workforce planning

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to workforce management solutions and software

Workforce planning is a set of procedures that an organization can implement to maintain the most efficient employee/management team possible, maximizing profits and ensuring long-term success. Workforce planning falls into two broad categories: operational and strategic.

Operational workforce planning functions on a person-to-person level and streamlines employee-related operations day by day. Examples include:

  • Optimizing work schedules and employee hours
  • Optimizing the distribution of talent among divisions and departments
  • Identifying functional needs and hiring new workers to meet those needs
  • Identifying obsolete functions and reassigning workers as necessary
  • Ensuring the greatest possible overall worker job satisfaction

Strategic workforce planning deals with broad-based issues that evolve over months and years and can encompass all the aspects of an enterprise. Examples include:

  • Forecasting knowledge drain as employees leave the organization
  • Forecasting future talent needs
  • Determining and evaluating likely future sourcing options
  • Implementing an effective workforce analytics strategy
This was last updated in March 2012

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