Without effective workforce planning, your business might lack the trained resources it needs to succeed. By establishing clear objectives and linking them to your strategic plan, you can anticipate the need to recruit and hire new personnel at peak periods or reduce staffing if you don't require the resources. Additionally, workforce planning forces you to analyze your business on a regular basis and make adjustments so your operations are more effective.


Defining quantifiable business objectives involves identifying what you want to achieve within a certain time frame. Using this technique in business planning allows you to measure the results at the end of that time frame to validate that your business functions effectively and to make adjustments if not. If you don't create realistic objectives for hiring and maintaining your workforce, you might end up with either too many or too few employees.

Defining Needs

To ensure your company achieves its strategic goals, strive to have the right number and type of personnel in place to complete job tasks. Defining job roles and responsibilities includes listing job functions, minimum education and experience requirements to complete job tasks, abilities required and specialized duties or constraints, such as travel. You also should identify the pay rate. To define interdependencies, you can create a responsibility matrix that indicates responsible, accountable, consulting and informational roles on a project-by-project basis.

Managing Costs

Your goal in workforce planning mainly involves identifying the appropriate staffing levels to meet your business needs at the lowest possible cost. This may include hiring temporary workers to fulfill seasonal needs or unexpected volume. It also may involve training your employees to perform more than one job. Cross-training your staff helps you adjust to changing demands. To reduce your number of employees, you might also reclassify lower-priority positions as contingent or outsource specialized work. This allows you to sustain a more flexible workforce.

Setting Standards

A comprehensive workforce plan usually describes job levels, such as entry, expert and master. Establishing standards set expectations for worker performance. By defining job levels, you establish a career path for each type of role. This helps employees develop professionally and usually leads to employee satisfaction. It also establishes a succession pipeline by making sure you have trained personnel available to take over job tasks when more experienced people retire or take on different jobs. To maintain an effective workforce, ensure that you have the best mix of skills, knowledge and expertise that you can afford for both the short and long term. For example, hiring entry-level employees typically supports your growing business with lower-cost employees.

Maintaining Competitive Advantage

To attract the top talent, your workforce planning strategy must define innovative and creative strategies for locating, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, orienting and training the workforce. By allocating your resources effectively, you can meet your strategic goals. If employees need additional credentials to stay abreast of changes in technology, reserve a budget and time to accomplish this objective. Workforce analysis and planning allows you to align your compensation and benefits with industry expectations. By using online workforce planning and scheduling tools, you can generate reports that help you accomplish your goals.