Strategic workforce planning in today’s world is becoming increasingly challenging by the day. The events of 2020 threw a major spanner in the works for companies around the world. As a result, businesses have realized the importance of workforce planning in an organization and many have had to reevaluate their workforce planning both domestically and globally.

Add diversity and inclusion to the mix, remote working, hybrid workforces, along with changes to worker classification and worker engagement on a global level and it’s easy to see why workforce planning needs to be an integral part of every business’ overall planning to guarantee its success. Further changes with the adoption of technology and recruitment processes, along with required upskilling of existing and new workers of the future makes it very clear why workforce planning has become so important.  Whatever the size of the company, workforce planning is a critical element to any company’s success.


Firstly, let’s take a look at what workforce planning is.

Workforce planning can be described as the process of enabling an organization to have access to the resources and workers it needs to perform effectively, both now and in the future. Strategic workplace planning involves identifying the current and desired future state of the business and taking appropriate measures to reach the desired outcome within that industry with cost-effective methods. A company’s workforce is the backbone of their organization and often organizations will tackle their problems via their employees, so workforce planning includes recruitment and retention of these workers.

Essentially, good workforce planning will evaluate a company’s workforce of today and strive to eliminate any gaps between the human capital requirements of the future, in alignment with the business goals.


The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has developed a five-step workforce planning model that serves as a useful starting point for understanding the elements involved in workforce planning.

  1. Set strategic direction
  2. Analyze workforce, identify skills gaps and conduct workforce analysis
  3. Develop an action plan
  4. Implement action plan
  5. Monitor, evaluate and revise

Proper workforce planning when implemented, gives a company a competitive edge and strengthens its position, due to the training and development of its workers. But training and development must also be specific to each person and type of worker in the organization. They must meet the particular needs necessary to achieve the goal of the company.


Despite the importance of workforce planning, many companies still struggle to create and implement strategic workforce planning.

When done properly, a good workforce planning model will set a company up for success, ensuring that its workforce of today is aligned with its human capital needs of tomorrow.  It enables a company to react and adapt to certain market changes.

The benefits of workforce planning include:

  • Having a clear and concise strategic workforce direction for the company
  • Ensure all workforce requirements are directly aligned with the company’s business plans
  • Enable the best decisions in terms of how to structure the organization and deployment of the workforce
  • Identify and implement skills gap reduction strategies where gaps exist between competencies the workforce currently possesses and future state requirements
  • Identify and overcome internal and external barriers to accomplishing strategic workforce goals.
  • Streamlined access to talent, enabling more accurate forecasting and reduced over spending.

Workforce planning and development of personnel, in turn, is a crucial element of a company’s overall strategy, and strives to meet the objectives and goals at the lowest cost. There are several stages of success in training. First of all, the training and development of personnel lead to the achievement of the goal. Secondly it is a means of increasing the value of resources or labor and ensures the full readiness of personnel to perform the tasks assigned to them. As a worker’s skill level increases, employee development is elevated, and the personnel embrace new approaches, knowledge, skills. Thus, the organization moves forward, becomes successful and competitive.


The importance of workforce development planning is integral. The organization will not develop without staff training and development. In turn, training should be of a high quality, ensuring the continued growth and expansion of the company. In today’s rapidly changing world, a company’s workforce must be constantly trained or retrained to go with new technologies, be able to serve, and make sure that the goal is achieved with the help of modern principles, methods, technologies, procedures aimed at the success and prosperity of the company.

Kathryn Hopkins

Originally from New Zealand, Kathryn joined CXC in 2012, where she worked with the New Zealand and Australia offices, before moving to the United States in 2014, where she now resides in Los Angeles. Having a background in sales and marketing in a range of industries, including the recruitment and tech sectors and working for top brands including Microsoft, Sony, Qantas and Deutche Bank gives her a well-rounded approach to business and understanding of the successes and intricacies at all levels. Kathryn now heads up marketing for CXC in North America and has been key in developing CXC’s online presence and brand awareness, focusing on contingent workforce, gig economy, workforce trends, future of work and global compliance.