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Workforce planning template: 7 examples and tips

Without a comprehensive checklist, even the best strategy can fail. Check out our 7 workforce planning templates to nail your organisational strategy.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated March 26, 2024

What is a workforce planning template?

A workforce planning template is a guide that helps a business align its workforce with future goals and objectives. Through strategic questions and steps, an organisation can evaluate the current status of its employees and identify opportunities for training, hiring, succession planning and more.

In football, teams don’t just happen to win the World Cup.

Sure, there are star players and strong offensive lines, but championships are won by well-rounded teams, goal setting and match-day strategies – all of which require plenty of forethought, planning and hard work.

Successful organisations draft and develop new talent, acquire impact players through trades and free agency and start looking ahead when star players are nearing retirement. Championship franchises follow a proven framework – one you can emulate in your operations.

Workforce planning templates set businesses up for success by aligning organisational goals with business needs. These templates can help with retirement planning initiatives, identify individual and departmental skill gaps and shine a light on customer service metrics. Read on to learn how you can set up an organisational dynasty with workforce planning templates.

More in this guide:

Why do you need a workforce planning template?

A business should use workforce planning templates because they provide a framework for organisational success.

After all, a company is only as successful as its team, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on agent productivity, competency of the workforce and future staffing levels. Workforce planning templates can assist in several key areas:

  • New hire planning: when organisations identify future talent gaps, they can plan and deploy hiring initiatives to help prevent turnover and maintain an optimal number of employees.
  • Training opportunities: templates can identify where improvements are needed to foster career development and ensure staff members consistently thrive.
  • Resignations and retirements: with a proper plan, organisations can combat planned resignations by identifying successors and implementing transition plans, reducing the impact of talent loss.
  • Organisational planning: when workforce managers think long term with workforce planning templates, they can stay ahead of industry trends and maintain market strength.

7 workforce planning templates

Now, let’s look at 7 planning templates that can aid in your workforce strategy.

1. Strategic workforce planning template

Best for initial workforce planning

When first creating a workforce plan, you need to evaluate your organisation from every angle. Our strategic workforce planning template provides a high-level overview of your current and future goals, staffing needs and training requirements. From here, you can build strategic direction and implement initiatives to improve your organisation and foster a modern employee experience.

a template for conducting strategic workforce planning.

Download template

2. Workforce development plan template

Best for employee development

To remain competitive in the marketplace, businesses need to invest in their employees. Use this template to evaluate individual staff members to get a sense of their career goals and any training or action steps they’ll need to take. This development plan can also play a helpful role in retention, identifying new skill sets and employee experience journey mapping.

a template for conducting workforce development.

Download template

3. Workforce gap analysis template

Best for identifying employee and team-wide training opportunities

With this template, businesses can identify gaps and shortages in employee and organisational skill levels. The template includes space for the desired proficiency, action plans for improvements and timelines. When a company knows the skills and shortcomings of its employees, it can engage in training exercises and product supplementation to help them perform their duties more effectively.

a template for conducting workforce gap analysis.

Download template

4. Workforce transition plan template

Best for planned retirements and other planned role changes

Workforce change is inevitable. Organisations should adequately plan for retirements and resignations, especially for high-level roles. Complete with checklists and transition dates, this template can help a business plan for future role changes to ensure incoming employees hit the ground running in their new roles.

a template for creating workforce transition plans.

Download template

5. Workforce labour forecasting template

Best for forecasting future labour needs

Businesses need to plan for internal and external trends affecting future day-to-day operations. This template features entries and questions that allow you to comprehensively analyse the demographics and status of your workforce. Doing so can help you create effective action plans and training regimes for you and your employees.

a template for conducting workforce labour forecasting.

Download template

6. Workforce individual analysis template

Best for analysing a workforce on a more individual level

Use the workforce individual analysis template to evaluate your workforce as a sum of its parts. Enter employees’ information to see a side-by-side comparison of team and departmental experience, skill level, salary and more. This process can highlight areas of improvement and help businesses set new strategic goals and implement employee development initiatives – factors that can improve employee engagement.

a template for conducting individual workforce analysis.

Download template

7. Customer service workforce template

Best for examining departmental customer service levels

Providing an outstanding customer experience (CX) should be a top priority for every company. How you treat and assist customers directly impacts how successful you’ll be in acquiring new business and building long-term relationships. Our customer service workforce template has entries for analysing the 6 customer service metrics every support team should track.

a template for conducting customer service workforce analysis.

Download template

Bring more clarity to your workforce planning with our checklist

Download our workforce planning steps checklist, a free document that provides a road map for how to proceed with workforce management initiatives.

How to introduce a workforce planning template to your team

Creating a successful workforce planning template is only half the task. Ensure your organisation commits to the new strategy so operations go as planned. Here are some ways you can do that.

Create a unified vision

Every team member needs to align with your workforce planning template. Share it with key stakeholders – like managers, HR professionals, heads of departments, your collective internal help desk and other relevant members of your organisation – so everyone knows the purpose of your new strategy. You can ensure smooth implementation when all employees are on the same page and understand their roles in the workforce plan.

Establish benchmarks for success

Workforce planning templates can create organisational success, but their effectiveness depends on your own benchmarks. Don’t just introduce a new template – introduce it with clear and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and workforce data. By defining goals, you give your organisation the direction needed to fully maximise your new strategy.

Stay flexible

Just because you develop a workforce planning template doesn’t mean it’s the be-all and end-all of your organisational strategy. As time progresses, check in on those previously-established benchmarks to monitor your performance. If you need to make strategy adjustments, don’t feel shackled by your current plan, and revise it if necessary.

Explore outside tools like help desk software or employee experience software if you think it will make your organisation productive.

Optimise your workforce planning and workforce management with Zendesk and Tymeshift

Workforce planning templates can help you establish an organisational dynasty, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Workforce management (WFM) is a set of processes businesses use to manage employees and resources and to optimise productivity – and WFM strategies can inform your planning.

That said, performing WFM can be time-consuming, especially if you’re using spreadsheets. When you manage people, conduct scheduling and need to understand your employees’ activity, a WFM tool can help – that’s where we come in.

To expand on our world-class customer service capabilities, we’ve acquired Tymeshift, a workforce management solution built just for Zendesk. With the power of both products, you can create a seamless workforce management and customer support ecosystem that can optimise your operations.

Start a free trial of Tymeshift today.