Blueprint for progress: Integrated workforce planning


Kouros Behzad

Director of Product Marketing, Anaplan solutions for HR and workforce planning

Learn how to get started — and succeed — with integrated workforce planning (WFP) guidance from Anaplan and the Josh Bersin Company.

Businesses grapple daily with volatile markets, technological leaps, shifts toward a gig economy, and the relentless pace of skill evolution, all of which are upending traditional business models. This turbulence in the business and workforce landscape necessitates an ongoing alignment of finance and HR plans with the broader business vision and strategies.

Why? Because the traditional ways of workforce planning and forecasting — characterized by departments planning in isolation and intermittent data flow — are relics of a bygone era. The old methods falter in the face of swiftly evolving technologies like AI and robotics. 

According to the Josh Bersin Company — a leading research and advisory firm for corporate learning, talent management, and HR — these changes are redefining roles and how work is executed. Society’s pivot toward flexible work arrangements, encapsulated in the gig economy, further demands an adaptive planning approach. How can businesses adapt to thrive amid these challenges?

The answer lies in integrated workforce planning (WFP).

How do we define integrated WFP?

The Josh Bersin Company’s report, Integrated Workforce Planning: Building Organizational Readiness and Resilience, defines integrated WFP as a strategic process that continuously aligns an organization’s human capital needs with its business objectives. It enables organizations like yours to:

  • Forecast future staffing requirements
  • Assess the present workforce's skills
  • Identify the gap between the current state and future goals 
  • Create a strategic WFP action plan

However, the process goes beyond mere headcount. It becomes more about understanding the evolving capabilities and competencies required to drive business success and proactively developing or sourcing the necessary talent to fulfill those roles and skills, both internally and externally. 

Effective, integrated WFP anticipates changes in the labor market and industry and closely integrates with financial and operational strategies and plans to ensure the organization can adapt and thrive. It brings together data analytics, talent management, and strategic foresight to empower organizations to meet their current and future challenges head-on.

How to get started — and succeed

Kickstarting and integrating your way into this new world will be different for everyone. However, these two elements, emphasized in the Josh Bersin Company’s research, are crucial:


1. Initiate and maintain a strategic workforce blueprint

Begin by crafting a comprehensive blueprint, integrating the roles, competencies, and capabilities essential across the organization. This blueprint should be based on collaborative insights from HR, finance, and the business to ensure strategic alignment with the broader business strategy.

The creation of such a blueprint is not merely a one-time event but an ongoing process that adapts as the business landscape evolves. It serves as a roadmap that ensures your workforce architecture is robust yet flexible enough to meet both current needs and future transformations. Equally, it helps your organization stay ahead of the curve in talent management.


2. Select and implement an integrated WFP platform 

A unified platform, as advocated by the Josh Bersin Company’s report, is essential, offering data analytics, scenario modeling, and forecasting capabilities. Advanced, AI-driven solutions can help you forecast talent needs, identify skill gaps, and lead to employee development and career pathways. In addition, they enable your organization to respond proactively to technological changes and market demands to guard against talent shortages and misalignments with business goals. 

With real-time data and predictive analytics, an integrated WFP platform becomes the linchpin in a constantly changing strategy. It secures your competitive advantage and drives your organization's success despite fluctuations in the market and wider world. 

Whatever your industry, integrated WFP helps you win

Integrated WFP is not confined to one industry — the universal challenge of adapting workforce strategies to rapidly advancing technologies and shifting market demands is prevalent across all sectors.

Regardless of your industry, the adoption of integrated WFP translates into significant advantages across the board:

  • For your business it means enhanced agility and an ability to pivot in response to market changes rapidly
  • HR benefits from aligned workforce strategies and optimized talent resource allocation
  • Finance sees cost reductions, improved forecasting accuracy, and bolstered strategic decision-making capabilities

The significance of integrated WFP manifests in a wide variety of ways. Take, for example, the dynamic world of contact centers, where fluctuations in call volume can dictate staffing needs. An integrated workforce plan allows for agile responses to these fluctuations, ensuring customer service does not falter under unexpected demand. 

This approach also applies to sectors such as banking, where branches are seeing a workforce composition change as changing customer preferences and accelerated digitization are resulting in decreased demand at physical branches. This means banks need to not only staff branches appropriately but also predict and meet demand on other channels and prepare for these impending changes accordingly.

In manufacturing, where AI could either replace or augment many human roles, a strategic approach to WFP is critical. It involves assessing the need for upskilling, reskilling, or recruiting talent to manage new technology efficiently. This type of WFP is not just responsive but anticipatory, preparing organizations for shifts in operational needs before they become critical.

The urgent need for integrated WFP

The Josh Bersin Company’s report is an informative guide for decision-makers to strategically implement integrated WFP and build more agile and future-proofed organizations. But don’t just take our word for it — explore these insights with your complimentary download of the report. 

Read the full report from the Josh Bersin Company to learn how to turn your siloed functions into business partners with integrated workforce planning.