7 Examples of Workforce Planning In Different Industries

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Workforce planning refers to forecasting workforce requirements to ensure a business has the employees and skills to transform with a developing industry. As an industry evolves, businesses may require extra, unique or more skilled employees to maintain competitiveness. Reviewing workforce planning examples can help you understand the importance of identifying workforce requirements. In this article, we provide seven detailed examples of workforce planning that can help you identify the components and procedures involved.

7 examples of workforce planning

There are examples of workforce planning in almost every industry. Most businesses can benefit from understanding their needs for the immediate or far future. There are many reasons a business plans its workforce. Industries and markets typically develop over time, which can require workforce changes to maintain competitiveness. Internal and operational changes can also require workforce planning. As an operation expands, the business might require extra employees to support the expansion. Below, you can explore seven examples of workforce planning:

1. Recruiting new employees

Workforce planning often eventuates in the recruitment of employees to a workforce. There are many reasons a business might hire more employees. It might require more labour or highly skilled individuals to close a talent gap in its workforce. Effective workforce planning typically helps a business identify its goals. The procedures involved in a workforce plan usually aim to achieve those goals. Recruitment is often one of those procedures, depending on the business's goals and operation.

Example: Steel Works is a manufacturing company that produces steel products for civil, commercial and residential construction projects. It analyses its current sales metrics and identifies its number of customers may double over the next two years. It realises it doesn't have the current workforce to increase production to match the potential increase in production output requirements. This performance forecast outlines the need for additional employees in its production teams.

Steel Works develops a workforce plan that identifies how many extra employees it may require to increase its production output. Steel Works determines the need for a 20% larger workforce through its planning process. It reassesses its recruitment goals and begins recruiting additional employees. Over two years, Steel Works expands its workforce by 20%, which allows them to meet the demand of its broader customer base.

Related: Guide to The Most Effective Recruitment Strategies

2. Developing leadership positions

Leadership is usually an important aspect of a business's workforce. Effective leadership typically helps improve productivity, implement new policies, foster healthy environments and ensure efficient processes. It's also typically a crucial element of change readiness. As a business's operation changes, the change process can benefit extensively from effective leadership. A workforce plan usually identifies the business's current leadership capabilities, outlining the potential requirement for leadership development.

Example: Finance Solutions is a personal finance company that advises and develops financial strategies to help its clients achieve their financial goals. It analyses its human resource (HR) metrics and discovers its employee engagement is decreasing steadily. It forecasts only 20% of its current workforce might remain within three years. Finance Solutions recognises the requirement for workplace change to improve employee relations and increase retention rates. It develops new policies but requires improved leadership to ensure the policies achieve their goals.

Finance Solutions develops a workforce plan that includes training and development procedures for its current leadership positions. Management and senior management personnel complete leadership development programs, improving their leadership qualities. Finance Solutions' employees now trust and respect their leadership figures, which enhances the workplace environment. Finance Solution experiences an increase in its forecasted retention rates because its workforce planning improved its leadership capabilities.

Related: What Does Leadership Mean? (Benefits and Steps to Improve)

3. Expanding operations

When an organisation expands its operation, it usually requires workforce restructuring. Some operational expansions involve new processes, procedures, policies, teams and departments. Depending on the type of expansion, the organisation may require more employees, enhance leadership and have a more skilled workforce. Workforce planning typically forecasts the changes to an organisation that helps to ensure an expansion is viable and successful.

Example: Marketing Essentials is a marketing company that provides clients with marketing services, including search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media management. It wants to expand its operation to include graphic design as part of its service package. Marketing Essentials identifies the procedures required to expand into graphic design through its workforce planning and change readiness assessments.

Marketing Essentials determines it requires a new department. It identifies the need for more employees and specialised leadership. Marketing Essentials' workforce plan involves procedures to recruit talented graphic designers and an experienced design manager. It also identifies the resources required to operate by forecasting its workforce requirements. Marketing Essentials purchases new equipment and a software package that integrates each department's software into a centralised system for efficient management.

Related: What Does an Operations Manager Do? (And How to Become One)

4. Establishing career paths

Career pathways might refer to linear transitions between professional roles that develop employees' skills and industry knowledge. Organisations may establish career pathways within their workforce structure, as it can improve the viability of internal recruitment. A career pathway is like succession planning, in that an organisation fosters the growth of employees to provide them with more responsibilities.

Example: Civil Solutions is an engineering firm that creates, develops and manages civil engineering projects for private and government clients. It recently forecasted an increase in demand for its services over 10 years. Civil Solutions understand it doesn't have the current workforce capabilities to sustain increased projects. It develops a workforce plan that provides its employees with career pathways to project management positions.

Civil Solutions implement a career pathway program that fosters the development of junior engineers. The opportunities for career advancement increase productivity and retention rates. After several years, Civil Solutions has a skilled workforce and more project engineers, allowing it to accept extra contracts.

Related: How to Choose the Right Career Path

5. Optimising work processes

A part of workforce planning may be to optimise current operational processes and procedures. This optimisation usually includes the improved efficiency of a process, which decreases costs while increasing output. There are several methods to optimise processes, which can vary depending on operations and workforce capabilities. Providing employees with more resources, improving training programs or recruiting more employees can be common methods to optimise processes.

Example: Textile Industries is a large corporation that manufactures and supplies varying textile goods to global markets. It has several operations, from manufacturing to transportation. As Textile Industries grows, it requires more employees to maintain operational effectiveness. It conducts workforce planning and discovers its recruitment process requires optimisation to meet the recruitment demands of the corporation.

Textile industries confirm it needs more recruiters and specialised technology to improve the hiring process. It implements an applicant tracking system (ATS) that automates many recruitment procedures. Textile Industries can now review more candidates efficiently, decreasing recruitment costs and minimising job vacancy periods.

Related: Recruitment Process Steps: What Is Involved?

6. Sustaining competitiveness

Innovative ideas, products and processes may cause markets and industries to evolve. An organisation usually requires changes to its workforce to maintain its competitiveness in the industry. Effective workforce planning can usually forecast the skill and credential requirements an organisation might need in the future.

Example: Construction Plus is a company that develops and manages commercial construction projects. An innovative construction material enters the market, which reduces the time and cost of completing commercial projects. Construction Plus conducts a market forecast that suggests most of its competitors may use this material within 10 years. It develops a workforce plan and identifies its workforce requirements to utilise the innovative material.

Construction Plus determines its workforce requires specialised training and development programs. These programs ensure its construction teams and managers understand how to use the innovative material. After 10 years, Construction Plus is still a competitive company because its workforce changed with the evolving industry.

Related: Situational Analysis: What Is It and How Do I Do It?

7. Maintaining compliance

As industries develop, legislations and regulations may change. As these legalities evolve, an organisation typically requires changes to maintain compliance. Depending on the changes in legislation, an organisation might require new training and development or to recruit specialist employees. Workforce planning typically outlines these requirements.

Example: Western Minerals is a resource extraction company that mines iron ore in remote regions. By analysing industry trends, it forecasts the increased importance of health and safety personnel for large mine sites. Western Minerals expect its current operation may soon expand, requiring more health and safety employees.

Western Minerals' workforce planning process involves recruitment procedures to ensure its workforce has the necessary health and safety personnel. As its operation increases in scope, its legal obligations for health and safety capabilities change. Western Minerals' recruitment procedure ensures it maintains compliance as the company grows.

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