Simply put, workforce planning is about having the right people in the right roles at the right times to meet the strategic objectives of the business.

A focus of workforce planning is in understanding and preparing for changes in your business environment (eg. COVID) which could impact on your workforce needs or in this case labour supply.

Key steps in workforce planning include:

  • Defining your strategic direction, priorities and goals
    • Production goals
    • Financial goals
    • Business goals
  • Gathering and analysing your workforce data and modelling your current workforce
    • Hours of labour required for full production (Full Time Equivalent)
    • Existing staff, skills; Additional staff/skills required
    • Employment status:  Permanent, Casual, LHP, SWP
    • Staff turnover
  • Assessing future workforce needs and scan the environment to project supply
    • Identify challenges to labour supply early – scan the environment
    • Think about strategies to address shortages of workers or specific skills
  • Identifying gaps and gap-closing strategies
    • How many, what kind of workers are needed, for how long
    • Local supply of workers, local job providers
    • Labour Hire
    • Harvest Trail, Harvest Trail Offices
    • Seasonal worker program (need to seek approved Employer status months prior to need)
  • Implementing strategies
    • You may need to use a variety of strategies when workers are scarce – eg  local displaced workers, Uni/senior school students (gap year), Migrant groups as well as the usual channels
  • Evaluating strategies
    • Determine what works and what doesn’t
    • Focus on the strategies that work, and organised early

You don’t have to have a complete plan to start with – you need to be reactive and well as proactive, especially in these times, where workers are predicted to be scarce over the summer harvest.  Work with your local providers, the Harvest Trail services, and your industry body to identify practical solutions.