At Aruspex we sometimes see workforce plans which calculate future gaps...and stop there.  Hang on - there are at least two more steps here.  One is to build an action plan to close those gaps, which many people include - and then there's the ever critical process of monitoring progress, which all too many people leave out of the workforce planning process altogether!

Your workforce plan aims to move your workforce from X to Y - whether that means different skills, more people, a new location, different talent segments, a different degree of engagement or ambition...whatever is right to build the right workforce and culture for your future success.  So you determine what X and Y are, what the gap is between them, and how you plan to close them....then you define when you will close them, and what the progress measures will be.

Once you have the progress measures, you can monitor how successful you are.  Critically, these are used as a guide, not a stick - since we can't predict the future, it's not reasonable to assume we'll always be right, and our progress measures guide us.  If you go off course, you might need to change the course – but you might need to change the target.

Why is this progress monitoring step so often left out?  Why do we state our action plan...then not monitor how we track to it?  I wonder if it's because we confuse assumption and forecasts with goals.  Not achieving our goal can be a negative...but surely we can't be thinking that getting our future forecasts wrong is anything worse than a learning we respond to?  Maybe being comfortable with setting measures as a guide not a stick is a part of the shift to being focused on the future that we haven't all made yet?