Strategic Workforce Planning

Translate business strategy into workforce strategy

Increased risk drives demand for investment in workforce planning

Today’s environment of rapid change and uncertainty increases pressure on HR to ensure the organization has the required talent to support changing business priorities. Strategic workforce planning sets HR up to identify talent needs associated with the organization’s future goals and establish a strategy to ensure the organization has the right mix of talent, technologies and employment models to reach these goals.

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Win the talent war with strategic workforce planning and labor market data.

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    Gartner TalentNeuron helps with both strategic and operational workforce planning. TalentNeuron figured out a way to synthesize over 60,000 data points that you can pull, leverage and then present to your senior leadership.

    Director of Workforce Intelligence, Defense & Space Organization

    Strategic workforce planning begins with business strategy

    The first step in building an effective workforce plan is understanding the organization's business strategy and goals. HR leaders should partner with business leaders to understand strategic objectives and build a business case for the investment in a strategic workforce plan. Tip: Business leaders are under tremendous pressure to hit short-term targets and focus on immediate staffing needs. HR leaders should leverage data to illustrate how strategic workforce planning can mitigate those pressures and set leaders up for future success.

    67% of users surveyed rate their organization's HR function as not effective at using data in workforce planning, while 33% rate their organization's HR function as effective.

    Insights you can use

    Gartner offers insights, advice and tools, like Gartner TalentNeuron, that help HR practice effective workforce planning, thinking ahead to address tomorrow's talent and business needs today.

    Sources of Workforce Planning Intelligence

    To develop a successful workforce planning strategy, organizations must gather intelligence to understand business strategy, identify talent risks associated with successfully executing that strategy and develop a plan to address those risks. In this Gartner research, we detail 13 internal and external labor market sources HR can leverage during the workforce planning process.

    Build a Business Case for Workforce Planning

    Based on extensive research on strategic workforce planning, this Gartner presentation template is designed to help HR leaders build a business case for workforce planning. The template includes guidance on building a proposal, explaining the importance of workforce planning and how to address potential challenges.

    How to Leverage Data for More Influential Workforce Planning

    Effectively use data in workforce planning to ensure business leaders consider talent implications when making strategic business decisions. Data will help identify future needs and communicate the top talent risks to executing business objectives.

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    How do we support your future workforce strategy?

    Ram Vadivelu, Senior Director, Talent and Workforce Analysis, Qualcomm, shares how Gartner TalentNeuron helped his team accurately identify emerging skills to solidify their talent strategy and how they rely on TalentNeuron's robust analytics and tools to support strategic planning and drive decisions.

    Gartner topic experts

    Gartner’s HR experts include more than 170 people worldwide. Meet a few of our leaders.

    Emily Rose McRae
    Director

    Scott Engler
    VP, Advisory

    Workforce planning questions Gartner can help answer

    In strategic workforce planning, HR evaluates workforce supply and demand, assesses skill gaps and determines what talent management initiatives are required for the workforce to drive business objectives now and into the future. 

    To successfully implement a future-proof workforce planning model, HR leaders need to gather the right information to inform them of the existing skills gaps in the organization and identify pathways to filling those gaps as the business grows and develops. 

    The workforce planning model is the roadmap of where HR’s hiring practices are currently and where they need to be to develop and acquire the strategic skills needed for the future.

    Organizations rely on workforce planning to map existing and future talent needs. Without strategically analyzing the skills gaps within the business, and projecting what skills will be required as the business evolves, the organization will lack the critical talent and knowledge needed to deliver on strategic goals.

    HR needs to drive the future-proofing of the workforce. If HR fails to fill skills gaps strategically, the workforce will continue to lack the necessary talent to develop and deliver on business strategy. 

    Additionally, HR needs to educate and influence business leaders on the importance of upskilling employees and developing leaders to thrive in the digital workplace.

    Keys to executing a successful workforce plan include:

    1. Collaborate with the business to identify evolving needs: Business and operating models are constantly changing to keep current on what’s needed to drive organizational ambitions:
      • Develop productive partnerships with business leaders and educate yourself about the future of the business. 
      • Integrate workforce planning into business planning so it isn’t a stand-alone process and can’t be easily dismissed by business leaders.
    2. Gather external labor market intelligence: Many workforce plans fail to recognize and account for external information that is critical to strategic success. Without this information, it’s difficult to identify talent risks, so you can’t preempt and plan for them. Gather data on:
      • How key roles are evolving in the industry
      • How talent is flowing in and out of key competitors
      • How specific trends are affected by location 
      • How available diverse talent is in the labor market
    3. Build HR’s ability to use and interpret talent data: Leveraging data isn’t only important for identifying talent; it can help determine the best strategy to close talent gaps. Data can drive your decision to build, buy, retain, outsource or automate. To improve HR’s ability to understand future organizational talent needs and the external labor environment, data skills are vital. 

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