Developing and Implementing Workforce Plans

Developing and Implementing Workforce Plans

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Workforce Plans

Workforce planning: getting ‘the right number of people with the right skills, experiences and competencies in the right jobs at the right time’. A comprehensive process that provides managers with a framework for making staffing decisions based on an organisations corporate objectives, strategic plan, budgetary resources, and a set of desired workforce skills.  

Enables decisions to be taken about how to achieve the required workforce as and when it is needed.

These decisions form the basis of the workforce plans.

Workforce pans: details of how the business will implement its HR management policies

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Components of a workforce plan

·         A skills audit of the current workforce to identify the qualities and abilities of existing employees.

·         Data about labour turnover, wage rates, trend analysis of workforce demographics such as the level of entrants into the market, statistical forecasts about the impact of economic migrants.

·         Market research data and sales forecast which will indicate the number of employees needed. Can be combined with technological developments, the quality of workers requires and their productivity can be estimated

·         EU directives and government initiatives relation to working conditions and practises.

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From this the plan can be made. The main components are:

·         Recruitment and selection requirements

·         Training and development programmes

·         Retraining and redeployment programmes

·         Redundancy plans


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Benefits of workforce plans

·      Provide strategic basis for HRM decisions and facilitating solutions to current and future workforce issues. Allows managers to anticipate change and be proactive

·      Plan replacements and changes in workforce skill levels by focusing on demographics and retirement forecasts.

·      Identify skills needed in the present and the future, and select and develop that workforce

·      Identify ways in which technology may change the skills required, address this through recruitment, training and retraining

·      Facilitate the introduction of flexible working arrangements. Training employees to be multi skilled helps to create job enlargement and therefore improves motivation. Creating a better work life balance for employees can ensure high calibre staff are retained

·      Efficient use of current and future employees will help to reduce costs in the long term. 

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Internal Influences on Workforce Plans

Corporate objectives- A growth objective could mean that direct labour recruitment is increased; Earning higher returns for shareholders might be achieved by delayering, causing an increase in managerial redundancies

Production objectives- Introducing TQM would involve training in team working; Introduction of new technology could lead to new skill requirements or loss of low skilled jobs


Marketing objectives-New markets overseas could lead to redeployment and the recruitment of a local sales force; Introduction of innovative new goods and services to the product portfolio would have implications for retraining.


Finance- Many organisations are unwilling to pay for training and development costs associated with soft HR management; Redundancy proposals may prove to be too expensive even for large organisations.

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External Influences on Workforce Plans

·         The market and trends in buyer behaviour

·         New technology

·         Competition

·         Labour market trends

·         Trade unions

·         Uk government legislation and EU directives. 

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Implementation Issues; Cost

Cost implications for any workforce plan

Positive effects

Longer term view of business performance

Short term costs for long term gains

Future labour costs should be reduced through the implementation of comprehensive workforce plans

Negative effects

Role of HR is sometimes still seen as peripheral to strategic decision making – may bring opposition from budget holders in marketing and operations,

Also difficult to measure the success of workforce plans which may take several years to be fully implemented. 

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The value of workforce plans

If the planning process is carried out effectively, can play a significant part in the achievement of corporate objectives

Enable managers to be more effective and for strategic objectives across the organisation to be achieved.

Without clear plans, firm will always be reacting to change which is disruptive and ultimately expensive. 

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