Skip to main content

Article 1 min read

Workforce planning template: 7 examples + tips

Even the best strategy can fail without a comprehensive checklist. Check out our seven workforce planning templates to nail your organizational strategy.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated June 11, 2024

What is a workforce planning template?

A workforce planning template is a guide that helps a business align its workforce with future goals and objectives. Through strategic questions and steps, an organization can evaluate the current status of its employees and identify opportunities for training, hiring, succession planning, and more.

In the American National Football League (NFL), teams don’t just happen to win the Super Bowl.

Sure, there are star players and strong offensive lines, but championships are won by well-rounded teams, goal setting, and game-day strategies—all of which require plenty of forethought, planning, and hard work.

Successful organizations draft and develop new talent, acquire impact players through trades and free agency, and start looking ahead when star players are nearing retirement. Championship franchises follow a proven framework—one you can emulate in your operations.

Workforce planning templates set businesses up for success by aligning organizational goals with business needs. These templates can help with retirement planning initiatives, identify individual and departmental skill gaps, and shine a light on customer service metrics. Read on to learn how you can set up an organizational dynasty with workforce planning templates.

More in this guide:

Why do you need a workforce planning template?

A business should use workforce planning templates because they provide a framework for organizational success.

After all, a company is only as successful as its team is, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on agent productivity, competency of the workforce, and future staffing levels. Workforce planning templates can assist in several key areas:

  • New hire planning: When organizations identify future talent gaps, they can plan and deploy hiring initiatives to help prevent turnover and maintain an optimal number of employees.
  • Training opportunities: Templates can identify where improvements are needed to foster career development and ensure staff members consistently thrive.
  • Resignations and retirements: With a proper plan, organizations can combat planned resignations by identifying successors and implementing transition plans, reducing the impact of talent loss.
  • Organizational planning: When workforce managers think long-term with workforce planning templates, they can stay ahead of industry trends and maintain market strength.

7 workforce planning templates

Now, let’s look at seven planning templates that can aid in your workforce strategy.

1. Strategic workforce planning template

Best for initial workforce planning

When first creating a workforce plan, you need to evaluate your organization from every angle. Our strategic workforce planning template provides a high-level overview of your current and future goals, staffing needs, and training requirements. From here, you can build strategic direction and implement initiatives to improve your organization and foster a modern employee experience.

a template for conducting strategic workforce planning.

Download template

2. Workforce development plan template

Best for employee development

To remain competitive in the marketplace, businesses need to invest in their employees. Use this template to evaluate individual staff members to get a sense of their career goals and any training or action steps they’ll need to take. This development plan can also play a helpful role in retention, identifying new skill sets, and employee experience journey mapping.

a template for conducting workforce development.

Download template

3. Workforce gap analysis template

Best for identifying employee and team-wide training opportunities

With this template, businesses can identify gaps and shortages in employee and organizational skill levels. The template includes space for the desired proficiency, action plans for improvements, and timelines. When a company knows the skills and shortcomings of its employees, it can engage in training exercises and product supplementation to help them perform their duties more effectively.

a template for conducting workforce gap analysis

Download template

4. Workforce transition plan template

Best for planned retirements and other planned role changes

Workforce change is inevitable. Organizations should adequately plan for retirements and resignations, especially for high-level roles. Complete with checklists and transition dates, this template can help a business plan for future role changes to ensure incoming employees don’t miss a beat in their new roles.

a template for creating workforce transition plans

Download template

5. Workforce labor forecasting template

Best for forecasting future labor needs

Businesses need to plan for internal and external trends affecting future day-to-day operations. This template features entries and questions that allow you to comprehensively analyze the demographics and status of your workforce. Doing so can help you create effective action plans and training regimens for you and your employees.

a template for conducting workforce labor forecasting.

Download template

6. Workforce individual analysis template

Best for analyzing a workforce on a more individual level

Use the workforce individual analysis template to evaluate your workforce as a sum of its parts. Enter employees’ information to see a side-by-side comparison of team and departmental experience, skill level, salary, and more. This process can highlight areas of improvement and help businesses set new strategic goals and implement employee development initiatives—factors that can improve employee engagement.

a template for conducting individual workforce analysis.

Download template

7. Customer service workforce template

Best for examining departmental customer service levels

Providing an outstanding customer experience (CX) should be at the top of every company’s priority list. How you treat and assist customers directly impacts how successful you’ll be in acquiring new business and building long-term relationships. Our customer service workforce template has entries for analyzing the six customer service metrics every support team should track.

a template for conducting customer service workforce analysis.

Download template

Bring more clarity to your workforce planning with our checklist

Download our workforce planning steps checklist—a free document that provides a road map for how to proceed with workforce management initiatives.

How to introduce a workforce planning template to your team

Creating a successful workforce planning template is only half the battle. Ensure your organization commits to the new strategy so operations go as planned. Here are some ways you can do that.

Create a unified vision

Every team member needs to align with your workforce planning template. Share it with key stakeholders—like managers, HR professionals, department heads, your collective internal help desk, and other relevant members of your organization—so everyone knows the purpose of your new strategy. You can ensure smooth implementation when all personnel are on the same page and understand their roles in the workforce plan.

Establish benchmarks for success

Workforce planning templates can create organizational success, but their effectiveness depends on your own benchmarks. Don’t just introduce a new template—introduce it with clear and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and workforce data. By defining goals, you give your organization the direction needed to fully maximize your new strategy.

Stay flexible

Just because you develop a workforce planning template doesn’t mean it’s the be-all and end-all of your organizational strategy. As time progresses, check in on those previously established benchmarks to monitor your performance. If you need to make strategy adjustments, don’t feel shackled by your current plan, and revise it if necessary.

Explore outside tools like help desk software or employee experience software if you think it will make your organization productive.

Optimize your workforce planning and workforce management with Zendesk and Tymeshift

Workforce planning templates can help you establish an organizational dynasty, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Workforce management (WFM) is a set of processes businesses use to manage employees and resources and to optimize productivity—and WFM strategies can inform your planning.

That said, performing WFM can be time-consuming, especially if you’re using spreadsheets. When you manage people, conduct scheduling, and need to understand your employees’ activity, a WFM tool can help—that’s where we come in.

To expand on our world-class customer service capabilities, we’ve acquired Tymeshift, a workforce management solution built just for Zendesk. With the power of both products, you can create a seamless workforce management and customer support ecosystem that can optimize your operations.

Start a free trial of Tymeshift today.

Related stories

13 min read

Employee recognition: Why it matters + how to deliver it

Employee recognition reinforces positive performance and shows your appreciation for good work. Learn how to deliver better recognition with this guide.

1 min read

Employee leave: An essential guide for 2024

Employee leave is a fact of life across all industries, including customer service. Discover who qualifies for leaves of absence and learn more about them in our comprehensive guide.

1 min read

23 employee perks to empower your team

Keep your employees happy by offering perks that support their productivity, health, and emotional well-being. Learn the best perks for employees in this guide.

1 min read

Direct from Relate 2024—with Zappos Insights co-creator Robert Richman

Join us in Las Vegas where we sat down with Robert Richman, author of The Culture Blueprint, and had attendees place their bets on the future of customer service.