So what is workforce development?
It is an umbrella term for implementing strategies that help you bridge the gap between your current workforce and your target (future) workforce. Workforce development strategies address the gaps that you find when you undertake workforce planning and training needs analysis where the output is a workforce plan. The strategies could be about attraction, recruitment, retention, career progression, succession planning, job design, skills and competencies, values and behaviours, KPI’s and performance.
Generally when you write a workforce plan you cover the same time frame as the organisation’s strategic plan which could be 1, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years depending on your industry and budget cycles. The steps are reflected in the document itself starting with 1. Context and environment, 2. Current workforce profile, 3. Future workforce profile including forecasting demand and supply, 4. Gap analysis, priorities, implementation, 5. Review, monitor, evaluate.
Review your workforce plan regularly – about every 6 months or if there has been a major workforce change or refocus of the business. The workforce plan is a dynamic document resulting in a prioritised action plan identifying who will do what and by when – it’s not uncommon for organisations to have numerous updated versions of their workforce plan over the timeframe for which it has been designed.
As job roles change and you implement workforce development strategies, the framework that measures your workforce capability also needs to change to reflect the organisation’s structure and focus. You may want to build a capability framework to help you measure your workforce capability and capacity. Revisiting your demand and supply forecasting is important to see if you are on track.
The process is facilitated transparently, involving people from across your organisation to help identify strengths, development needs and issues. Communication, consultation and education is critical so you know what to do and what you are aiming for using a practical, straight forward approach – don’t over complicate it!