Workforce and Succession Planning

Workforce Planning Model

Workforce Planning is having the right number of people with the right job knowledge and skills working in an organization in the right jobs at the right time.


Part 1: Strategic Direction

Strategic planning establishes the organization mission; defines goals and measurable objectives and determines necessary financial resources and workforce needs.

Workforce planning complements strategic planning by translating strategy into actions to identify
workforce staffing and training needs.

It responds to:

  • The number and types of jobs and skills needed to meet the mission and strategic goals of the organization
  • Strategies to be used to hire, retain, or teach these skills

To understand the organization’s direction and future workforce needs, a summary of anticipated
changes to the mission, strategies, and goals over the next one to five years will need to be
documented and analyzed.


Part 2: Workforce Analysis

Analysis of workforce data is the key element in workforce planning. Consider information such as
occupations, skills, experience, retirement eligibility, diversity, turnover rates, education, and trend
data. There are three key steps to the workforce analysis phase.

These steps are:

  1. Determining Workforce Demand
  2. Determining Workforce Supply
  3. Gap Analysis


Step 1 - Determining Workforce Demand

Identify: Workforce skills required to meet projected needs, staffing patterns and anticipated service
and workload changes.

Demand analysis identifies the future workforce needed to carry out the organization’s mission.
Some of this information can be obtained from the Strategic Plan (Part 1 in the Model). Additional
workforce-specific analyses can be conducted through environmental scanning, which involves
examining external trends in the environment in which the organization operates, and examining
internal factors that are affecting or could affect the workforce.



Examine Internal and
External Environment


  • Identify demographic issues that are likely to influence the demands placed on the organization, such as the aging population, language, employment equity, education levels.


  • Review how technology can and will be used to enhance services
  • Identify jobs that will be affected by
    technological enhancements
  • Determine whether any changes in technology will affect the number of employees needed to do the work or the type of skills needed


  • Identify economic considerations that have particular relevance to the organization and its services.

Labor market

  • Identify and examine labor trends, including student information available from educational institutions


  • Will the way the work is being done need to change?
  • Will new services be added or deleted?
  • Will current employees have the necessary skills to do the work in the future?
  • Will the workload change?
  • Will more or fewer employees be needed?


Step 2 - Determining Workforce Supply

Consider: Staffing levels, workforce skills and demographics, employment trends.
Create an Existing Workforce Profile and Future Profile

Review organization trend data and project future workforce supply required.

You will need to apply assumptions about how various factors will influence the future workforce.
Trend information, census data etc. combined with the current workforce profile, is an essential
building block for forecasting workforce supply.

The determination of workforce supply is a function of two elements – what is happening in the
external labour market and how the company is sourcing candidates from that market and what is
happening internally with employees who are not part of the active bus driver and mechanic/skilled
trades workforce.



Determine Internal Supply
  • Identify employees’ ages, genders, ethnicity factors, education levels, and lengths of service
  • Identify skills and short and long term competencies
  • Identify vacancies and those that will not be filled
  • Assess the workload and determine if and how it can be restructured to utilize available staff
  • Continually assess the work environment for indication of change
Determine Future Supply


  • Review retention, turnover, promotion patterns, and leave usage
  • Determine whether the turnover rate affects the organization’s ability to conduct its work
  • Review retirement patterns
Determine Future Supply


  • Project what the skill and experience level of the current workforce will be in the future
  • What challenges might affect the organization’s ability to recruit and retain mission-critical skills?


Step 3 - Gap Analysis

Gap analysis involves comparing the projected workforce supply to the forecasted workforce demand attempting to answer the following questions:

  • What new skills will be needed to accomplish goals and objectives?
  • Does the organization’s workforce currently have the anticipated needed skills?
  • What job functions or skills will no longer be required?

Results may show one of the following:

  • A gap (when projected supply is less than forecasted demand), which indicates a future
    shortage of needed workers or skills. It is important to know what critical jobs will have gaps
    so the necessary training or recruiting can be anticipated.
  • A surplus (when projected supply is greater than forecasted demand), which indicates a future
    excess in some categories of workers and may require action. The surplus data may represent
    occupations or skills that will not be needed in the future or at least will not be needed to the
    same extent.
  • Calculate the Gap between the projected need (Step 1, determine workforce demand) and the
    projected supply (Step 2, determine workforce supply)
  • Identify areas where future needs exceed the current resources and projections
  • Identify areas where the current workforce exceeds the projected needs of the future
  • Identify areas where the current supply will meet the future needs, resulting in a gap of zero
  • Once gaps are identified, prioritize the significant gaps that will have the most impact on
    organizational goals


Part 3: Building Workforce Plans

This phase involves the development of strategies to address future gaps and surpluses. Strategies
include the programs, policies, and practices that assist in recruiting, developing, and retaining the
critical staff needed to achieve the mission and strategic goals and in dealing with workers or skills no longer needed.

Strategies include:

  • Position classification actions, including redefining positions
  • Salary actions, including equity adjustments, promotions, and merit increases
  • Staff development strategies to prepare employees for specific positions
  • Recruitment/selection strategies to find and hire candidates including recent school graduates
    and apprentices
  • Retention strategies to encourage employees to stay
  • Organizational interventions such as redeployment of staff or reorganization
  • Succession planning to ensure that there are highly qualified people capable of filling critical
  • Knowledge transfer strategies to capture the knowledge of experienced employees before they
    leave the organization

There are several factors that influence which strategy or, more likely, which combination of strategies should be used. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Time - Is there enough time to develop staff internally for anticipated vacancies or new skill
    needs, or is special, fast-paced recruitment the best approach?
  • Resources - What resources (for example, technology, and web sites) are currently available to provide assistance, or must resources be developed?
  • Internal depth - Does existing staff demonstrate the potential or interest to develop new skills and assume new or modified positions, or is external recruitment needed?


Part 4: Skill Gap Analysis

  • Identify existing employee skills/qualifications/short-and long-term competencies required forthe planned organization
  • Identify focused career planning and development programs
  • Identify required job knowledge and skills needed for the planned organization
  • Perform skill gap analysis of employees’ existing skills and those needed in the planned work environment
  • Perform skill gap analysis between current organizational skills and the skills required to function in the planned environment

Link to succession planning



Part 5: Implementing Workforce Plans

Before implementing a workforce plan, you should consider:

  • Degree of executive support for the workforce strategies
  • Allocation of necessary resources to carry out identified workforce strategies
  • Roles and responsibilities in implementing strategies
  • Establishing time lines, defining performance measures and expected deliverables
  • Communication plan

The workforce plan should be implemented in connection with the requirements of the strategic
plan. If the strategic plan changes due to unanticipated customer, leadership, or legislative changes,
adjustments to workforce plan strategies may be necessary.


Part 6: Monitoring, Assessing and Revising

Workforce plans should be reviewed annually to respond to unanticipated changes.

A process should be established that allows for a regular review of workforce planning efforts to:

  • Review performance measurement information
  • Assess what is working and what is not working
  • Adjust the plan and strategies as necessary
  • Address new workforce and organizational issues that occur


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