What strategic workforce planning is

Strategic workforce planning is a process to:

  • align your workforce to future business needs
  • determine what you need to do to create, access and mobilise the workforce you need.

You can use strategic workforce planning to:

  • consider any changes that may impact your business area
  • define the future workforce required to deliver on your strategic objectives
  • develop a plan to prepare your workforce for the future.

Other types of workforce planning

There are other types of workforce planning such as:

  • tactical workforce planning – which focuses on things such as rostering and servicing seasonal and peak demands
  • operational workforce planning – which focuses on the workforce required now to do the work of today.

We have designed this toolkit to support strategic workforce planning in your organisation.

Parts of it may also be helpful in operational and tactical workforce planning as well as other people initiatives.

Strategic workforce planning in the Victorian Public Service

In the Victorian Public Service, we take a 3-to-5-year view of your workforce needs including the:

  • skills – or capabilities required for the future
  • size – of the future workforce
  • site – or location of the future workforce
  • shape – or structure of the future workforce
  • source – of the skills or roles.

What strategic workforce planning complements

Strategic workforce planning complements and can inform people initiatives and existing processes such as:

  • capability development planning
  • employee engagement
  • workforce reporting
  • workforce scheduling
  • succession planning
  • talent attraction strategies
  • learning and development offerings.

Strategic workforce planning stages

Discover stage

In the discover stage, you’ll:

  • explore possible changes that may impact your business area
  • create scenarios to help you consider the way you’ll work in the future and what work looks like for your business area.

Some questions you’ll answer are:

  • What has driven change in the past?
  • What trends are we seeing that could impact our future world?
  • What changes will impact the way we work in the future?
  • What are some of the future scenarios that may impact our organisation?
  • What could work look like in the future for our organisation?

Design stage

In the design stage, you’ll:

  • identify what you may need to do to respond to future changes
  • consider the skills, source, shape, size and site of your organisation’s future workforce.

Some questions you’ll answer are:

  • What are the capabilities and roles we need in the future?
  • How will we source the workforce we need?
  • What structure would work best for our team?
  • What workforce capacity do we need for the future?
  • Where will we be located?

Build stage

In the build stage, you’ll:

  • come up with a plan to create the workforce you require
  • consider where your workforce is now, where you want it to be in the future and how you’ll get there.

Some questions you’ll answer are:

  • What is the gap between our existing and desired workforce?
  • What actions do we need to take to get the workforce required in the future?
  • How can we adapt our plans to ongoing changes?

Key outputs

We’ve designed this process so at the end of it you’ll have 3 key outputs:

  1. a set of scenarios your organisation may face in the next 3 to 5 years that you’ll need to prepare for
  2. your first action steps towards your workforce goals for the next 12 months that you’ll review every 6 weeks
  3. a 3-to-5-year plan that you’ll review in line with your business planning cycle.