Countless business experts agree that the number one determinant of whether a company will be successful is their people. Specifically: the ability to put the right people in the right place, with the right capabilities, at the right moment. This is otherwise known as workforce planning; a business function usually ‘owned’ by the HR department, finance and/or management tier of an organisation.

With the pandemic disruption that began in 2020, and that continues globally, the vast majority of businesses have been required to quickly shift both how their business functions and the way their employees deliver work.
The need for forward-thinking and workforce planning to deliver business outcomes is more important than ever to sustain business continuity.

Workforce planning is the process of analysing the current workforce, determining future workforce needs, identifying the gaps between the present and the future, and implementing solutions so that an organisation can accomplish its mission, goals, and strategic plan.

In other words, workforce planning isn’t only about the number of employees required at each post, but the capabilities/skillsets individuals will need in the long-term to execute your business strategy.

It’s about shifting mindsets from reactive to strategic.

By including workforce planning into strategic and operational planning you are ensuring your business can address: demographic changes – in skills, diversity and reskilling; reduce costs by refocusing effort where it is needed; manage talent by developing a talent pipeline and build capability in a market where talented employees form a competitive advantage for an organisation, and to maintain flexibility, in a landscape requiring adaptability to disruption and continuous innovation. 

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Where are you going and why?

It’s essential to analyse the current workforce against the future direction of the organisation and the landscape in which it operates. With strategic workforce planning, we’re not hiring and developing our people for the past, or even the present, but for where a larger organisational strategy is pointing us.

Future organisational strategy, therefore, includes an assessment of your current and predicted market, products, competition, external labour market, environmental factors such as trends, digital and other innovations, and from there, identifying future needs and anticipating the ‘gaps’. Maybe that will require building up your online sales experts or an internal eCommerce development team. It could mean retraining or redundancies in departments that are becoming obsolete or bringing in more diversity of thinking.

Being clear on your strategy is a big part of building a performance culture because where your business is going will inform who you hire, who you develop and the skills and capabilities you need to deliver that strategy. Continuous review of your workforce, as part of the planning process, and when impacted by unplanned internal or external factors will ensure your business is able to adapt to change, no matter where it comes from.

Using HR analytics in workplace planning  

Without a process of tracking and analysing data on your workforce such as workforce productivity, workforce demographics, skills and capabilities and comparing to sales data, organisational performance and metrics on culture, you’ll be planning ‘blind’. By understanding the strengths of your workforce, where you have skills gaps, lack of demographic spread, you are the best place to identify future gaps and build intelligent data, metrics and measures over time. These can be used to compare with other business indicators, environmental factors, performance measures and ensure you are placed to develop robust workforce plans. Asking the right questions at the right times, and ensuring these are done without discrimination is a component of best-practice workforce planning, which is now expected to incorporates diversity data. 

All too frequently, we see revolving door positions at a company. The title and responsibility remain the same, just the person changes. A more holistic look at the department structure, organisational aims and culture will indicate other moves, options and opportunities that could be made.

Strategic planning: who do you need now, and next?

To build a high-performance business tomorrow, you need to build a high-potential workforce today. Try the 9-box grid framework to manage talent and identify their career trajectory. Where each employee sits on the grid will determine what action needs to be taken to strengthen the workforce as a whole. 

The future is unpredictable, but by considering ‘knowns’ and exploring potential options can make a future more manageable. You may wish to create hypothetical scenarios of possible future outcomes (i.e., sales growth/decline, extended working from home scenarios,  prolonged recession, gaining venture capital for R&D investment), and map out the expected impact on departments.

Be prepared to re-engage those who sit at the bottom layer, as they could turn into stars

What is needed for the work of the future?

The National Skills Commission recently compiled its list of 25 frequently advertised “emerging occupations”, which include the following:

Data AnalyticsBusinessHealth
Data Analysts
Data Scientists
Data Engineers
Data Architects
Pricing Analysts
Agile Coaches
Develops Engineers
Logistics Analysts
Nurse Liaisons
Respiratory Therapists
Online EngagementEmerging AreasRegulatory
Digital Marketing Analysts 
Social Media Specialists
User Experience Analysts
Research Assistants
Risk Analysts
Regulatory Affairs Specialists
Energy Auditors
Compensation and Benefits Analysts
Sustainability Engineers
Solar Installers
Energy Efficiency Engineers
Wind Turbine Technicians
Hazardous Materials Labourers

The growing uptake of Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already affecting every industry. With remote work en-masse and resulting innovation in digital solutions the depth of understanding of the changing technology landscape is a must. Strategic workforce planning isn’t about the ‘far future’ of work. Transformation is happening now at an accelerated pace. 

