Skip to main content

What Is Workforce Planning?

Workforce Planning is the process businesses go through to establish what people and skills they need, and will need in the future, in order to determine the right talent strategy for today. 

The plan defines who, and how, and when, employees should be hired, upskilled or redeployed, as well as how and when this happens, and how these employees should work, based on the needs of the organization.  

Once a company has a business plan, and some idea of how they will achieve it, the workforce plan constitutes the “people” side. There will also be plans for technology, for processes, for operations and offices; there will be financial plans and marketing strategies. 

But as leaders start to realize that every business challenge is essentially a talent challenge, creating better workforce plans is becoming a top priority

The demise of Workforce Planning 💀

The current approach to Workforce Planning – generally a static, manual, arduous endeavor – is no longer fit for purpose. It doesn’t give organizations the agility they need around talent, and the plan goes out of date too quickly.  

A good workforce plan requires deep, relevant, contextual insights about the skills you have and need… which is where most companies fall short. They don’t have a clear picture of what they have today, far less the skills they might need in the future. 

They also frequently see talent as a fixed asset, overlooking the amazing potential of people to learn and grow – and the fact that skills can be redeployed in different parts of the business. 

In other words, they need data that is more useful – insights about skills, rather than previous experience – and they need that data in real time.  

In our research, Navigating The Changing Talent Landscape, less than 60% of the business leaders we surveyed think their businesses understand what skills they may need in the future (56%) “to a great extent”. 

A new approach to Workforce Planning 🌟

You can now have dynamic, AI-driven Workforce Planning that gives managers continuous insights around how best to develop their team’s skill portfolio, when to hire, and when to source internally, upskill workers, or create a short-term project.

This real-time intelligence can be provided to managers in the flow of work, inside platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams, making it easier and faster for them to make the right talent decisions.

Working with real-time Skills Intelligence gives organizations a connected and useful way of allocating people to ‘jobs to be done’. 

The power of Skills Intelligence 💡

Skills Intelligence is what powers agile, real-time Workforce Planning. First you need a clear skills taxonomy, defining skills consistently across roles. Then you need to bring all your skills data together, from across various systems, and keep it up to date as people learn new things. 

Thanks to advances in technology, talent data can now be gathered, enriched and understood quickly – and kept up to date automatically. 

Using explainable AI and a knowledge graph can help connect data from multiple sources and maintain skills information. This unified database – a standardized, enriched, and context-rich skills database – means integrating supply and demand insights (the skills you have and the skills you need). It should also include insights around market trends and competitors, to help you make better talent decisions in real time.  

The benefits of real-time Workforce Planning 🕰️

When they understand employee skills and competencies at any given moment, organizations are able to quickly identify areas where they already have the necessary skills to seize new opportunities or address emerging challenges. 

Moreover, if they bring all their talent data together and enrich it with AI, they can fish from a wider pool – and meet their goals faster, with the ideal skills fit. 

A workforce plan can provide your organization with a continuous competitive advantage – but a new approach is sorely needed. Better Skills Intelligence can enable smarter, real-time Workforce Planning. Is your organization ready to embrace it? 

Learn more about a more effective and efficient approach to workforce planning.