You are here

Home » State Human Resources » Workforce planning » Levels of Workforce Planning

Levels of Workforce Planning

Generally, there are two types of workforce planning: strategic and operational.

Strategic Workforce Planning

Strategic workforce planning looks at system-wide issues and strategies to:

  • Support the organization’s strategic plan (e.g., reorganization and redeployment).
  • Address external workforce factors that affect the entire business (e.g., succession planning for retirement bubbles, or staff reduction planning for budget cuts).
  • Maintain organizational capacity (e.g., in-service training).
  • Mitigate risk exposure (e.g., safety planning and Equal Employment Opportunity training).

The right management level at which to conduct strategic workforce planning depends on the size of the organization, how it is structured, and how programs are managed and budgeted. Most strategic planning occurs at the senior-leadership level. However, employers may also plan at the division, region, or program level. Employers should plan in a way that makes sense for their business.

Operational Workforce Planning

Operational workforce planning looks at work-unit issues, and occurs at the supervisor level. The focus is on how to sustain the work unit’s ability to execute business strategies. Planning at this level may involve both carrying out the organization’s strategic workforce planning strategies, and responding to external workforce factors that impact a particular unit.

Additional resources for supervisors and others interested in operational workforce planning may be found in the Supervisors' Guide to Developing Operational Workforce Plans (PDF file).

**NEW** Succession Planning Toolkit 2020 (Pilot)

Welcome to our newest version of Succession Planning (SP) as it relates to workforce planning.  The toolkit and resources below will prepare you for your organization’s succession planning journey!

Succession planning is beyond simply replacing positions that become vacant. Effective succession planning is an ongoing process of identifying, assessing and developing talent to ensure leadership, management and supervisory continuity throughout an organization and, moreover, to sustain its performance. The major focus is that replacements are prepared to fill key vacancies on short notice and that individuals have the developmental capacity to assume greater responsibilities and exercise increased technical proficiency and expanded management roles.

Your succession planning should begin and actively occur at a time when there is not a “crisis” or an emergency need to fill key positions.  It is preferable to conduct succession planning activities when vacancies do not yet exist and the incumbent has not made their wishes of terminating employment final. 

The ‘introduction’ document below will clarify how to proceed and outline the SP process.  Our hope is that your organization makes use of the new toolkit and associated resources to enhance your current approach or assist you in developing a successful succession planning model for others within your agency to utilize.

New: Succession Planning Dashboard

Workforce Planning Guide




This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.