Business Week this week has an article about corporate budget cutting (the budget knives come out) in the face of the credit crisis, including this comment:

The most painful trim, of course, is in payroll. Many executives expect layoffs to be swifter and deeper than before, accompanied by pruned salaries and bonuses for those who remain

I worry about organizations who haven't implemented strategic workforce planning in a climate like this.  If we need to lay people off, but we don't have a strategic workforce plan, how do we know who the right groups to lay off are?  Your workforce plan lets you quickly see which groups are strategically important, which groups are already short staffed, you make informed decisions if you have to make layoff choices - or even better, are able to know that attrition, retirement or other trends mean you shouldn't actually lay off at all!  A solid future view of the workforce is necessary to make good calls in this tough situation.

Of course, those who have already explored this workforce scenario in their strategic workforce planning process already know how to respond, but many organizations haven't even started down the path - this economic environment makes workforce planning more critical than ever.