Wednesday, November 4, 2009



The Office of Human Resources, ASMB, has developed Building Successful Organizations as a workforce planning resource guide for the Department of Health and Human Services. As such, this document provides the HHS Operating Divisions with guidance and information on all aspects of workforce planning.
Most importantly, this guide sets out the Department’s expectations for workforce planning “ the linkages, the key participants, and the outcomes of the workforce planning process. Workforce planning in HHS is based on cooperative efforts involving budget, human resources, and GPRA / strategic planning. These linkages are essential for workforce planning to function as a tool for making strategic human resources decisions.
Because HHS is not a monolithic organization but one made up of individual Operating Divisions with varying related missions, the guide outlines a model for workforce planning that can be adapted to differing organizations. The model provides a means for Operating Divisions to develop a workforce plan that meets their needs and also meets the Department’s expectations. The approach is flexible rather than a rigid process.
Finally, the guide distills considerable research on workforce planning into a single reference document. The steps in the planning process and planning considerations are discussed in some detail to help organizations benefit from the experiences of others, for while organizations vary, problems concentrate in certain parts of the process.
The Office of Human Resources is prepared to provide technical assistance to HHS Offices undertaking workforce planning.

Workforce Planning Components

What is Workforce Planning?

In its simplest terms workforce planning is getting "the right number of people with the right skills, experiences, and competencies in the right jobs at the right time." This shorthand definition covers a comprehensive process that provides managers with a framework for making staffing decisions based on an organization’s mission, strategic plan, budgetary resources, and a set of desired workforce competencies.
Many organizations, both public and private, have developed models for workforce planning. Putting aside variations in terminology, the processes are all very much alike. All rely on an analysis of present workforce competencies; an identification of competencies needed in the future; a comparison of the present workforce to future needs to identify competency gaps and surpluses; the preparation of plans for building the workforce needed in the future; and an evaluation process to assure that the workforce competency model remains valid and that objectives are being met. This process is simple in outline but depends on rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the organization’s work, workforce, and strategic direction.
Workforce planning requires strong management leadership; clearly articulated vision, mission, and strategic objectives; and cooperative supportive efforts of staff in several functional areas. Strategic planning (GPRA), budget, and human resources are key players in workforce planning. GPRA plans set organizational direction and articulate measurable program goals and objectives. The budget process plans for the funding to achieve objectives. Human resources provides tools for identifying competencies needed in the workforce and for recruiting, developing, training, retraining, or placing employees to build the workforce of the future.

Why Do Workforce Planning?

The "why" of workforce planning is grounded in the benefits to managers. Workforce planning provides managers with a strategic basis for making human resource decisions. It allows managers to anticipate change rather than being surprised by events, as well as providing strategic methods for addressing present and anticipated workforce issues.
Some components of workforce planning, such as workforce demographics, retirement projections, and succession planning, are familiar to managers. Workforce planning provides focus to these components, providing more refined information on changes to be anticipated, the competencies that retirements and other uncontrollable actions will take from the workforce, and key positions that may need to be filled. This in turn allows managers to plan replacements and changes in workforce competencies.
Organizational success depends on having the right employees with the right competencies at the right time. Workforce planning provides managers the means of identifying the competencies needed in the workforce · not only in the present but also in the future · and then selecting and developing that workforce.
Public sector management is focusing on performance-based organizations. Achieving measurable program results was the thrust behind Congress’s passage of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 · identifying in measurable terms what government organizations intend to accomplish and basing future budgetary decisions on achieving those goals. This emphasis on performance also shows up the National Partnership for Reinventing Government’s efforts to establish Performance Based Organizations (PBOs) and identifying "front-line organizations" · offices that are performing the government’s key functions. The emphasis on performance based organizations is evident also in the General Accounting Office’s study Major Performance and Management Challenges, which notes: "Only when the right employees are on board and are provided the training, tools, structures, incentives, and accountability to work effectively is organizational success possible.
Finally, workforce planning allows organizations to address systematically issues that are driving workforce change.
One such issue is age and growing retirement eligibility. The HHS workforce is universally aging and is slightly older than the government average. However, age and retirement eligibility in the various Operating Divisions varies greatly. Nearly one-third of the permanent civilian employees of HHS are eligible for either voluntary or early retirement. But the percentages vary by Operating Division from a low of 23 percent to a whopping 72 percent in another. Workforce planning allows organizations to project, at least statistically, retirement rates and to make plans for replacing lost competencies.
In less clear-cut but equally effective ways workforce planning provides managers with tools to address changes in program direction that impact the type of work being performed (and hence the competencies needed) and allows managers to identify ways in which technology may change competencies required in the workforce.
The overall benefits of workforce planning, then, are its ability to make managers and programs more effective.