Be aware of emerging workforce trends

Deloitte has prepared a report on the 5 workforce trends of 2021, which include:

  • Beyond Reskilling – unleashing workforce potential. During COVID-19, workers were required to expand their roles to whatever needed to be done, identifying critical needs and deploying capabilities from the bottom up. This will lead to organisations employing a workforce development approach that considers both the dynamic nature of jobs and the potential of workers to reinvent themselves. 
  • New Directions in Governing Workforce Strategies – with a better understanding of their workforce, organisations can challenge approaches to planning by asking different questions to meet constant change by thinking and looking ahead. This is dependant on having data and analytics on demographics, skills, and relevant insights for analysis.
  • Deloitte’s Hypothesis – we are entering a world where it is becoming paramount that organisations shift from using workforce insights to improve old patterns of work to using it to set new directions.

In addition, the growing realisation that a diverse workforce leads to greater innovation, improved staff engagement and ability to deliver services as well as higher productivity, organisations can utilise their diverse workforce to promote

Steps for effective strategic workforce planning

Here, we’ve summarised the six key steps to implementing workforce planning:

  1. Seek to understand the organisation and its environment now and in the future.
  2. Capture data on your current workforce, and develop clear dashboards to inform decisions.
  3. Identify future organisational needs and possibilities.
  4. Identify skill/capability/demographic gaps in the context of future needs
  5. Take action to address shortages and mismatches
  6. Monitor and evaluate the outcomes of actions, repeat.

The key to the whole process is collecting and maintaining data on an ongoing basis to assist with setting future direction. . Of value is to view org charts as they are, and how they’ve changed over time. This evolution alone can give insight into past performance in hiring and workforce/talent management.

Key Summary of Strategic Workforce Planning

The emerging trends for workforce planning in 2021 include embracing the external labour market, due in part to the largely positive experience in remote working through the 2020 pandemic. We’re also seeing a focus on tasks, rather than roles, and potential of people. A deeper analysis of any role allows us to see its parts, where those parts overlap with others and which activities are future-critical.

If you’re considering approaching your 2021 business goals through workforce planning, consider the following:

  • Workforce planning starts with your organisational strategy and business plan.
  • Hiring and staff development should be based on the organisation’s desired future outcomes while staying true to organisational purpose.
  • Use data from past and current performance to help predict gaps in your workforce. Use this data to model potential ‘futures’ and identify priority areas of focus.
  • Your plan should be flexible enough to evolve as situations change.
  • Workforce planning isn’t just about numbers; it’s also about skills, potential, deployment and building organisation capability.
  • No single formula exists that will give a ‘correct’ workforce plan, or way to roll it out. No one is “Homo Economicus”; always keep in mind the human story, and celebrate the diverse experiences people bring to the table. 

If you need assistance with workforce planning contact WCA Solutions today to arrange a meeting to discuss your needs on (08) 9383 3293 or

People strategies aligned to your organisational goals.

People strategies aligned to your organisational goals.

Have you planned for the changes coming at the end of September?

Have your goal posts changed much this year?

We have all faced significant challenges with the rapidly changing business environment and we have all had to continually adapt to survive as individuals and organisations, whether we have seen an increase in or decrease in the demand for our services. 

So how do you complete workforce planning when the future is so uncertain?

The Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme has assisted many organisations with temporary subsidies over this period of uncertainty. However, by the end of September, the initial scheme finishes and Job Keeper 2.0 commences with tighter eligibility requirements for organisations and reduced payments for employees. 

Many organisations will not be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0

These factors will force many employers to make difficult decisions regarding their workforce planning.

What is workforce planning?

Workforce planning put simply is: do you have the right people, in the right place, with the right capabilities, at the right time? This is difficult to achieve in uncertain times as organisations need to be ready to capitalise on any economic upswing and have the ability to mobilise a workforce quickly while also dealing with financial constraints

To gain a better understanding of operational needs, organisations should consider working through the following areas to have a better picture of their workforce;

  1. Clarify business strategy and workforce needs; 
  2. Analyse current make-up of the workforce; 
  3. Identify 2-3 future scenarios; and
  4. Determine gaps in existing skills, capabilities and competencies required to achieve strategic and operational goals for each of these scenarios.

On clarifying the points above, organisations can then proceed with strategies available to manage the immediate workforce and plan to meet future needs given their financial realities. 

What can we do?

Some of the strategies available to you are outlined below: 

  • Change roles and responsibilities of the current workforce  
  • Change working hours / days
  • Encourage employees to take leave 
  • Stand down some employees
  • Introduce flexible working arrangements
  • Introduce redundancies

What are the legal risks?

Most of the above actions require agreement from the employee and have other legislative compliance obligations. It is suggested you seek expert advice, prior to moving forward with any of these actions.

