Overview of the strategic model

This Strategic Workforce Planning model is adapted from Human Capital Institute (HCI). Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) Workforce Planning division employees are certified in Strategic Workforce Planning by HCI.  This one was adapted and developed for Minnesota government because it emphasizes the best use of resources, data, people, and systems. Although you will find that the majority of this guide has been based on HCI’s strategic model, there are also several departures and additional resources that are more applicable to Minnesota’s state workforce. All have been listed and cited for reference.

The purpose of workforce planning is defining a workforce that can execute the organization's strategy and optimizing the current and future workforces. Workforce planning is not just about headcount numbers. It is optimization, sustainability, and the future of your organization. A strong workforce brings your workforce planning in alignment with your operational plan.

Talent Management Aligned With Strategy

Flowchart of the strategic overview

Talent Management Practices

Key questions to answer within the workforce planning process

  1. What are the impacts of demographic shifts and external factors?
  2. What new roles and competencies are needed in the workforce?
  3. What does the future of our workforce look like?
  4. What is the gap between supply and demand of talent?
  5. What is the balance between building, buying, and borrowing talent to close gaps?
  6. How can we ensure that the right people with the right skills are in the right jobs at the right time for the right cost (the 5Rs)?
  7. How is the plan modified in real time? Make adjustments when conditions change (HCI, 2010).

The traditional way of workforce planning includes

  1. Project future workforce demands
  2. Assessing future supply
  3. Define the gap
  4. Develop a plan to fill the gap

Strategic Workforce Planning takes the concept to a new level by including

  1. Alignment with the organization strategy
  2. Target positions with greatest impact - Pivotal roles
  3. Different ways of looking at the future – improves your readiness and agility for the risks of the future

This HCI model has evolved a model developed by Aruspex, an HCI partner.

Graphic showing how the model has evolved that is described in paragraph to follow

(HCI, 2010)

This scale demonstrates that the more operational and strategic workforce planning becomes, the more qualitative and quantitative it is. There is value at every level; however the greatest value comes from the higher levels. This is not a sequential model, however most organizations do tend to do headcounting and then move on to more operational workforce planning activities.

Operational versus strategic planning


Operational Planning

Strategic Planning

Timeline/Planning Horizon

1, 3, 6, 12 month focus

2 to 3 years or longer – it should match the strategic plan


Mostly internal data, some management decisions

Internal and external information including demographics, organization strategies, global trends, etc.


Staffing plans, skills gaps

Human Resource/People Strategies

Scenario Planning Approach

Uses variables to explore different models of staffing such as sales forecast.

Use futuring techniques to question current paradigms and explore alternative futures not necessarily being considered today.


Operational Management

Strategic Management

Aligns with

Organization plan

Whole strategic plan

(HCI, 2010)


Workforce planning efforts should:

1. Be aligned with your operational strategy.

2. Differentiate, or segment roles by their contribution to the achievement of the operational strategy.

3. First, focus on roles that impact operations most significantly.

4. Leverage both quantitative and qualitative measures of the workforce when looking at the current and future-state perspectives.

5. Use futuring techniques to imagine a targeted future state.

6. Produce action plans that are owned and monitored by your agency.

7. Become part of the enterprise-wide strategic planning process (HCI, 2010).


MD5 Checksum: 3f1864cf22e796565f3b3cd042f725e4 , a0dc603e6e626df5c709da881fd1b9a7