HHS Expectations

To be useful, a workforce plan must reflect the management and environment of the organization for which it is developed. For that reason, there is no prescribed format for a workforce plan. Instead, the workforce planning process focuses on the basic information needed for the planning process and on the outputs of the process.
A workforce plan must document the workforce analysis, competency assessments, gap analysis, and workforce transition planning that makes up the planning process. These data provide the documentation of the inputs and comprise the basic output of the planning. This information establishes the validity of any workforce plan by demonstrating the links between workforce planning and program management, budget justifications, GPRA goals, and human resources work planning.
Program Management
The primary beneficiary of workforce planning is program managers. Workforce planning provides managers with a strategic basis for human resource management decision-making that is based on achieving program goals. Forecasting models based on analysis of the workforce allow managers to anticipate turnover and to plan recruiting and employee development to move toward the workforce needed in the future. Knowing the competencies in the workforce and knowing the competencies that will be needed provides managers the information needed to make strategic decisions.
In FY 1999 HHS will spend about five percent of its discretionary budget, nearly $2 billion, on personnel compensation. As the Government has achieved its downsizing goals, the emphasis in budgeting has shifted from workforce reduction to workforce management. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) increasingly emphasizes the link between dollars and personnel and asks that agencies accompany staffing requests with documentation that ties these requests to overall staffing goals.
In order to meet this requirement, as well as to present a strong justification to appropriators, the Budget Office has asked HHS Operating Divisions to apply workforce planning methods and techniques in developing staffing requirements. The Budget Office expects that OPDIVs will include the outputs of workforce planning (including their workforce analysis) as supporting documentation in their budget justifications. The goal is to combine budget, program performance, and staffing priorities into a cohesive strategy that is presented in budget justifications. This will optimize the Department’s opportunities for success in the budget process.
The GPRA goals and performance measures of HHS and the Operating Divisions focus on the outcomes and results that HHS and its partners work to achieve through the many health and human service programs administered by the Department. These goals are usually expressed in terms of a program’s impact on its target population or improvements in population characteristics. This has led OPDIVs to establish goals such as the percentage of children who have received immunizations for childhood illnesses and percentage of eligible children enrolled in Head Start Programs. This focus is in line with the intent of the Government Performance and Results Act.
With GPRA plans focusing on results among the populations served, accomplishments in workforce planning do not rise to the level of measurable program goals. However, workforce planning provides the means for achieving these over-arching program goals. Program goals will not be achieved without "the right numbers of the right people in the right place at the right time." Workforce planning is a fundamental tool, critical to quality performance, that will contribute to the achievement of program objectives. As HHS components present and describe the strategies that support the achievement of both long-term and annual program performance goals in the strategic and performance plans, they need to include management activities such as workforce planning as essential components of a broad-based management strategy.
However, we can not achieve program goals and measure accomplishments without addressing the strategic tools that support reaching those goals. Because of the sheer volume of Federal program activities, managers cannot rely solely on the GPRA performance goals as measures to assess program performance. The Department has already adopted this type of internal assessment for financial management, allowing tracking at a level of detail that would not be feasible in GPRA program performance plans. Internal performance goals and measures for workforce planning would provide HHS components with a means to track accomplishments related to this important management strategy.
Human Resources
Human Resources offices are key players in implementing workforce transition plans. Human resources staff can provide program offices and managers with the tools for developing new competencies in the workforce, training employees, recruiting staff with core competencies, performing workforce analysis, and developing succession planning models when needed.
Plans for workforce transition are also input to workload planning for human resources offices, pointing toward activity levels for internal training, movement, reassignment, and recruiting. This allows human resources managers to plan work loads and activities and to provide better service to managers. Making this partnership work requires that human resources offices develop the full range of human resources competencies among their staff, including workforce analysis and strategic planning skills.

