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The essence of workforce planning for a high-performing organization


Hi folks and welcome to the month of November, a month nearer to Christmas. Our topic for the month of November is Strategic Workforce Planning. I hope you had an exciting time last month with the topic of Talent Acquisition and Management. Many times, organizations have to know how many people and what sort of people they need to meet present and future business requirements. This is what workforce planning is all

about.


The purpose of this chapter is to describe how workforce planning functions, bearing in mind that it is not as straightforward as it was presented when the notion of ‘manpower planning’ became popular in the 1960s and 70s. Workforce planning, or human resource planning as it used to be called, maybe well established in the HRM vocabulary but it does not seem to be embedded as a key HR activity. This chapter starts with a definition of workforce planning and continues with a discussion of its aims and the issues involved, including its link with business planning.


In our current talent-based economy, the labour force is arguably the most important tangible asset of most organizations. Despite its relevance, this forte is often not strategically planned, measured, or heightened. This presupposes that many organizations are not sufficiently aware of the current or future workforce gaps that will limit the implementation of business strategy. While it is difficult to appreciate this apparent gap between intent and implementation, the most noticeable cause is a lack of consistent objectives vis-à-vis the outputs of workforce planning and a lack of steady process by which organizations conduct workforce planning and predictive modelling. Thus, organizations need an approach that changes workforce planning to a domain of working efficiently, where management is conversant with spending their time and energy.


Workforce planning is a core process of human resource management that is shaped by the organizational strategy and ensures the right number of people with the right skills, in the right place at the right time to deliver short and long-term organizational objectives.’ It is the process of assessing current and future staffing needs and allows management to be proactive and plan for any changes in the future size or nature of the workforce.


What might the plan tell you? From the above diagram, we noticed that Strategic workforce planning could tell the organization that:


- There is an immediate need.

- There is a need to reduce the workforce in a specific unit

- Redeployment to needed areas in the future

- Training to acquire or enhance the quality of skill

- A sharper collective eye is needed toward identifying future staffing requirements and possible risks of staffing shortages.

- A streamlined recruitment strategy that accounts for realistic timeframes and costs.


In addition, today, workforce planning covers a wider range of activities such as succession planning, smart working, flexible working, and talent planning, and is not such a numbers game.

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