Sloan (2010) notes that the strategic work force planning seeks to look into the current, transitional and future needs of the business. Operational workforce planning, on the other hand, takes about twelve to eighteen months. It forms the basis of the strategic workforce planning.
Work force planning occurs in five basis steps. The first step is the context and environment consideration. It entails looking at why the process is required and the goals that the business seeks to achieve by having a workforce plan. It is in this stage where the performance measures for the plan are also identified and spelt out. Bechet (2002) notes that one of the key procedures in the initial stage of workforce planning is linking the strategic goals and objectives of the business with the plan. It allows for the team involved to know how to shape the plan so that it is part and parcel of the overall goals of the business. The second step is the generation of the current workforce profile. It requires focusing on the current skills, competencies, experience and strengths of the workforce that the business has. Step two also necessitates the identification of the key issues which need to be considered so that the capability of the workforce can be improved.
Step three of the plan is the generation of the future workforce profile. According to Hill & Jones (2001) a plan is supposed to take an organization to a desired future state. It therefore means that the business must look at the implications that the plan will have on its future as well as the environment which will be needed for the effective implementation and use of the plan. Future priorities must also be identified at this stage. The fourth step is the analysis of the gaps and coming up with strategies to close them. Step four entails the identification of the key areas where action will be obligatory so that the gaps are filled for the benefit of the business.