Michael Culshaw 09 March 2020

Strategic workforce planning

Reviewing old processes with the rigour applied to new ones can reap dramatic improvements.

Workforce planning is a case in point and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been working with partners to ensure the tools which can help are easily accessible to the public sector.

The processes by which an organisation sources its people should be well planned and with an eye on the wider business aims. However, ongoing technological, demographic and social changes are exposing once acceptable strategies.

Strategic workforce planning is a really effective way of assessing your response to a low unemployment environment, and a labour market consisting of more people needing to work flexibly.

Once, permanent positions would have been filled via the HR team, whereas temporary, or contingent workers, were bought in outside of the HR team – perhaps to backfill positions or help complete a particular project.

Strategic workforce planning or a ‘total talent management’ programme removes the distinctions between permanent and contingent status and focuses on the value a worker can provide.

Commercial and HR colleagues combine their knowledge, so hiring strategies can be adapted and the right talent sourced. Such an approach leads to better hiring decisions and improved performance across the organisation.

The private sector has woken up to this shift, and now the public sector is being challenged to think more strategically too.

But public sector bodies needn’t do this alone, partner organisations are available through CCS to provide the technology, processes and expertise.

Local government is one of the main public sector users of contingent labour, with uptake likely to increase for the foreseeable future. So it is one of the sectors that perhaps most urgently needs to address the question of total talent management.

Strategic workforce planning is about ensuring organisations attract, retain and develop the talent needed for a competitive and agile public service.

The CCS whitepaper, The changing face of the public sector workforce: why your organisation needs a strategic workforce plan, can be downloaded here. It will help public sector organisations assess their current position and help plan where they need to be. It also contains detailed information on the factors behind recent labour market shifts, what it means for public sector organisations and how total talent management can help.

Michael Culshaw, Crown Commercial Service, Senior Category Lead - Workforce

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