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How Strategic Workforce Planning Can Ensure an Organization’s Survival in a Digital Future

79 percent of CEOs are apprehensive about the impact of skill scarcity on their company’s innovation, cost, quality, and growth. As Covid-19 continues to alter work and worker paradigms, the epidemic has further compounded the problem. According to a recent McKinsey survey, 35% of worldwide CEOs believe businesses will require more personnel — proficient in automation, AI, and robots in the future, reflecting the increased deployment of automation during COVID-19. Furthermore, 70% stated they intend to use more temporary labor and contractors in two years than they did before the COVID-19 crisis in workforce planning.

Organizations are turning to skills-based workforce planning to solve this skills problem. Most businesses want to develop a skills-based workforce planning methodology. However, only a few people are doing so actively. So, how can workforce planning be used to assist businesses in acquiring the skills they require to succeed in the digital age? Let’s have a look.

How Strategic Workforce Planning Can Ensure an Organization’s Survival in a Digital Future

Connecting people and purpose

What is our objective, and what will it take to achieve it? Establishing a meaningful connection between the workforce and the company’s core purpose is an essential concern for any organization. This means acknowledging that an organization’s employees, or its workforce, are the execution vehicle for that goal. The most exemplary leaders understand that the workforce is not an afterthought that will appear with the appropriate expertise and capacity where and when it is required. And, by the way, what we’re talking about is usually the highest cost and, without a doubt, the most valuable asset for businesses, so it’s only natural to do so.

Understanding the questions to answer is critical for businesses as they embark on this journey. In truth, most organizations are unable to grasp the principles. For example, if you ask a company if they have a vision of the workforce they require today (size, skills, and shape), 70-80% will say no. When you ask them if they have a vision of the workforce needed in three or five years, the number of “no’s” practically doubles! Despite this, almost every CEO recognizes that their firm will look different in five years! Yes, leaders recognize that change is on the way. However, they have no way of knowing what this implies for their company or their employees.

Strategic workforce planning (SWP)

As a result, Strategic Workforce Planning (or Strategic Workforce Planning) is the best strategy to close this dangerous gap. It’s all about figuring out the goal, strategy, and how to translate that into workforce implications. It establishes an inherent relationship between people and purpose, linking the workforce with its value chain and activity drivers. It captures the changing elements that matter and the day-to-day BAU (business as usual) changes. Leaders are counting on the competencies and skills of their employees to deliver their transformation, digitalization, and growth objectives.

Strategic Workforce Planning, at its core, is a discussion starter. Talking about Strategic Workforce Planning is an important discussion because we are transforming HR from a process-driven function to a strategic and transformative leadership team member. This is about comprehending the strategy, change factors, competitive advantage, and so on and what it means for the organization’s employees.

“What keeps you up at night?” — you could inquire of your leaders. It’s unlikely to be the hiring process or a remuneration review unless they’re talking about their income. The majority of C-Suite executives are increasingly concerned about having the necessary skills in place to deliver. But it should be a two-way street, where HR uses the responses to return value, insights, and business impact, which is what Strategic Workforce Planning is all about!

Strategic workforce planning and COVID

Even before Covid, organizations were already dealing with a great deal of change. Digitization, transformation, globalization, demographic shifts, and so on are all factors to consider. Covid, on the other hand, has compressed the pain points for everyone while intensifying many of these potent forces. Skills shortages that looked a long way off in the future are now a reality. The talent market is sweltering, especially in specific worker groups. The intricacy of these forces is only increasing.

Leaders must be able to negotiate these influences to succeed. How else will they model the future than with Strategic Workforce Planning to make the best Buy Build Borrow decisions, limit execution risk, and secure the company’s survival? Remote working, customer proximity, health and safety, productivity changes, technology adoption, and process changes are all factors to consider.

To summarise, extensive scenario planning is required for organizations to grasp all of these dynamics and understand the implications at a macro level and for every workforce segment. This is something that the SWP method efficiently accomplishes.

How can does strategic workforce planning ensure a company’s survival in the post-COVID digital era?

The failure of near-term agility has been a highlight throughout this time. Many businesses have emerged from 2020 with the realization that they did not make the greatest options possible. Certain short-term reactive moves didn’t set them up well and limited their capacity to deliver now, perhaps jeopardizing their longer-term trajectory.

Blanket cost-cutting or personnel reductions may have resulted in the loss of skillsets crucial to the organization’s transformation ambitions. Customers were underserved or lost because of hiring freezes. Employee engagement, culture, and productivity were hampered by unclear and inconsistent messaging.

Organizations must use forward-looking projections and scenario planning to add coherence and intention to their decisions to move away from knee-jerk reactivity. This is possible, thanks to Strategic Workforce Planning.


Performing Strategic Workforce Planning and translating corporate learning goals into necessary skills provides this crucial insight into what is required. Finally, the future is one in which businesses recognize that their workforce is not a separate entity, but rather that the organization is its people and that their people are the organization. There is an intuitive understanding that the firm will not achieve its goals without its employees. Without people, that purpose is merely a notion. As a result, linking people to their purpose through Strategic Workforce Planning is the way of the future.

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