GovLoop Guide to Workforce Planning: Being Prepared for Changes to the Workforce

This is the third post in a series of blog posts and podcasts talking through the recent GovLoop Guide to Workforce Planning. Be sure to take a listen to the podcast below and view the guide. You can find more HR resources by visiting the GovLoop Guide to Workforce Planning Homepage.





To craft a well-defined workforce strategy, agencies must identify who is currently in their workforce and how the workforce will change. At first, this seems like an easy process, but depending on the size of the agency, and various kinds of partnerships, taking a comprehensive look at your workforce is more challenging than at first glance.

A great starting point to understand the workforce is to pinpoint the right data. Collecting the proper data is critical to the success of any workforce plan. The data is especially important, as it will help to identify current workforce needs, and allow agencies to anticipate future workforce changes.

Some basic starting points for data collection are to collect the following information:

• Previous strategic plans
• Mission and vision statements
• Budget reports and financial statements
• Organizational long/short term goals
• Any previous organizational studies
• Organizational charts
• Staffing plans
• Retirement data
• Employees eligible for retirement

In larger organizations and agencies, it will be critical to identify the scope of the data and needs for the agency. For most agencies, once the key information has been identified, agencies can start to move into collecting new critical data to understand their workforce.

After all this great data has been collected, agencies can start the planning process and fill in the gaps of the workforce. Priorities can be set, which are matched with organizational goals, to help close gaps in the workforce. The GovLoop Guide to Workforce Planning in the Public Sector provides some tips to get you started in this process. I’ve provided them below:

  • What skills are currently vital to the accomplishment of the agency’s goals and objectives?
  • What are the functions outlined in current employees’ job descriptions? Are they accurate?
  • How much time does it take them to perform each task?
  • Can the tasks be streamlined or eliminated?
  • How do you keep knowledge of how to accomplish these tasks from being lost?
  • How is the agency addressing skill imbalances due to attrition, including retirement, over the next five years?
  • Should we explore training, retraining, relocation, or recruiting options for filling competency gaps?
  • What retention strategies are in place and what are the associated costs?
  • Can skills be obtained through sharing of resources?
  • Would it be cost-effective to use contractors, outsource or use volunteers?Could we implement career development programs?[1]

Be sure to check out the guide and listen to the podcast above to learn more about workforce planning, and preparing your workforce. If you are using the guide at your agency, or would like more information – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]com. The GovLoop team would love to hear some stories how you are using this resource, and learn some lessons from your workforce planning strategy.

How is your agency becoming prepared for expected changes to the workforce? What kind of data do you collect and how are you closing the gaps?

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[1] Excerpts from the Department of the Interior – Follow Here

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