Workforce Planning Background

To be useful as a management tool, a workforce plan must have legitimacy. It must be a plan developed by the organization with the participation of managers and staff. Workforce planning in HHS is based on a set of assumptions about how organizations can make the generic process of workforce planning their own and gain this legitimacy.
  • Workforce planning in HHS focuses on outputs from the planning more than on the process itself. OPDIVs are expected to adapt models, strategies, tools and processes to their organizational environment and needs, concentrating on planning outputs that are organizationally meaningful and which support program objectives, budget requests, staffing requests, and strategic plans.

  • Workforce planning is an inclusive process, drawing together program management, budget, strategic planning, human resources, and program staff and working in partnership with unions.

  • Current operating cultures and management practices may resist formal workforce planning. Special care must be taken to address these issues.

  • Training, coaching, technical assistance, and other support will be required as OPDIVs prepare to use / adapt models, strategies, and tools.

  • The capacity to do effective workforce planning will only be developed over time; it is critical to begin carefully and to validate analysis at each step. Large organizations should begin with a subset of the workforce and extend planning through the remainder as skills and experience develop over time.

  • The workforce planning process will maintain links to program, budget, and strategic planning to assure that the products of workforce planning meet program managers’ needs.
HHS History / Experience
In 1996 ASMB contracted with Logistics Management Institute, Inc. (LMI) for a survey of the state of workforce planning in HHS. LMI studied the issues of the availability of workforce data to feed workforce planning, and conducted interviews in all of the Operating Divisions to determine their experience, involvement and preparedness to do workforce planning. Their report indicated that the OPDIVs had at least some of the data needed for workforce planning, and all were generally supportive of the concept. The OPDIVs in general did not have he expertise and staff to undertake extensive workforce planning projects at that time, however (April 1997). Since the time of the LMI study several OPDIVs have begun workforce planning or related efforts, including organizational assessments and succession planning projects.
Impetus for workforce planning has come from the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget (ASMB), who required OPDIVs to include workforce planning information to support staffing requests in their fiscal year 2000 budget submissions. ASMB reinforced this effort by including centrally-developed workforce analysis as part of the budget office’s preparation for the budget review process. The requirement for workforce planning information to support budget requests will continue.
This HHS emphasis on workforce planning reflects a broader concern. A June 1998 letter from the leadership of the House of Representatives to the Office of Management and Budget says in part:
Finally, effective workforce planning is a critical element of effective strategic and operational planning. We note that the [proposals of several agencies] have all been based upon a premise that current federal personnel policies and practices are excessively constraining. However, none of these agencies identified critical human resource needs as part of their plans. These were not even included as factors that might pose obstacles to accomplishing key agency objectives, even though the deficiencies have already been noted in legislative proposals. OMB could play an especially helpful role by ensuring that adequate plans to address human resource management issues are integrated with other elements of the agencies’ strategic and performance plans.
With impetus from both within and outside the Department, several Operating Divisions have already begun workforce planning or related projects.

Workforce Planning Model

HHS Workforce Planning Model

The MODEL OF HHS  is based on the model of workforce planning developed by LMI as well as public and private sector organization models. While the terminology used in different models varies, the content is remarkably consistent. All rely on analyzing the present workforce, identifying organizational objectives and the workforce competencies needed to achieve them, comparing present workforce competencies to those needed in the future, then developing plans to transition from the present workforce to the future workforce.
The model consists of four planning steps “ supply analysis, demand analysis, gap analysis, and solution analysis, plus an ongoing evaluation step.
  • Supply Analysis focuses on identifying organizational competencies, analyzing staff demographics, and identifying employment trends. Competency analysis provides baseline data on the existing organization and present staff. Trend analysis provides both descriptive and forecasting models describing how turnover will affect the workforce in the absence of management action. Trend analysis is essential to the solution analysis phase.

