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By Thomas P. Bechet

2008, 342 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-8144-0938-1

SHRMStore Item #: 61.16508

Order from the SHRMStore of call (800) 444-5006

An Overview of This Book

This book describes pragmatic approaches for developing and implementing practical, effective, targeted strategic staffing/workforce planning processes. It includes process descriptions, actual examples and case studies, advice and hints, a series of spreadsheet templates that can actually be used to develop strategic staffing models, and PowerPoint presentations that can be used to communicate (and train others on) the strategic staffing/workforce planning process. Specifically, the book is divided into five sections.

Section 1: Setting the Stage

Section 1 sets the stage for effective strategic staffing. It provides an overview of the strategic staffing process and its objectives and describes the context in which strategic staffing works best. The section focuses on descriptions of specific nontraditional approaches to strategic staffing/workforce planning that have proved effective in a wide variety of organizations and industries. The section also includes a description of a new "hybrid" approach to strategic staffing/workforce planning that combines some aspects of a companywide approach with the focused, targeted process that I strongly advocate.

Section 2: Developing the Strategic Staffing/Workforce Planning Process

There are many approaches that can be used to organize and structure your strategic staffing/workforce planning efforts. Section 2 describes in detail an effective, practical approach that can be (and has been) implemented effectively in a wide variety of situations. This approach includes:

• A detailed description of the process itself (creating both long-term staffing strategies and short-term staffing plans)

• Specific examples of how required staffing levels can be determined (including actual, numeric examples with solutions)

• A discussion of various techniques that can be used to define useful staffing plans even when specific business plans are not complete or available

• A complete numerical example of a staffing strategy (and the staffing plans that result)

• Three detailed, "real-world" case studies, each of which describes the issues that an organization was facing and the staffing strategies and plans that the organization developed to address those issues

• A series of less detailed summaries of projects in which strategic staffing was implemented successfully

Section 3: Implementing and Supporting Your Strategic Staffing/Workforce Planning Process

Developing the right strategic staffing process won't help if that process is implemented incorrectly. Section 3 describes the context within which strategic staffing is best implemented. It includes:

• A framework that ensures effective implementation of the process

• A diagnostic tool that you can use to define the strategic context in which the process will be implemented in your particular situation

• A form that you can use to evaluate your company's current strategic staffing process and identify opportunities to improve its effectiveness

• Specific suggestions on how you can engage and involve line managers in the process, including an interview guide that can be used to help identify staffing issues and define staffing requirements

• A description of what might be included on a strategic staffing web site that could reside on your company’s intranet

• A description of the HR functional structure that best supports strategic staffing/workforce planning (including some of the skills and capabilities the staff will need)

• Detailed suggestions and notes (almost a script) that you can apply when using the PowerPoint presentations that are available to you on the web site

Section 4: Beyond Staffing Plans: Analyzing and Applying the Results

One of the key deliverables of the strategic staffing process is a set of very specific staffing plans that should be implemented to address critical staffing needs. There are times, though, when a broader analysis of your results will be needed if you are to select the appropriate course of action.

The fourth section of the book describes what those analyses might look like, including:

• A discussion on how strategic staffing/workforce planning can be used to identify and address the impacts of retirements on your organization

• A description of how some of the quantitative aspects of workforce planning can be used to strengthen your management succession and development process

• A case for including workforce planning ("talent planning") as a mandatory first step in any talent management process

• Specific suggestions on how to structure strategic staffing/workforce planning processes to support common business initiatives (e.g., opening a "green field" site)

• A description of how workforce planning concepts can be used to define and implement staff reductions more effectively

• A description of how to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your staffing practices

• A discussion of how an analysis of staffing costs can be integrated into your strategic staffing process


The appendices include a number of supporting materials that will help you implement an effective strategic staffing process. Specifically, the appendices include:

• Frequently asked questions (with answers, of course!)

• Specific instructions for modifying the generic spreadsheet staffing model templates (made available on the web site when you purchase this book) so that they can be used to support the development of your own staffing models, strategies, and plans

• Instructions for retrieving the computer files that come with this book.


While no approach is foolproof, this book is designed to help you get an effective strategic staffing/workforce planning process up and running quickly and easily. If your organization is not yet creating staffing strategies, these tools will ensure that you will get off on the right foot and avoid many of the pitfalls that other companies have encountered. These tools can also be used to jump-start or improve the effectiveness of an existing strategic staffing process. If you are already developing staffing strategies, the approaches and tools provided in this book will help you improve the quality and effectiveness of your results. In either case, be forewarned: Many of the ideas in this book may differ from what you think strategic staffing/workforce planning is and what you think the process entails. Just read it with an open mind and be ready to consider alternative approaches— approaches that many organizations have found to be realistic and helpful.

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