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Procedure: Workforce planning


To establish the procedures for workforce planning as provided for under the Developing a sustainable workforce policy.


  1. Workforce planning is part of the overall process of developing a sustainable workforce which requires a:
  1. workforce plan that identifies broad current and future workforce needs; and
  2. succession plans which identify specific replacement strategies at an individual staff or group level.
  1. Workforce planning is a process that is focused on understanding current and future workforce needs and taking steps to ensure these needs are met. It is a continuous process of shaping the workforce to ensure that it is capable of delivering University objectives now and into the future. This includes:
  1. understanding the characteristics of the current workforce;
  2. identifying key risks and issues in delivering the University’s strategic objectives;
  3. deciding what work needs to be undertaken and how it would be best undertaken, by which staff;
  4. understanding how many staff are required and their key capabilities, and where staff can be sourced from; and
  5. developing approaches that minimise or resolve the risks or issues.
  1. Ensuring the University has the right people with the right skills at the right time is critical to meeting the University's research and education objectives, as well as meeting staffing and financial budgets. Effective workforce planning will enable the University to respond to changes in priorities, emerging skills needs, staff turnover, development of staff and career planning and retention of critical staff skills.

Developing a College / Division workforce plan

  1. Developing a workforce plan involves a structured and systematic analysis of the current and future workforce, issues and risks, an assessment of existing strategies and the development of new strategies to ensure leadership continuity and sustainable teaching and research activities.
  2. The workforce plan will need to be integrated and aligned with the College / Division strategic and operational plans, including but not limited to:
  1. the ANU Strategic Plan;
  2. College/Division strategic plans;
  3. Research Committee and Education Committee priorities;
  4. annual Executive planning priorities; and/or
  5. marketing and development priorities.
  1. A College/Division plan will normally state the direction of the College/Division for a period of up to five years, specifically defining what research themes and priorities and educational programs and offerings will be pursued and what may need to be reviewed for relevance and impact. These components will then determine in broad terms, the critical resource issues (e.g. budget, staffing, accommodation, etc.) and their phasing over the planned period.
  2. A College/Division plan should anticipate the future workforce needs - who is retiring and when, how talent should be sourced, new areas opening in the discipline, what is unsustainable – and identify best case, worse case and most probable scenarios.
  3. A College/Division plan which includes workforce planning does not replace individual performance planning and discussions, or budgeting and financial planning. A workforce plan supports the College/Division strategic objectives and resource decisions to ensure that future staffing arrangements are sustainable and integrated.

Step 1: Developing a current workforce profile

  1. The methodology utilised in preparing a workforce profile may involve quantitative and qualitative data relying on electronic and documentary data sources, surveys, focus groups/workshops, and semi-structured interviews.
  2. A workforce profile will generally include standard workforce information, such as workforce demographics specific to the College/Division, and may include:
  1. number of staff by full-time equivalent and headcount;
  2. workforce by employment type – continuing, continuing (contingent funded), full time, part time, casual
  3. age, location, gender, tenure;
  4. critical roles and risk areas;
  5. KPI’s;
  6. relevant survey data eg intention to stay, engagement;
  7. vacancies;
  8. turnover, and
  9. workload data.

Step 2: Identifying the key workforce risks and issues

  1. Relying on the workforce profile and consultation with key stakeholders, an assessment of the key workforce issues and risks should be undertaken.
  2. The University's Entity-wide Risk Profile and Risk Assessment Matrix may provide assistance in identifying, analysing and managing the risks and issues to be addressed.

Step 3: Identifying future workforce needs

  1. Future workforce needs will be based on the impact of a number of factors, and may include:
  1. changes in research funding / student numbers / service use;
  2. changes in government research priorities;
  3. growth/decline in available budget, and/or
  4. introduction of new programs or services, an expansion of existing programs or services, or a change to existing delivery of programs or services.
  1. All expansion initiatives will need to be accompanied by an identification of the workforce implications, including additional workforce requirements and effects upon the existing workforce.

Step 4: Developing strategies

  1. Strategies to address the identified workforce risks and issues should focus on relevant structural or style elements e.g. chronologically (now, soon, later), function (teaching, research, service, governance), disciplines, or an inputs-process-strategic priorities outcomes map (for staff, IT, accommodation, or students).
  2. The strategies developed need to be integrated and consistent with existing plans and goals (individual and organisational) so that there is no inherent conflict or confusion.
  3. Identifying and grouping issues, and ranking their importance (e.g. using a simple matrix to plot Likelihood by Impact), will clarify what needs to be addressed now, soon or later.

Reviewing & evaluating

  1. The Human Resources Division will evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the ANU's workforce planning framework on a regular basis.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Workforce planning
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000808
Purpose To establish the procedures for workforce planning.
Audience Staff, Staff-Professional, Staff-Academic
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff - Employment of Staff
Effective Date 1 Apr 2019
Next Review Date 31 Dec 2024
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Human Resources Division
Delegations 0

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