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2. Gather Information

When gathering the information needed for workforce planning, you will need to consider the quality and reliability of your workforce information systems. Most of your basic data can be found in the payroll system, though you will need to consider the quality and reliability of that information when using the data to inform decisions on your workforce plan.

Workforce data collection does not have to be complex, and workforce planning can be successful with limited data. Consultation with managers, business advisors and your workforce can be just as (or more) effective than collecting data from the systems. If you are lacking confidence in your data quality and reliability at the moment, develop a plan to increase the accuracy and integrity of data collection for the future.

Checklist 1: Workforce planning: am I ready? (PDF, 109KB) 

This checklist can assist you in determining whether you are ready to commence workforce planning in your business.

Workforce planning is about your workforce, the people who will deliver your business’ products and services to your customers. To ensure you are best positioned to have the right people, right skills, right numbers, at the right time and place doing the right things, you need to be clear about your business goals. Capturing this information upfront helps to articulate the linkage between your business and workforce requirements.

  • What are the products or services that your business produces or provides?
  • What are your business goals over the relevant time period, for example, 12 months?
  • What are the key challenges in achieving these goals?
  • What are the skills that the workforce needs to deliver these products and services so that your business goals are achieved?


  Template 2: Knowing your business and workforce (DOCX, 48KB)

This template will help you understand your business direction and workforce considerations.

The current state of your workforce can be referred to as workforce supply and can be shown through workforce data. The analysis should use the most recent data available, although historical workforce data are also helpful. While there is not a set period for workforce history collection, data should cover the previous 12 months as a minimum.

It is possible that some of the workforce data are not available at the commencement of the workforce planning process. Where data are missing, the use of anecdotal information or assumptions should be considered. Both are viable alternatives and, if used, should be documented.


The presentation of workforce data should occur in a way that allows analysis of the information. Different ways to present the data can include graphs to show how information changes over time, i.e. workforce size, workforce age profile, turnover trends. This information is important as it provides your business with a clear view of the current state and the baseline data for your
future workforce analysis.

 Template 3 (DOCX, 53KB) is to capture the key data of your current workforce.

  Fact Sheet 2 (PDF, 67KB) will show you how to calculate workforce turnover.

  Template 4 (DOCX, 51 KB) considers your current workforce supply against future demand and the resulting gap .

Understanding your future workforce needs is about estimating the number and types of employees required to deliver on your business strategy and goals. The workforce planning process that aims to identify your future workforce is referred to as demand forecasting. The workforce demand forecasting process is designed to answer the following key questions in
relation to the business plan timeframe.

What types of skills will be required?

  • How many jobs will be required for the future?
  • What number of people will be required for each role?
  • What roles will be hard to fill, central to business capability and can take a long lead-in time to build the required skills?

After considering your future workforce requirements, you will now have your future workforce demand data. This information can be presented in graphical ways that will allow your business to have a clear view of its future workforce needs.

Now you can match your workforce supply data to your demand data and, in doing so, identify your workforce gaps. You will need to identify strategies and actions to close these workforce gaps. These strategies and actions will form the basis of your workforce plan that you will then need to prioritise, implement, monitor and review.

Gather information checklist

I understand:

what I need to do to prepare to undertake workforce planning for my business


my business direction and workforce considerations


how to calculate workforce turnover


my current workforce profile


what my current workforce supply against future demand and the resulting gap could look like


You’re ready to move on to the next stage – Identify issues and find solutions

Identify issues and find solutions icon