Strategic workforce planning framework

Your agency must have a strategic workforce plan and update it annually as part of its strategic planning process. See Specific purpose planning requirements (PDF, 321.8 KB) .

There is no single approach or common model to follow for creating and maintaining a strategic workforce plan. Your approach will depend on your agency’s size, capability mix, and risk appetite. You’ll need to address your agency’s specific questions and workforce challenges.

Read the Strategic workforce planning framework (PDF, 328.9 KB) . Use the activities outlined in the framework and the information here to help you create a workforce that meets your agency’s current and future needs.

Use the Strategic workforce planning maturity model (PDF, 214.5 KB) to review your agency’s current approach to strategic workforce planning.

Complete an environmental scan

Consider the workforce disruptions that might arise from current political, economic, environmental, social, technological, regulatory and industry landscapes.

Review your agency’s data

Review as much data as you can. Look at the data from your agency’s payroll and HR systems. Review your employee surveys. Understand your agency’s workforce profile, including age, gender, classification levels, regional distribution, absenteeism and turnover.

Consult with your leadership team and business unit leaders

Discuss your agency’s current workforce plan and any internal and external factors that might impact this. Discuss your agency’s future skills and capability needs.

Find out from your leaders how they think your workforce needs will change in the future. Discuss your agency’s job mix and career path options, flexibility, and systems, including recruitment, training, development, performance and rewards.

Ask your business unit managers about their current workforce, business unit strategy, and future workforce requirements. Note any recent workplace design or composition changes.

Find out how each business unit contributes to your agency’s priorities and outcomes, their areas for development, and their critical challenges.

Ask your leadership team about your agency’s strategic imperatives. Find out what changes they anticipate over the next 3 to 10 years which will impact your workforce.

Consider if your agency’s:

  • services will change
  • customer needs and preferences will change
  • systems and processes need to improve
  • work will change (due to advances in technology)
  • workplace and service design models need to change
  • workplace and service design model changes will be restricted in any way (e.g. policy, legislation, agreements)
  • capabilities needs will change
  • your agency’s structure will change

Scenario planning

Use scenario planning to anticipate workforce requirements over the short, medium and long term. Develop a set of plausible alternative futures rather than trying to predict an exact future. The more precise you aim to be at predicting the future, the more risk for your agency if that future doesn’t occur.

Scenario planning sheds light on the future within certain boundaries. The actual future might be expected to fall somewhere within those bounds.

Scenario planning diagram

Consider plausible and possible futures, how likely they will occur, and if they’ll have minimal, medium, or maximum impact on your workforce. Think about changes that might occur with your systems and processes.

Workforce supply and demand modelling

Use workforce supply and demand modelling (PDF, 286.8 KB) to consider future supply and demand impacts on your workforce. Complete this in conjunction with your scenario planning.

Capability, skills and mindset modelling

Think about what talent and capabilities you’ll need to increase (buy, borrow, or build), decrease, or repurpose. See the Strategic talent segmentation model (PDF, 176 KB) for help.

Seek to build capability and attributes such as learning agility, flexibility and systems thinking to prepare your agency for multiple future scenarios.

Bring together the information you’ve gathered about your current and future states and develop a plan to address your workforce needs.

Create a business case

You may need to develop a business case for change depending on the scale of transformation. The business case should identify strategic linkages, proposed initiatives, resourcing options, cost benefit analysis, risks, timeframes, and the governance and monitoring processes required.

Business cases have the greatest chance of success if stakeholders are involved fully in their development, understand the reason for them, and are committed to implementing them. Ensure all stakeholders have had an opportunity to contribute to, and provide feedback on, your plan.

Include the data and analysis of your workforce and your workforce landscape.

Maintain clear focus on the business and its needs. Focus on critical data and emerging trends. Take account of the changing environment.

Solve problems; don't just build a process. Favour solutions with the greatest impact.

Ensure there is a clear line of sight to other strategic agendas (e.g. strategic plans, and business plans).

Remember that a strategic workforce plan is not an end-product. Planning must be ongoing and remain flexible to the agency’s wants and needs.

Make your plan publicly available.

For more, see:

Establish a baseline report

Include qualitative and quantitative data that will allow you to regularly report, monitor and evaluate your strategic workforce plan.


  • key workforce data (profiles and capabilities)
  • business plans and targets, outcomes and performance indicators
  • planned actions, strategies and implementation progress
  • proposed systems and organisational changes
  • cost and benefit realisation of projects
  • workforce quantitative performance data (i.e. turnover, absence and workforce safety data)
  • qualitative information and performance indicators (i.e. culture, values and behaviours, and employee feedback).


  • executive and management meetings
  • employee and stakeholder surveys
  • focus group feedback
  • progress reports
  • project review meetings
  • agency performance reports and assessments
  • workforce data (payroll, recruitment, workplace health and safety)
  • workforce statistics.

Decide what lead and lag indicators provide the highest value to the evaluation:

  • Lead indicators are the 'canary in the mine' that help inform future activities
  • Lag indicators provide valuable information about what has happened in the past.

See Section 15 of the Annual report requirements for Queensland Government agencies for agency reporting requirements.

Monitor and evaluate

Review your workforce planning framework regularly. It must remain flexible and adaptable to your agency’s wants and needs. Review the same data you used to establish a baseline when implementing your agency’s workforce plan.

Evaluate if your agency:

  • met its service delivery obligations
  • delivered against its strategic priorities
  • improved its performance and productivity
  • achieved or made progress towards its planned workforce outcomes
  • reduced its key workforce risk indicators.

Monitor if your agency’s workforce plan is:

  • helping your agency meet its goals
  • delivering the required capability and capacity
  • delivering the required knowledge, skills and levels of expertise
  • addressing any imbalances between work needing to be done, available employees, and required knowledge and skills
  • developing employee skills quickly enough
  • addressing any workforce gaps.

Consider if any conditions have changed that require you to review and modify your workforce plan.