Although 92% of companies have some level of workforce planning, only 21% of companies take a strategic, long-term approach.
Source: Bersin and Associate
Strategic Workforce Planning is the business process for ensuring that an organization has suitable access to talent (potential candidates that have the ability to undertake required activities including decisions making) to ensure future business success. Access to talent includes considering all potential resources (employment, contracting out, partnerships, changing business activities to modify the types of talent required, etc.). The cycle of workforce planning includes filling resource requests, analyzing resource utilization, forecasting capacity, managing and identifying the resources (human) to fill that capacity, and then restarting the cycle.
Strategic Workforce Planning is the framework applied for Workforce Planning and Workforce Development, where the links between corporate and strategic objectives and their associated workforce implications are demonstrated. Strategic Workforce Planning takes into account the projected loss of knowledge through employee exits and the projected knowledge requirements for sustaining and progressing the business. Knowledge requirements may include technology, new skills, new roles, documentation of key workforce intelligence or new business demands.
Operational Workforce Planning is initially processed based and focused on building understanding and capabilities in Workforce Planning, supported by simple tools, templates and techniques. Once established and practiced, these tools, templates and techniques can become more sophisticated and link to existing or new IT systems to enable Workforce Planning to be integrated into normal business practice.
One of the more restrictive and potentially dangerous assumptions is that Strategic Planning is only about talent in the form of employees. Hiring is a strategy for accessing talent and will often be the superior one. However, the use of employees to meet talent needs carries with it unique risks that can be mitigated using alternative access sourcing arrangements.
The Strategic Workforce Planning process is linked with the organization's strategy. It's important to identify the talent needs that could adversely impact business success. Once the business risks are recognized attention turns to schedule and timing, where organizations assess current internal capabilities. Implementation and execution are the final steps that follow.