Home 9 Five Rights of Strategic Workforce Planning

Integrating workforce supply and demand analysis into the strategic planning cycle ensures organisations have the ‘Five Rights’ – the right size, in the right location (place), at the right shape, at the right cost and with the right skills.


Below is a guide of key questions to ask, so as to assess the current and future workforce requirements.


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How to get the most out of it


1.      The 5 rights of strategic workforce planning and key questions to ask provides a guide to users to assess their current and future workforce requirements.


2.      By answering these questions, you will be scanning the external environment and identifying both opportunities and threats.


3.      Attempt to answer all the questions to help you have a better understanding of the gaps and follow up actions to be taken to address them.


4.      This template works best with inputs and answers from your business leaders and line managers.  We encourage you to involve your business teams early in the planning process


5.      Depending on your industry and pace of change, its recommended you run this exercise at least once a year.







  1. Right size – The number of people for the jobs and skills needed to achieve your strategic goals efficiently and effectively.


Key Questions to ask

  • Is the workload of your employees significantly increasing or decreasing?
  • Are there disruptions in the market environment that will impact your staffing needs?
  • Do you face any major people shortages in any critical areas, now or in the future?
  • Is there room to reduce your workforce in any areas? n Does it make sense to outsource non-core business processes?
  • Is technology leading to more changes, or causing productivity issues?
  • Are new technologies driving changes to your structure or productivity? This can dramatically change the number of people you need. Are you ready?


  1. Right location – Availability of people with the right capabilities at the right locations to meet changing requirements.


Key Questions to ask

  • Are people in different job families in the right locations?
  • Do strategic shifts (e.g. globalisation) require a different distribution of staff across regions or locations?
  • Will you get additional resources where you need them?
  • Are you currently in a high-cost area, and should you relocate resources to cheaper areas?
  • Do you have critical mass in the right locations?


  1. Right shape – The right composition of workforce, in terms of structure and purpose, as well as the appropriate demographic mix.


Key Questions to ask

  • Are you strong enough in your core capabilities? Do you need to spend money and energy on peripheral capabilities?
  • Are your people in the right roles and places?
  • Is distribution across job grades in line with organisational requirements?
  • Will your workforce have the right demographic structure and mix of diversity?
  • Do you see your diversity programmes as a constraint, or as an opportunity to become more competitive?
  • Is there an appropriate balance of operations, project, development and managerial positions?






  1. Right cost – An effective staff/cost ratio – current and forecast – generating the desired profit and growth.


Key Questions to ask

  • What are the benchmarks for our people costs? How can we optimise these costs?
  • Will we have the right staff/cost ratio in the future if we continue as we are?
  • Will staff costs rise in line with expected revenues?
  • Do we have staff in the right locations from a cost perspective? Could we move to a more cost-effective location?


  1. Right skills – Clarity about the capabilities necessary to meet future goals and bridge current gaps.


Key Questions to ask

  • How do your strategy and evolving business model impact strategic capabilities?
  • Are your technological ‘bets’ supported by an internal skill set?
  • Do you have the right skills to deliver key processes in the future?
  • What are the critical capabilities for your organisation?
  • In which job families will the required skill profiles change significantly?