At this time of the year, after returning from a well deserved Christmas break, having eaten all the mince pies, drank all the champagne and enjoyed the time with our families, many people look at the year gone and take part in the age-old tradition of setting their New Years’ resolutions.

It is also at this time of the year that organisations set their workforce plans, both short operational plans for the coming year, as well as re-evaluating their long term strategic plans.

Here are some suggestions for organisations to set their New Year Workforce Planning Resolutions:

1. Look to the Future

Resolve to “horizon scan” to future proof your workforce by anticipating changes in the business environment e.g. new competitors, changes to legislation, new social and digital trends etc. which might impact on workforce requirements. Organisations should aim to not only look backwards and at existing data within an organisation but should widen their horizons when planning for talent. Use futuring techniques to question established paradigms and explore alternative futures not necessarily based on current approach.

2. Treat Your Workforce as you do your Customers

Resolve to approach the challenge of planning for future workforce as well as the already existing talent within your organisation in the same way as treating an external client engagement – using sophisticated marketing segmentation strategies, employee listening tools such as ‘listening posts’ or the ‘flower’ described in Mira Magecha’s blog in July last year. We have all heard about B2C and B2B but the concept of B2E – Business to Employee is still a fairly new concept that very much links to strategic workforce planning process.

3. Use Information Wisely

 Resolve not to gather data just for the sake of it, but aim to convert it into meaningful information using workforce analytics tools. Today, organisations have a much more sophisticated set of tools available to help them analyse both quantitative as well as qualitative workforce data transforming it into insights about their workforce that an executive or a HR manager can easily understand and use to gain the organisation’s strategic goals and ultimately market advantage.

4. Let Change Be Your Friend

Resolve not to let the constant change and speed at which today’s business world is operating be a hindrance to performing a workforce planning activity in your organisation in the first place. Many organisations make the mistake of not creating a workforce plan, citing ‘fast staff turnover, fast technology advancements, skills becoming obsolete as soon as they’re developed’ as key reasons not to even bother. However having a robust but agile and flexible  workforce plan in place will help organisations tackle these problems and often transform them into an advantage.

5. And Above All Be Strategic

Resolve to develop an overarching workforce plan which will help to achieve  the business’ strategy. One of the key aims of workforce planning activity should be producing an actual plan that covers key areas in an organisation influenced by workforce and is directly correlated with an organisation’s strategic goals.


 Despite the continued economic downturn, organisations are starting to realise that planning for the future of their workforce must become at least as important as planning for their financial or market future in order to not only survive but be ready for the upturn; when it finally comes!

Happy New Year and Successful Planning!