on key findings from the recently commissioned Forrester Consulting Study, our speakers share their insights on the need to align HR and Finance, and with a rapidly shifting work landscape, current approaches do not work.

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Workforce Planning Forrester Consulting Study 2022

Continuous Workforce Planning Navigates Future Uncertainty – a 2022 Forrester Consulting Study commissioned by Orgvue into the state of workforce planning. Learn from 209 workforce planning decision makers at large, complex North American, United Kingdom and Ireland (UKI) enterprises who are exploring the challenges and developing workforce planning capabilities in their organizations.

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How Orgvue helps

The Orgvue platform allows you to get workforce planning right – modelling future scenarios, identifying personnel gaps, assigning the right people to the right roles and tasks and so much more. Make your workforce planning projects successful with Orgvue. 

You’ll be able to : 

  • Understand how your organization looks today 
  • See what the future workforce looks like from both a supply and demand perspective 
  • Manage the gap through organizational modelling and building a workforce plan 
  • Analyse and monitor progress against the plan, targets and budget line 
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Model your workforce – a screenshot from Orgvue
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Solution brief

Read the solution brief to learn how Orgvue can help you to align your workforce to your organization’s goals with continuous workforce planning.

  • Common challenges to overcome with continuous workforce planning
  • 4 steps to continuous workforce planning
  • A SaaS platform that changes everything
  • A customer case study

Design your business of tomorrow, today

Discover what Orgvue can do for your organization first-hand, request your free demo.