1 Workforce planning


1 Workforce planning

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1 Workforce planning

It all starts with a plan.

Workforce planning is about aligning the workforce you need with the services you deliver now and into the future.  It is about making sure the right person is in the right job.  It’s as simple as that. And given that this matching thing does not happen instantaneously – that the skills we need to do the job take many years to accumulate, we actually do need to plan well ahead.

That is why we get stuck with the people that aren’t working well.  It is because someone was reacting to a vacancy, trying to fill a gap without fully understanding what the gap really was and exactly what type of person was best suited to fill that gap.

So, the 5 key steps in workforce planning are these.

1. Know what services you deliver

  • Do you have a service plan for the organisation?
  • What services does your unit deliver, and how much this change over the next 3 to 5 years?

2. Design your ideal workforce

  • What are the skills/qualification needed to deliver it – now and in 3 to 5 years time?
  • How many people are needed to run it?
  • What is the actual and required EFT (Equivalent Full time)?
  • What are the characteristics of this workforce (3:3:3 skill mix)
  • Is it stable, old, high stress, workforce shortages
  • Succession planning (Here’s a tip – you need 2 people to fill in for you so prepare them to step up)

3. Know who you’ve got in your team

  • Know your people really well – know their strengths – what they are ideally set up to do
  • Employment profile
  • Skill profile
  • Grade profile
  • Length of tenure and intention to stay
  • Turnover – what’s your turnover?
  • What are they costing you

4. Identify the gaps

  • Can the current workforce deliver the services planned in the next 3 to 5 years (or even now?)
  • Where are the gaps?

5. What strategies are needed to fill the gaps

  • Can you develop the people you have?
  • Do you need to slow down turnover?
  • Do you need new roles?
  • Do you need to recruit new people with different skill sets?
  • Develop a range of strategies that will address the current and expected gaps.


  • Download the template and prepare your own workforce plan for your unit – type over the examples in the template and remove any information that is not relevant to your work context.
  • Check out the SSA’s Workforce Planning Guidelines in the downloads.

SSA Workforce Toolkit 008738494
Workforce planning template
Workforce Planning Example 13.11.2015


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