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HR can help deliver better business performance in the long term through workforce planning

Workforce planning should be a core process of HR in order to help build sustainable organisation performance, according to a new CIPD guide.

The report, Workforce Planning: Right People, Right Time, Right Skills, demonstrates how organisations can deliver the business plan through its people.

The CIPD's Resourcing and Talent Planning survey, which will be released in full released next week, shows most organisations carry out workforce planning for the next one to two years (41%), with a fifth planning less than one year in advance (20%). Responding to these concerns, the guide urges organisations to look beyond short-term budgetary planning to the longer-term needs of the organisation for sustained performance.

The guide, based on in-depth interviews with organisations of varying sizes in the public and private sector, calls on HR to be a credible business partner through being part of the strategic planning process. It also establishes the role HR can play in helping to manage risk in organisations by using tools such as scenario planning.

Angela Baron, engagement adviser at the CIPD, said: "Workforce planning provides the basis for better decision-making to meet the future needs of the business in terms of its people resource. While some organisations have these processes in place, for many there is still a 'knowing-doing' gap when it comes to workforce planning. This is a shame as it presents an important opportunity for HR to ‘raise the bar' and ensure they are involved in strategic-level planning.

"While there should be a focus on the long term, it's important that workforce plans are ‘living' documents and are not set in stone. They need to be constantly reviewed and refreshed to ensure that the organisation can be agile and responsive to the demands of the changing business environment."