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Develop a Workforce Plan to Address Talent Needs

Implement a clear and straightforward workforce planning process aligned with organizational capabilities.

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  • Brian Chupp, Continuing Term Lecturer, Purdue University Krannert School of Management
  • Andrew Courtois, Senior Workforce Strategy and Analytics Master
  • Jeffrey Green, Director, Talent Acquisition, J.D. Irving, Limited
  • Bobby Guhathakurta, Manager, Resourcing & Talent Marketing, Deloitte Canada
  • Gemma Jones, HR Manager, Spinal Life Australia
  • Stephanie Keough, Budgeting, Vale Canada Ltd.
  • Maria Lovi, Global Talent Lead, Business for Social Responsibility
  • Andrew Mayo, Professor of Human Capital Management, Middlesex University
  • Carlene McCubbin, Director, Organization and Leadership Advisory, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Nina Nazarshoeva, Director of People Services, International Operations, Canadian Red Cross
  • Martin Oest, Director of Workforce Planning, Simply Get Results
  • Cristina Vieira, Superintendent, Workforce Planning & HR Systems, Vale Canada Ltd.
  • Jackson White, Manager, Talent Management, Devon Energy
  • Tien Yancy, Workforce Management Research Analyst II, The California Public Employees' Retirement System

Your Challenge

  • Organizations struggle to implement workforce planning. McLean & Company has found that only 40% of HR departments can adequately anticipate talent needs and only 26% of HR departments are high performing in workforce planning.
  • This leads to missed opportunities associated with proactive workforce planning such as increased bottom line growth, workforce productivity, and workforce engagement (EY, 2014).

Our Advice

Critical Insight

The process for workforce planning is achievable for all organizations regardless of their maturity. Target the level most aligned with your organization’s resources and capability, then work to progress to more advanced stages as capabilities are developed.

Impact and Result

  • Implement a clear and straightforward workforce planning process aligned with organizational capabilities and maturity to make workforce planning achievable and impactful.
  • Focus on conversations about talent and where the organization is going rather than on getting workforce projections exactly right to anticipate change without getting caught up in, and overwhelmed by, complicated numerical analysis.

Research & Tools

1. Prepare to conduct workforce planning

Identify pain points, define scope, cadence, and timeline for workforce planning activities, and describe desired outcomes.

2. Identify critical talent needs

Evaluate internal and external factors, define competencies, and select roles for workforce analysis and planning.

3. Identify talent gaps

Identify supply and demand talent gaps.

4. Create an action plan

Develop an action plan to address talent gaps and communicate the plan to relevant stakeholders.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Prepare to conduct workforce planning

Call #1 - Identify who should be part of workforce planning and how to communicate with them to gain buy-in and participation.
Call #2 - Define the scope, cadence, and timeline for workforce planning and clarify employees and contingent workers in the organization.
Call #3 - Determine where baseline data required for workforce planning is stored and how to get it.

Guided Implementation #2 - Identify critical talent needs

Call #1 - Define key competencies to execute on business strategies and translate them into roles in the organization.
Call #2 - Evaluate roles and select the ones workforce analysis and planning should focus on.

Guided Implementation #3 - Identify talent gaps

Call #1 - Create a demand- and supply-side model to project workforce needs forward.
Call #2 - Build multiple workforce scenarios to examine different possibilities and more accurately make predictions.

Guided Implementation #4 - Create an action plan

Call #1 - Prioritize talent gaps and determine the correct actions required to close them.
Call #2 - Determine communication messages, plan how the workforce planning process will be reviewed and renewed.

Workforce Planning

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Course Information

  • Title: Workforce Planning
  • Number of Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Create a workforce planning process that is aligned with organizational needs and capabilities.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the general benefits of workforce planning and the specific needs it can address within their organization.
  • Describe the basic requirements that must be in place for strategic workforce planning to be successful.
  • Facilitate a discussion that leads to identification of future talent demand in their organization
  • Describe the different options available to fill talent gaps or surpluses and when they are most appropriate.
HRPA Certification Pre-Approved Logo

1 CPD hour per course.

SHRM Certification Logo

Each course is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CP℠ or SHRM-SCP℠.

HRCI Institute Recognized Provider Logo

The use of this seal confirms that this activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.

Course Modules

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Module 1

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Module 2

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Module 3

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Module 4

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Analyze Workforce Needs

The Purpose

  • Learn the purpose of a workforce plan that supports organizational strategy.
  • Analyze current workforce landscape.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Use McLean & Company’s framework to build an effective workforce plan.
  • Understand how workforce trends impact the current and future workforces.




Identify pain points and desired project outcomes.

  • Defined objectives that will have true bearing on the workforce plan.

Review organizational strategy documents.

  • Workforce planning alignment with organizational strategy.

Conduct a PESTLE analysis.


Conduct a SWOT analysis.

  • Conducted PESTLE and SWOT analyses.

Module 2: Identify Critical Roles for Workforce Planning

The Purpose

Outline competencies and identify critical roles.

Key Benefits Achieved

A clear picture of the type of talent needed to execute the organizational strategy.




Review existing competencies.


Develop new key competencies.


Select a list of key competencies.

  • Key competencies defined.

Explore the relationship between key competencies and current roles.


Identify critical roles.


Choose roles to include in workforce plan.

  • Critical roles to focus workforce planning efforts on.

Module 3: Create Talent Supply and Demand Forecasts

The Purpose

Create projections to design a workforce plan that allows for organizational growth.

Key Benefits Achieved

Identify where talent gaps are likely to impede strategy execution.




Construct workforce scenarios.

  • Planned scenarios for optimal business operation.

Project demand for critical roles.

  • Business demand for critical roles determined.

Construct internal supply projections.

  • Internal supply for critical roles evaluated.

Module 4: Create Action Plan to Address Critical Gaps

The Purpose

Build a workforce plan that will enable the organization to meet its strategic business objectives.

Key Benefits Achieved

Create a clear roadmap to meet the talent requirements for the organization.




Review internal supply projections.

  • Projections of internal talent resources.

Prioritize supply/demand gaps.

  • Talent gaps prioritized.

Determine build/buy/borrow/redeploy for each prioritized gap.

  • Sources for talent gaps determined.

Develop an action plan.

  • Workforce Planning Management Summary
  • Workforce Planning Workbook