  • Demand Analysis deals with measures of future activities and workloads, and describing the competency set needed by the workforce of the future. Demand analysis must take into account not only workforce changes driven by changing work but also workforce changes driven by changing workload and changing work processes. Technology will continue to have an impact on how work is performed and must be considered in the demand analysis process.

  • Gap analysis is the process of comparing information from the supply analysis and demand analysis to identify the differences “ the "gaps" “ between the current organizational competencies and the competency set needed in the future workforce. The comparison requires the competency sets developed in the supply analysis and demand analysis phases to be comparable “ not independently developed. Gap analysis identifies situations in which the number of personnel or competencies in the current workforce will not meet future needs (demand exceeds supply) and situations in which current workforce personnel or competencies exceed the needs of the future (supply exceeds demand).

  • Solution analysis is the process of developing strategies for closing gaps in competencies and reducing surplus competencies. A variety of strategies are available in solution analysis including planned recruiting, training, re-training, and placing employees. Solution analysis must take into account employment trends which may work either in the favor of or counter to the direction of planned workforce change.

  • Evaluation involves a periodic and systematic review of the workforce plan, reviewing mission and objectives to assure they remain valid and making adjustments as required by changes in mission, objectives, and workforce competencies.

Workforce Demographics and Trends

Workforce demographics and employment data are an integral part of workforce planning. In the supply analysis process demographic data provides "snapshots" of the current workforce. Transaction data can illustrate employment trends.
Workforce demographics “ occupations, grade levels, organizational structure, race/national origin, gender, age, length of service, retirement eligibility, and similar information -- provide necessary baselines. Organizations can develop valuable information on areas such retirement eligibility at a given point in the future by projecting from current workforce demographic data.
Personnel transaction data can be used to identify baselines such as turnover rates and can provide powerful tools for forecasting workforce changes due to actions such as resignations and retirements. While projecting demographic data can provide useful information on issues such as retirement eligibility, trend data can provide powerful predictors of how many employees will actually retire, resign, or transfer. In conjunction with demographic data, transaction data provides managers with a means of forecasting opportunities for workforce change that can be incorporated into the solution analysis phase of the process.
All HHS OPDIV human resources offices either have demographic data on the workforce they serve or can obtain his data. They also have or can obtain data on personnel transactions for trend analysis.
Databases used to develop demographic information or to perform trend analysis may include data covered by the Privacy Act. Managers and personnel offices must take care to prevent the disclosure of private information in these databases.

Skills and Competency Assessment

Competencies are a set of behaviors that encompass skills, knowledge, abilities, and personal attributes that, taken together, are critical to successful work accomplishment. Competencies may be defined organizationally or on an individual basis. Identifying competencies on an organizational basis provides a means for pinpointing the most critical competencies for organizational success. These are an organization’s core competencies.
Individual competencies are the those that each employee brings to his or her function. Individual and team competencies are critical components of organizational competencies. If the individual competencies in the workforce are not in accord with those needed by the organization, workforce planning will point out these gaps.
What is a competency model?
A competency model is a map to display a set of competencies that are aligned with an organization’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. The competency model is future-oriented, describing an ideal workforce. The competencies that make up the model serve as the basis for employee management, since they play a key role in decisions on recruiting, employee development, personal development, and performance management.
A competency model helps to bridge the gap between where an organization is now and where it wants to be in the future. This occurs in two ways. First, the competency model serves as a guide for management in making decisions, since it is based on the competencies that support the mission, vision, and goals of the organization. Second, the competency model serves as a map to guide employees toward achieving the mission of their organization and their functional area. This provides management and staff with a common understanding of the set of competencies and behaviors that are important to the organization. A well-developed and documented competency model will serve as the basis for organizational training and development activities as well as the means for identifying competencies to be sought in new recruits.
How are competencies identified?
Competencies are developed based on information collected by studying what top performers do in the defined job context. Competencies focus on the attributes that separate the high performers from the rest of the workforce. Information can be gathered in a variety of ways, including employee questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews with managers and employees.
Two key elements in identifying competencies are:
  • Workforce skills analysis, a process which describes the skills required to carry out a function. Conducting workforce skills analysis requires the leaders of an organization to anticipate how the nature of the organization’s work will change, and then to identify future human resource requirements. (This process spans the supply analysis and demand analysis aspects of workforce planning.)

