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Workforce Planning For HRM: Do’s & Don’ts

Workforce planning lies at the heart of Human Resource Management (HRM), serving as a compass that guides an organization toward its goals.

Understanding your organization’s overarching objectives is paramount. Align your workforce plan with these strategic goals, ensuring that every hire, training initiative, and staffing decision supports the company’s vision.

Foster a data-driven culture within HRM. Gather comprehensive data on your current workforce, skill sets, and future needs. This information empowers you to make informed decisions and anticipate staffing requirements.

Workforce planning in HRM requires a strategic, data-driven, and inclusive approach. By adhering to these do’s and avoiding these don’ts, HR professionals can play a pivotal role in guiding their organizations toward growth and success in an ever-changing landscape.

Workforce Planning: What Actually Do’s

Effective workforce planning is a vital aspect of Human Resource Management (HRM) that involves several key “do’s” to ensure an organization’s success. Here’s a breakdown of what you should do when engaging in workforce planning:

  1. Align with Organizational Strategy: Understand your organization’s strategic objectives and ensure your workforce plan is in sync with these goals. Your plan should support the company’s mission and vision.
  2. Analyze Current Workforce: Gather data about your current workforce, including skills, qualifications, and performance. This analysis provides the foundation for identifying gaps and making informed decisions.
  3. Forecast Future Needs: Anticipate the skills and talent your organization will require in the future. This involves considering factors like growth projections, technological advancements, and industry trends.
  4. Identify Skill Gaps: Determine where your workforce lacks the necessary skills to meet future demands. This may involve conducting a skill gap analysis to pinpoint areas that require improvement.
  5. Develop a Recruitment Strategy: Once you’ve identified skill gaps, create a recruitment plan that outlines how you’ll attract and hire the right talent. Consider both internal promotions and external hires.
  6. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Prioritize diversity in your workforce planning. Ensure that your recruitment efforts are inclusive, promoting a diverse workforce that reflects the community and market you serve.
  7. Implement Training and Development Programs: Invest in training and development initiatives to upskill existing employees and fill skill gaps. Tailor these programs to address specific needs within your workforce.
  8. Succession Planning: Identify high-potential employees and develop a succession plan for key roles. This ensures a smooth transition when key personnel depart or are promoted.

By following these “do’s” in workforce planning, HR professionals can help their organizations build a capable and adaptable workforce that is well-prepared to meet both current and future challenges.

Workforce Planning: What We Don’ts

To achieve effective workforce planning, it’s essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls and things you should avoid. Here are some “don’ts” in the context of workforce planning:

  1. Don’t Neglect Strategic Alignment: Avoid creating a workforce plan that is disconnected from your organization’s strategic goals and objectives. A plan that doesn’t align with the bigger picture can lead to wasted resources and misalignment.
  2. Don’t Skip Data Analysis: Don’t make decisions based solely on intuition or assumptions. Neglecting data analysis can result in ineffective hiring, training, and development strategies. Always rely on data to inform your decisions.
  3. Don’t Overlook Skill Gaps: Ignoring skill gaps within your current workforce can hinder your organization’s growth. Failing to address these gaps can lead to decreased productivity and competitiveness.
  4. Don’t Ignore Changing Demographics: Be mindful of the demographics of your workforce, including age, gender, and diversity. Neglecting demographic shifts can lead to workforce imbalances and potential legal issues.
  5. Don’t Rely Solely on External Hiring: While external recruitment is necessary at times, don’t overlook the potential talent within your organization. Promoting from within can boost morale and reduce recruitment costs.
  6. Don’t Be Inflexible: Avoid creating a rigid workforce plan that cannot adapt to changing market conditions, economic fluctuations, or unexpected challenges. Flexibility is key to long-term success.
  7. Don’t Overcomplicate: Keep your workforce plan as simple as possible while still addressing the essential elements. An overly complex plan can be challenging to implement and monitor effectively.

By being mindful of these “don’ts” in workforce planning, HR professionals can steer clear of common pitfalls and create a more effective and adaptable plan that contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Useful Resources of Workforce Planning

Workforce planning is a critical aspect of human resource management, and there are various useful resources available to help HR professionals develop and implement effective workforce plans. Here are some valuable resources:

  1. SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management): SHRM offers a wealth of resources, including articles, webinars, templates, and research reports, on workforce planning and related HR topics.
  2. Government Labor Statistics: Websites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provide valuable labor market data, including employment trends, salary information, and demographic statistics, which can inform your workforce planning efforts.
  3. HR Software and Tools: Many HR software solutions offer workforce planning modules that assist in data analysis, forecasting, and scenario modeling. Popular platforms like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, and Oracle HCM Cloud include workforce planning features.
  4. Academic Journals: Academic journals in the fields of HRM, organizational psychology, and labor economics publish research papers and studies on workforce planning topics. Access to these journals can provide in-depth insights and data-driven strategies.
  5. Industry Associations: Industry-specific associations often provide workforce planning resources tailored to their sectors. For example, the Healthcare Workforce Institute offers workforce planning resources for healthcare professionals.
  6. Books: There are numerous books written by HR experts and scholars that delve into workforce planning concepts, strategies, and case studies. A well-regarded book in this field is “Effective Workforce Planning” by John Sullivan.

Remember that the availability and relevance of these resources may vary by location and industry. HR professionals should tailor their approach to workforce planning based on their organization’s specific needs and goals while leveraging these resources to stay informed and effective in their roles.


Workforce planning is a critical function within Human Resource Management (HRM) that plays a pivotal role in an organization’s success. By aligning workforce strategies with the organization’s overarching goals and employing a data-driven, flexible, and inclusive approach, HR professionals can ensure that their workforce is equipped to meet current and future challenges.

To navigate the intricacies of workforce planning, HR professionals can tap into a wealth of valuable resources, including industry associations, academic journals, HR software, and consulting firms. Staying informed and leveraging these resources allows HR teams to make informed decisions and drive their organizations forward.

Effective workforce planning remains instrumental in building a capable and resilient workforce, making it an indispensable tool for HR professionals in the pursuit of organizational growth and excellence.