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Scanning for Understanding

To define a workforce that can meet organizational goals now and in the future, organizations must be strategic about their workforce planning efforts.  The process begins with an understanding of the current state of the organization; its goals, strategies, and future opportunities. Utilizing current workforce data along with an understanding of future changes in the organization’s scope of work provides the groundwork for the first phase of this process. 

Environmental Scanning
Completing a thorough scan provides organizations with information to determine high workforce risk areas.

Use the following data sources for your environmental scan:
  1. The organization's strategic plan.
  2. External trends that may affect the work of the organization and the workforce. 
  3. Internal workforce factors.
  4. The demand for maintaining and improving the workforce.
  • Questions Regarding Organizational Strategy
    1. What are the key strategies the organization is implementing? 
    2. What new initiatives are underway? What skills are needed to accomplish these initiatives?
    3. Has the business/operation model changed?
    4. Will planned growth or shrinkage require new recruitment strategies, selection techniques or training programs?
    5. Will new business goals require new work procedures or employee performance standards?
  • Questions Regarding the External Environment
    1. How will the labor market impact the availability of talent needed?
    2. Are there any state policies or legislative mandates that will impact the organization?
    3. How will changing workforce demographics impact the organization?
    4. Is the workforce profile (i.e. age, gender, ethnicity) changing how employees relate to each other and to customers?
    5. Will budget cuts or revenue shortfalls require reductions in force and reorganization?
  • Questions Regarding the Organization's Workforce
    1. What does the current workforce look like? 
    2. What anticipated changes should be considered?
    3. Are there needs and opportunities for skill and talent development?
    4. Are there skill needs beyond what is found at the organization? 
    5. Is there high potential staff willing to move into leadership positions?
    6. How is knowledge captured and transferred within the organization?

Tools and Resources
To review organizational strategy, organizations should complete the Organizational Strategy Worksheet (Word version) or (PDF version)

For Assistance in completing the environmental scan use the Environmental Scan Worksheet (Word version) or (PDF version).