  • Job analysis, which collects information describing successful job performance. Job analysis focuses on tasks, responsibilities, knowledge and skill requirements as well as other criteria that contribute to successful job performance. Information obtained from employees in this process is used to identify competencies.

Supply Analysis and Demand Analysis

The key elements in supply analysis have been discussed above: workforce demographics, trends and current workforce competencies. Taken together, this data provides the key definitions of the current workforce in terms of its composition, its organizational (as well as individual) competencies, and the demographic baseline against which change can be planned and measured.
Demand analysis deals with the workforce that will be needed in the future. The workforce of the future is defined by the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the organization. This data should be readily available and codified as part of the organization’s GPRA plan. This material forms the basis for developing the model of the competencies needed in the workforce of the future. The competency model is output from the demand analysis process.
Organizations should make the demand analysis process as inclusive as possible, given the time constraints that inevitably affect the planning process. Employees will have greater understanding and ownership of the competency model if they are involved in the process of identifying the competencies that go into it. In addition, since developing the competency model is a visionary process, organizations should take care to include diverse viewpoints to avoid tunnel vision.
An important part of the demand analysis process is examining not only what work an organization will do in the future, but also how that work will be performed. Computer systems and Internet technology will continue to impact how individuals and organizations carry out their jobs and missions. Organizations can not ignore this impact on their future work and workforce.

Gap analysis and Solution Analysis

Gap analysis is a process of identifying the differences between the workforce of today and the workforce that will be needed in the future. These differences may either reflect competencies that will be needed in the future to a greater extent than they are present in the current workforce, or they may identify competencies that are more abundant in the current workforce than in the future workforce. In either event, organizations must identify the differences and make plans for addressing them.
The means for addressing gaps is through solution analysis. Solution analysis provides the strategic plan for addressing competency gaps and surpluses. Solution analysis must also take into account changes that take place in the workforce on an ongoing, unplanned basis. This is where the trends identified in workforce analysis (as part of the supply analysis) come into play.
What is the most effective option for getting the work done · contractors, flexible workforce, consultants, or permanent workers?The workforce is never static. Demographic data can provide only a snapshot of the workforce at a given point in time. Trend data can quantify changes that take place: retirements, resignations, transfers, etc. The changes these actions produce may run in favor of solution analysis or they may run counter to it.
For example, an organization may project less need in the future for grants management and more need for general financial management. The direction for the competency transition is clear. However, if current staff with general financial management competencies are eligible to retire, the recruitment need for financial management competencies may be greater than it appears. Conversely if staff expected to retire or move are those with grants management backgrounds and those with financial management skills are likely to remain, the workforce transition may require less intervention than would otherwise be expected. Organizations need to factor this type of information into the solution analysis process.
Solution analysis should be conducted in conjunction with the human resources office. Much of the recruiting, training, and re-training that are identified and planned in solution analysis impact on the workload of the human resources office. In addition, the human resources office can provide validation to plans in terms of time frames, resources needed for recruitment, availability of candidates, and potential sources of candidates.

