Workforce Planning and Job Architecture for Business Growth

Jun 28, 2024 | Listen

Workforce Planning and Job Architecture for Business Growth

To grow your business, workforce planning is key.  It makes sure that you have the right people in the right roles at the right time.  But implementing workforce planning can be overwhelming if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it’s about. 

So, what makes up workforce planning exactly?

Who does it involve? 

How do you align it with your business operations? 

And how do you assess its impact?

Carol Fraser: Workforce Alignment for sustainable business growth

In this episode, Carol Fraser and I discuss workforce planning, and its critical role in business growth. We also break down actionable insights on how you can bring it into your business, including optimizing talent alignment and job architecture in your HR requirements.

Timestamps for this week’s episode

02:04 What is Workforce Planning

04:43 Five essential inputs for effective workforce planning

24:31 Common workforce planning mistakes and how to address them 

32:49 Job description vs job architecture

36:56 Actionable steps to take in implementing workforce planning

What is Workforce Planning

Workforce planning is the strategic process of assessing your organization’s HR needs, from inputs like talent and resources to outputs, which are the desired business outcomes to ensure that your workforce is aligned with your business goals and financial objectives. 

It involves evaluating your current talent pool, considering market availability, and determining whether to build or buy talent. By starting with a broader vision of your people strategy, you can better recruit, train, and engage employees, ultimately driving success in line with your overall business strategy and financial plans.

Workforce planning is who is going to help you get the work done and is directly linked to your strategic plan and your financial plan.

Five essential inputs for effective workforce planning

The five essential inputs for effective workforce planning are:

  1. External Market Data Analysis: 

Try to gain a deeper understanding of the current employment landscape. Take a look at market trends and talent availability so you can make informed decisions about hiring and how to allocate your people resources. Don’t blindly follow what the media is saying and instead thoroughly analyze if there really is a talent shortage or maybe there is a surplus. 

  1. Internal Stakeholder Expectations: 

Talk to your key stakeholders and get inputs from them –  your board members, investors, and founders. This will help you match your workforce planning efforts with the main objectives of your company. This will also help you clarify expectations to prevent misunderstandings and to make sure everything is strategically aligned.

  1. Job Content Evaluation: 

This is a foundational piece for your business – when you identify the core roles and responsibilities needed for success.  You’ll have to assess your staffing needs at different stages of growth and determine the ideal mix of full-time employees, part-time staff, and consultants.

  1. Employee Experience Consideration: 

The employee experience is often overlooked by many businesses and organizations but it is actually a critical piece for retaining talent and nurturing a positive work environment. Factors such as remote work policies, communication tools, and organizational culture should be carefully thought out to make sure that your employees are engaged and satisfied.

  1. Alignment with Strategy and Priorities: 

Finally, all workforce planning efforts must align with the main goals, strategies, and priorities of your business. This will guarantee that all hiring decisions and employee experiences will contribute directly to achieving these objectives and drive business growth.

“Whether you’re a $5 million or $5 billion company…if you don’t have some way to transfer knowledge…whatever you don’t have written down, you’ve lost that IP completely.” – Carol Fraser

Common workforce planning mistakes

One common mistake in workforce planning involves individuals relying solely on their personal past experiences to inform decision-making. This is usually what happens in smaller companies or with new founders who draw heavily from their own limited experiences when making decisions about hiring, team structure, and career paths. 

Instead of considering a wider range of reasons or factors, such as the unique needs of both the company and its employees, these decision-makers may overlook important aspects of workforce planning. They then fail to address issues related to job complexity, career progression, and aligning individual goals with organizational objectives.

Workforce planning needs to be owned by everyone in the organization who's a decision maker.

Job description vs job architecture

Job descriptions and job architecture are two distinct factors in your HR arsenal yet play complementary roles.

Job descriptions outline the specific roles, responsibilities, and qualifications needed for a position, including essential functions, technical skills, and education/experience criteria. They may also include competencies and values relevant to your company culture. 

Job architecture, on the other hand, offers a broader perspective, focusing on the complexity of the role, and how much autonomy the candidate will have and need and even decision-making, and leadership requirements. It makes sure that there is equity and consistency across similar positions, to prevent disparities in expectations and engagement levels. By defining roles internally based on complexity and accountability, job architecture promotes fairness and clarity in your “people” operations, guiding employees and managers towards a shared understanding of performance expectations and career opportunities.

“If somebody isn’t showing the behaviors that align to your values – if you’re defining that it’s part of the job – then absolutely put them in your job description because you want to hold them accountable to that.” –  Carol Fraser

Actionable step to take in implementing workforce planning

Start by identifying the gaps in your current operations. Check where your business is doing well and where it’s falling short. Focus on the areas where you feel uncomfortable or where you know improvements are needed. Once you’ve identified these gaps, develop a plan to address them, whether it’s hiring new talent, improving processes, or refining your business strategy. By proactively addressing these challenges, you’ll find your business in a better position to achieve sustainable growth and success.


  • Workforce planning aligns HR needs with business goals by evaluating talent, market trends, and recruitment strategies.

  • Key inputs for effective workforce planning include market analysis, stakeholder expectations, job evaluation, employee experience, and strategic alignment.

  • A common mistake in workforce planning is relying solely on personal experiences, overlooking critical factors like job complexity and career alignment.

  • Job descriptions define roles and qualifications, while job architecture ensures consistency and fairness across positions.

  • To implement workforce planning in your business, Identify operational gaps, assess strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to address talent, processes, or strategy for sustainable growth.


Read More

About guest – Carol Fraser

Workforce Planning Expert 

Fractional HR Executive

Carol Fraser specializes in workforce planning and strategic HR leadership, offering cost-effective fractional HR executive services. With a track record spanning diverse industries, Carol helps organizations anticipate talent needs, optimize workforce deployment, and drive sustainable growth. Her approach is imbued with a coaching mindset, focusing on possibilities, removing assumptions, and empowering through education. From startups to multinational corporations, Carol’s strategic insights and practical approach empower businesses to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Website –

Contact her to optimize your HR strategy for success 

Workforce Planning PDFs

Workforce Planning.pdf


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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