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Plan for future workforce changes

Scenarios are a way of shedding light on the future within certain boundaries. The actual future might be expected to fall somewhere within those confines.

The aim of future state conversations is to help understand anticipated workforce requirements over the short, medium, and long term.

Before you begin

  • What roles are currently critical to the business unit’s ability to meet strategic and operational goals?
  • What is the outlook for your external labour market?
  • What are the current capability strengths?
  • What are the current service delivery models?
  • What are the current workforce demographics?

Future business changes

  • What are the strategic imperatives?
  • What changes are anticipated over the next 3 to 10 years which will impact on the workforce?
  • What changes to service delivery do you anticipate over the next 3 to 10 years?
  • How will these changes take effect (what will we need more of, less of, deploy)?
  • How can we take advantage of the future context?
  • What assumptions can we make?

Scenario discussion questions

What are the likely scenarios for the organisation in the future?

  • What is the likelihood of occurrence?
  • What are the key events and timing?

Are there any common elements or emerging themes (e.g. service delivery models, use of technology)?

How will each scenario impact on the workforce?

  • Minimal—maintain current capability and resourcing
  • Somewhat—change current resourcing and capability requirements
  • Significant—major resourcing and capability changes required

Consider for each scenario:

  • To what extent will the organisation be different from now?
  • What needs to change with our systems and processes?
  • How will the workplace and workforce need to be designed?

How will we best address the changes identified:

  • What capabilities and talent will we need to introduce (buy and borrow)?
  • What capabilities and talent must we develop further (build)?
  • To what extent will there be a scarcity or surplus of talent in the internal and external labour market?

Model workforce supply and demand

Scenario planning, and workforce supply and demand modelling go together. For example it is difficult to predict with any certainty the number of customer service staff who will be needed in the future as it will depend on uptake of digital solutions, population mobility and service delivery models.

One way to think about supply and demand is that it is about balancing inputs with outputs.

Demand influencers:

  • Population projections
  • Forecast service delivery models and design
  • Industry growth and contraction
  • Economy growth and contraction
  • Mobility
  • Information and communication technology
  • Resources
  • Workforce mix and structure
  • Reform and productivity trends

Supply influencers

  • Demographics
  • Workforce participation
  • Migration patterns
  • Replenishment through VET and higher education
  • Ability to attract talent
  • Retirement patterns and turnover
  • Lifestyle choices and social change
  • Trends in working hours
  • Legislation and information and communication technology

Resources