Functional Considerations

Management Leadership and Support
Workforce planning offers a means of systematically aligning organizational and program priorities with the budgetary and human resources needed to accomplish them. By beginning the planning process with identified strategic objectives, managers and their organizations can develop workforce plans that will help them accomplish those objectives. At the same time, these plans provide a sound basis for justifying budget and staffing requests, since there is a clear connection between objectives and the budget and human resources needed to accomplish them.
To be successful, workforce planning requires the commitment and leadership of top management. Senior-level managers must lead the planning process, must assure that workforce plans are aligned with strategic direction, and must hold subordinate managers accountable for carrying out workforce planning and for using its products.
Similarly, program managers must take responsibility for leading the workforce planning process in their program areas and offices. Program managers will gain the most immediate benefits of workforce planning because the competencies of their own staffs will become better aligned with strategic goals and directions.
Workforce planning requires all parties to step away from preconceived notions and to seriously consider change. Workforce planning requires a vision of what is to be accomplished, and what changes may be needed. Participants must be able to discard personal considerations and to perceive the shape of things to come. This need for an objective view, along with the amount and depth of analysis needed, has prompted some organizations to engage contract support for all or part of the workforce planning process.
Do I Need A Contractor?
Using a contractor consultant in carrying out workforce planning is optional, but may be desirable in some cases. An experienced contractor may provide a level of expertise in workforce planning that does not exist in the organization. In addition, a contractor may have a more detached view of issues than an organization’s employees and managers can provide. The combination of experience and an outside viewpoint can provide a legitimacy for workforce planning that is not available to a strictly internal effort.
At the same time, organizations must factor into their plans the cost of hiring a contractor and the time it may take to provide that contractor with the necessary background to the organization. The addition of a contractor to the project will certainly impact on the workload and type of work associated with the project.
Evaluation / Feedback / Adjustments
Earlier we noted that evaluation and adjustments are implicit in workforce planning or any planning process. Managers and project leaders need to build an assessment process in to any workforce transition plan they develop. Managers need not only to consider whether planned workforce changes are taking place, but also to review the assumptions on which the transition plan is based. Strategic direction is influenced both by internal program management and outside factors, such as Congressional action. If an organization does not engage in systematic formal review of its planning it runs the risk of not responding to changes that occur incrementally from within or more suddenly from outside.
Planning Time Frame
Organizations need to consider how far into the future to project when carrying out workforce planning. Managers need to balance the certainty of short-range planning against the need to plan for longer-range objectives. Longer time frames may provide more flexibility in planning workforce transition but also will require regular validation of the analysis of future workforce needs. Shorter time frames run the risks of requiring more drastic workforce transition management and of missing coming changes by not looking far enough into the future. A three to five year time frame for workforce planning generally will provide a reasonable balance between the two extremes.
Planning Levels
What is an appropriate organizational level for developing a workforce plan? There is no single answer to the issue of appropriate planning levels. The most useful guideline in determining planning levels is to make sure that the outputs of workforce planning will relate to organizational or programmatic strategic objectives. This would point to carrying out workforce planning at on program-level basis, or for staff organizations on a functional level basis.
Therefore it does not make sense to conduct workforce planning at the Departmental level in more than the most general terms. Hands-on program management does not reside at the Departmental level (for the most part) and top-level directions will already be reflected in strategic plans. Similarly, it would usually make little sense to conduct full-blown workforce analysis for small sub-units of an organization.
The strongest influence on workforce planning from the Departmental level lies in the human resources policy arena. One example of a Departmental-level policy impacting workforce planning is the Secretary’s commitment to achieving staff reductions without reductions-in-force. Another example of a Departmental level effort in workforce planning might be leading a cross-OPDIV effort at employee relocation in the event an OPDIV faced reductions that could not be achieved through attrition.
Workforce planning in HHS is based on providing OPDIVs the flexibility to adapt planning models and tools to their own organization. This includes the flexibility to determine planning levels that make managerial sense and that support strategic plans objectives. Common sense can be applied here. Detailed subordinate-level workforce plans in an organization of 125 employees make as little sense as having only an OPDIV-level workforce plan for the National Institutes of Health. The size of an organization, how it is organized, how programs are managed and budgeted all will impact on determining workforce planning levels.
Analyzing the Whole Workforce
The concept of workforce analysis is one which needs to be fully understood in order to appreciate the importance of sound analysis in the workforce planning process. Workforce analysis frequently stops with the consideration of demographic information: occupations, grade levels, skills and experience, age, retirement eligibility, diversity, turnover rates, etc. This information is valid workforce analysis and necessary to documenting the present workforce. There is, however, much more that should go into workforce analysis besides this sort of "snapshot" information.
Trend data is extremely important to workforce analysis. Is the turnover rate changing over time? Are there identifiable factors influencing turnover? What types of positions have been filled recently? These and other factors have a direct bearing on the development of workforce transition strategies, since they help predict the rate of change that can be expected regardless of any planned changes. In addition, identification of influencing factors provides information on what the effects of various strategies may be.
In addition to going beyond demographic snapshots, workforce planning also goes beyond the traditional permanent workforce. Especially in the context of strategic plans and GPRA plans, it is important to understand that there is not a single workforce, but multiple workforces to take into account. Workforce analysis needs to consider whoever performs the work and provides service, even though the ability to effect strategic change in that workforce may be limited.
These other workforces include the "contingent" workforce (more appropriately described as the "flexible" work force), contractors, and even external workforces that are essential to service delivery and program success. The flexible workforce includes all of the non-permanent federal staff “ persons on detail, students, temporary and term appointees, summer employees, interns, Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignees, etc. The sources of the flexible workforce may, indeed, be limited only by a manager’s imagination. The key difference between them and the permanent workforce is that they are in place only to meet specific workload, not as permanent additions to staff. Frequently there is more opportunity to meet short-term needs with the flexible work force than with permanent staff. The same is true of contractors, who may be able to bridge short-term gaps and to fill shorter-term needs for specific expertise.
Consideration of external workforces may be appropriate when a program depends on grantees, either private or at other levels of government for service delivery. While these staffs may be out of the direct control of the program office, they may at the same time be vital to the achievement of GPRA objectives focusing on service delivery. With those strategic objectives in mind, program offices should consider workforce interventions that may improve service delivery and the achievement of strategic objectives.
Finally, workforce analysis should take into account other human resource processes such as succession planning, employee development, career development, and organization development. Each has a part to play in the identification of critical skills, forecasting potential vacancies, and preparing both employees and organizations to meet future needs.