The area that continues to present the most risk is to introduce redundancies.  Redundancies may provide immediate relief of costs, however organisations are required to pay statutory entitlements on terminations which include accrued annual leave, long service leave, notice period and redundancy payments. In addition to the monetary entitlements, the organisation must follow a consultative process as prescribed in the applicable modern award or agreement to avoid unfair dismissal claims. 

The unwritten cost of redundancies is the loss of investment the organisation made in the training and development of the employee. When making a redundancy decision in this current climate, organisations should carefully consider if and when they do ramp up activities, the costs and time associated with rehiring and training a new employee quickly to continue to delivering a quality service or product to customers or clients.

Is your business equipped to review your workforce planning? Do you need help implementing strategies to ensure not only compliance but the best outcome for all involved? 

The current circumstances are complicated and constantly changing. We recommend you seek expert advice to help you make these decisions.

WCA Solutions can help
Contact WCA if you need any assistance with Human Resources or Industrial Relations
Call us on (08) 9383 3293, email 

Engage the right people to the team without paying a traditional placement fee.

Successful Recruitment Selection

We act as your HR team to advertise, screen, interview and check your applicants, but we don’t charge as a percentage of salary, we charge for the time it takes, often resulting in a significantly lower recruitment fee. Plus you are free to hire as many of your applicants as you like at no extra cost.

Clear Employment Contracts

We have over 20 years’ experience  working within the various Australian industrial relations state and federal systems so we can interpret the Fair Work Act 2009 and determine which Modern Awards apply to your business; the rates and entitlements you should be paying; and develop concise and compliant employment contracts.

Influential Inductions 

The first few days and weeks for a new employee can make or break the employment relationship, it’s important they get up to speed quickly and understand the key goals and objectives of their new role in your business…. “how we do things around here.”

Case study

A small Perth based consultancy in the building and construction industry was facing significant growth coupled with some maternity leave absences. WCA assisted in developing a work plan to meet immediate requirements, which resulted in the recruitment of key senior and administrative roles.  Under WCA’s hourly based model the consultancy paid a fee of just over half of what a typical recruitment agency would charge using the percentage of salary model.

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Enquire, understand and minimise your industrial relations risks.

Navigating the world of industrial relations and the Fair Work Act can be a minefield without the right knowledge and experience.

Are your human resources and industrial relations systems and process:

  • Legally compliant?
  • Accessible and easy to use?
  • Efficient and fit for purpose?
  • Reviewed regularly?
  • Aligned with current best practice?

Typically organisations develop systems and process organically over time, implementing them as they go. Often they are unwieldly for staff and management to navigate risking mismanagement and or inequities noticed by staff.

WCA can ensure your organisation’s systems and process are current, compliant and efficient by conducting an HR Audit ranging from a simple desktop audit to a comprehensive review incorporating on-line surveys with all employees through to detailed interviews with key senior staff to determine organisational capabilities and future requirements.

Case study

A Western Australian tourism business faced challenges determining minimum pay rates under the Modern Awards and sought to find a win-win scenario to pay staff appropriately without sending the business broke in penalty and overtime rates. WCA was able to assess Award requirements and recommend revised rostering to enable the business to operate profitably and remunerate and retain key staff.

WCA currently assists our clients with the following key compliance challenges:

  • Wage rates;
  • Award and agreement interpretation and/ or negotiation as required;
  • Employee minimum entitlements;
  • Redundancy advice, calculations and outplacement assistance;
  • Performance counselling and termination;
  • Absenteeism and attendance management;
  • Equal opportunity, bullying and harassment;
  • Unfair dismissals;
  • Workplace grievances and investigations; and
  • Workplace policies and procedures.

Case study

A small private Perth business sought to terminate the services of long standing senior sales employee who had lost the drive and motivation to perform to previous levels.  WCA was able to advise owners and management of the best approach and assist them to negotiate a positive outcome so both the owners and the employee parted amicably and with dignity and avoiding unnecessary antagonism, legal claims and excessive pay-outs.

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Energise and inspire through customised staff training and qualified coaching.


WCA has developed and delivered customised training programs to meet the needs of our varied client organisations across all industries. A training needs analysis can be conducted to determine the short and long term organisational requirements.

Here is the current top ten training workshops chosen by our clients:

  • Courageous Communication;
  • Recruitment & Selection Tips and Techniques;
  • Effective Performance Management;
  • Team Cohesion & Development;
  • Leadership Styles;
  • Delegating Well;
  • Counselling Coaching and Mentoring in Management;
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator®;
  • Negotiating the ‘Win Win’;
  • Successful Presenting.

Our programs are fun, interactive and deliver lasting results in small or large workshop sessions and/or weekend retreats.

