Strategic Workforce Planning: What & Why?
Strategic Workforce Planning: What & Why?

Broadly, organizations have thousands of reasons to pursue Strategic Workforce Planning, especially in the current ever-changing business context. It provides management with a strategic tool on the basis of making human-related decisions, addressing a high-performing organization model. 

Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) reconciles the fine line in designing, implementing, and controlling HR practices in the cohesive alignment to business strategies, aimed at reducing in advance perceived gaps between the actual needs and the resources of companies, both quantitative (staff) and qualitatively (knowledge, skills & abilities). It is the forward-looking approach in managing tasks, skills, and competencies of organizations through the rational planning of what is required and is available. 
As a management instrument, SWP is the combination of two HRM planning conceptions – (a) forecasting employment management, and (b) anticipated KSA management. Indeed, SWP considerably involves individual experience and interpretations of HR practitioners in anticipating and preventing management practices of workforce limited by the circle of externalities in the environment and strategic choices of each organization at the time.

HR practitioners are always thinking about options that could improve the effectiveness of workforce management, but it is only by saying no that they can concentrate on the gap analysis and action planning to create integrated practices that are important for a high-impact workforce planning model. In general, we could think about some critical steps, such as strategic thinking, forecasting workforce needs, HR availability forecast, gap analysis, and planning of HR actions with both quantitative differences (hiring, internal recruitment, reduction) and qualitative references (restructuring, reconversion, redeployment, training & development). Consider too, to generalize the ‘why’ question in concern about the essence of SWP, it begins with the focus into core competency highlighting future demands for growth required upfront and determining the balance of current-future supply within the organization.

Now that SWP is getting popular across corporations by its driving ability and strategic contribution to acquire talents and business outcomes in the sustainable development model, HR starts engaging in it. So, the biggest question is how HR practitioners can extract and apply SWP’s benefits into the unique contexts of their organizations? In this sense of thought, further consideration would focus on three folds – (1) effective skill assessment and its association with SWP; (2) competency mapping with demands in current and future states; and (3) process for its development.

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