Workforce planning has emerged as one of the core functionalities of human resource management in the recent years. It is defined as the requirements and priorities of an organization in relation to that of the workforce and ensuring that both aspects meet the legislative, regulatory, service and production needs in accordance with the business objectives. Workforce planning is the building block of the evidence based workforce development strategies. It is a strategic approach towards structured identification and analysis of the organizational needs in relation to the workforce size, type, professional experience, knowledge and skill sets. It plays a key role in generating business intelligence of the organization in terms of present, transition and future impact of internal and external trends on the company. It is mainly categorized in to two segments. The strategic workforce planning is related to the business outcomes and needs and is aimed at implications related to workforce and present and transitional business strategic objectives. It also includes scenario planning and the duration of this process is usually three to four years forecast period. The operational workforce planning is the combination of systems and processes that are utilized for collecting, analysis and reporting of workforce planning strategy. It is aligned with the business planning cycle time frame and usually extends over 12 to 18 months. The steps involved in workforce planning procedure are as follows

Step 1 – Defining the organization’s strategic direction is the initial initiative of workforce planning. This can be performed by maintaining practices related to strategic planning and management. A well structured strategic plan clearly defines the mission and goals of the company which depicts the aspirations with a right approach.

Step 2 – The next stage is to analyze the internal and external environmental conditions in relation to the geographical, technological, social, political and economic conditions of the surroundings. The current labor market conditions, industry trends, employment statistics and such like form the element of external environment. The internal environment elements include workforce trends, efficiency of HR transactions and such like.

Step 3 – Understanding the existing workforce composition and its characteristics forms another important stage of workforce planning. During this phase the workforce is generally segmented in to permanent employees, supplemental direct hire employees and contractual labor. This stage is crucial towards formulating the gap closing strategies in an effective manner.

Step 4 – Based on the previous analysis, it is very essential to assess the future needs in the employee mix as well as availability of the professionals in the upcoming years for a particular technology segment.

Step 5 – Identifying the loopholes in the existing workforce in terms of shortage in skill set and other knowledge driven areas is essential. Based on this observation, gap closing strategies are structured.

Step 6 – Implementation of the gap closing strategies is the next in line action pointer in workforce planning. It requires intensive time, attention and resources for this initiative.

Step 7 – The last but not the least step of workforce planning is the evaluation of gap closing strategies to measure the effectiveness of the initiative.

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