Thank you for conducting the workshops, they were very well received. The ratings and comments highlight a very good results and response from our staff to the quality of the workshop and presentation. Reading through the comments, the final workshop obviously had a big impact on one of our staff members, who now feels ready to take another step in their career, which is great from all of our perspectives.
Chief Financial Controller, NS Projects

Heather brings great rapport and warmth to the group. We all felt very relaxed and she allowed us to be ourselves and brought out the best in us – thanks Heather.
Director, Matrix Partners


Professional coaching has become more prevalent in the business community in recent times.

Is this popularity due to the rapid pace of our modern lives? The continual improvements in technology enabling 24-7 availability? Is it just a fad?

Anecdotal and empirical evidence increasingly demonstrates the benefits of management and executive coaching to assist leaders develop and enhance professional performance and consequently improve the effectiveness of their organisations.

Our trained professional and accredited coaches work with individuals providing encouragement and support as well as challenge and reflection to enable this change.

The practice of helping a manager or executive to ‘do their job better’ requires more than a trainer to tell them what to do, true learning needs to grow from within.

Thanks Heather, I don’t know if people pass on their thanks to you often enough but clearly you are a big part in my transition through the organisation…so thanks.
Associate Director, NS Projects

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Enjoy a culture of choice and retain your key staff.

Establishing and maintaining a positive culture, which reflects the organisation’s values, is essential to attracting and retaining top employees.

For leaders, striking a balance between providing a workplace that is enjoyable and engaging, holding staff accountable to achieve business objectives, and rewarding staff appropriately, can be very challenging.

Culture & Engagement Surveys

As a leader you want metrics that can tell you if your staff are engaged…or if they are not, and why. WCA can identify valuable information regarding the current staff culture through a range of survey tools:

A simple, short online survey, which can be forwarded to all staff on a six monthly, quarterly, or more regular basis, providing the organisation with a quick and easy company climate “check-in”.

A comprehensive customised online survey that draws from a range of established survey tools, such as the Gallup Q12, to assess company values, culture and/or specific strategies. The survey enables you to evaluate and compare key staff demographic ratings within your organisation such as seniority, department, location, years of service and/or role.

Performance Management

There is a popular move away from formal performance management systems yet when you delve more deeply all organisations, large and small still have and need an informal or formal system to track and provide feedback to employees on their progress.  WCA will create a customised system to suit your business and and train your staff and management in best practice techniques.

Remuneration & Bonuses

It is important to keep in touch with the market and benchmark salaries against similar roles and organisations. WCA provides current and relevant data and tailors retention strategies to your business, such as bonus schemes to drive sales or motivate a team to work together.

Exit Processes

Obtaining and accurately assessing exit information is useful in understanding why staff choose to leave. WCA can customise processes, complete exit interviews as an independent third party, and collate statistical information simply for the organisation.

Case study

WCA completed a culture survey for a mid-tier Accounting practice. Whilst better than expected results were reported by most staff demographics across the firm, poor results were recorded in relation to remuneration and reward.  Having highlighted these key metrics, remuneration disparity was rectified. WCA provides bi-annual remuneration benchmarking data to the firm and implemented policies and procedures to support continued flexible work practices.

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Evolve by building capabilities and plans to adapt.

In a world of disruption most employees find it difficult to adapt to workplace change, which may include anything from a merger or restructure, through to moving offices or implementing new policies and procedures.

Whether you are reshaping businesses strategy, introducing new processes or improving current systems, approaching change can be a daunting task, with numerous issues to consider to minimise employee resistance and negative impacts upon the business.

WCA is able to provide professional expertise in this area, applying established change management frameworks, such as the ADKAR model and Kotter’s Eight Step methodology, to assist organisations develop and implement a change management strategy. Typically chase phases include:

  • Phase 1: Establish and plan – create the environment for change 
  • Phase 2: Build and implement – engage and enable the change
  • Phase 3: Support and sustain the change

WCA aligns change strategies to organisational key change objectives, focussing on both external and internal stakeholders across the fundamental areas of People, Processes and Communication, and can be fully managed and implemented by WCA or in conjunction with internal resources.

Case study

WCA was the appointed Change Manager for the Interdepartmental Committee – Queensland Government Procurement (IDC).  The aim was to improve the whole of government approach, effectiveness and accountability of the Queensland Government procurement function across the state.  WCA developed an initial overarching change management strategy and subsequently delivered a Change Management Plan in the form of a practical tool designed to enable the achievement of the project vision and objectives.

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Expert human resources at your fingertips.

We work with you as your HR team, providing the right blend of senior, highly experienced staff to provide strategic advice and design best practice programs through to more junior staff to efficiently screen multiple CVs or administer program implementation.

We can be based at your offices or from our WCA office on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or as and when you require assistance with an issue, whether it is working through a redundancy, investigating a grievance or developing an employment contract for a new hire.

We can provide the time and expertise that you may not otherwise have in your business.

Our capability is in providing the people and culture skills, systems and structure that are tried and tested.

Our approach is to work from within, as one of your team.

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