Supply Analysis
Workforce demographic and transaction data
Workforce skills / experience data collection; workload measurement inputs

Workforce profiles (such as age, grade, service, occupation, permanent /temporary tenure, supervisory ratio, and diversity)
Trends / predictors (such as turnover, retirement rates, and replacement patterns)
Workforce skills inventory; workload measurement data

Senior Management (commitment required)
Program Managers, supervisors, and staff
HR Office
Union representatives
Optional: contract support; internal consultant

Demand Analysis
Management Assessment of program direction
GPRA Objectives
Strategic Plans
Budget Plans

Future workforce profile: skills, numbers, levels
Senior Management
Program Managers and supervisors
GPRA planning staff (if separate); budget formulation staff; HR Office
Optional: contract support; internal consultant

Gap Analysis
Supply Analysis data: Demographics, employment trends; skills inventory
Demand Analysis data: Future skills needs; staffing levels

Analysis of differences between present workforce and future needs; priorities for addressing change
Senior Management; Program Managers; supervisors
GPRA/Strategic Planning staff; HR staff
Optional: contract support; internal consultant

Solution Analysis
Output from Gap Analysis: Identified "gaps" between present workforce and workforce needed for the future.
Strategies / options for workforce transition
Analysis of interventions needed for transition

Senior Management; Program Managers; Supervisors
HR Office
Optional: contract support; internal consultant

External Influences

While workforce planning is largely an internal process, there are external forces operating on programs and organizations that impact the workforce and the organization’s objectives. These influences are frequently both uncontrollable and high-impact, affecting mission direction, program objectives, and overall funding. Workforce planning efforts should include environmental scanning to ascertain the potential impact external forces. Evaluating the environmental impact and forecasting the availability of skilled talent based on workforce needs should focus on the following:
  • Customer expectations “ ability to respond quickly to the changing needs and expectations of customers in delivering quality services.

  • Worldwide availability and supply of labor “ ability to accurately forecast the quality, cost and availability of labor in all work locations (e.g., regional and geographical locations).

  • Competition for labor “ economic growth, strength of competitive industry to attract and retain workers we need, when and where we need them.

  • Economic and environmental factors “ inflation rates, economic growth, interest rates, unions, unemployment rates, political climate.

  • Quality of workforce “ skill levels of less prepared workers, and appropriate training programs developed to prepare workers for changing skill levels of the next generation of jobs.

  • Demographics, diversity, and Quality of Work Life “ new and necessary strategies to attract and retain the new-age workforce.

  • Technology “ available databases, Web resources, software and computers that make it easier to accurately forecast headcount needs, as well as supply and quality of workforce.

  • New competencies “ identification of new skills and competencies that do not presently exist to develop new recruiting, screening, and training tools for emerging competencies.

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