Organizational Wellness

7 Essential Workforce Planning Tools to Boost Any HR Strategy

Feb 28, 2023
Last Updated May 22, 2024

Imagine you’re watching your favorite team in the Super Bowl. The game is a nailbiter, and it goes right down to the wire. Your team has a chance to win it at the end by kicking a field goal on the very last play. They send the kicking team out, only they’ve spent too much time developing their running backs, and not their kicker. 

Call it bad luck or terrible roster management, but they aren’t prepared for every scenario. The chance at a championship is squandered. And the same situation could happen at your organization without proper talent management and workforce planning. Are you using people analytics, models, and tools to effectively manage and deploy your workers? 

If not, you could be missing clear gaps in talent and labor needs. But those gaps may not become obvious until crucial business objectives are on the line — your very own wasted “Super Bowl” moments for your company.

Tools and processes help you proactively manage your workforce planning systems so that you can predict future talent needs, streamline planning tasks, and accurately assess business potential. Here are seven essential workforce planning tools that every HR professional should know about.

  1. 9-Box Grid

A 9-box grid is an effective way to assess employees’ performance and potential to determine who might be ready for promotion. It helps identify high and low performers, as well as those with the most potential so leaders can make informed decisions on personnel for succession planning.

This tool maps out your team members’ relative strengths and weaknesses in a simple matrix format.


  • Highly customizable: Organizations can adjust the criteria of the grid so that it meets specific workforce needs such as job roles, competencies, or performance metrics.
  • Improved talent management: 9-box grids help uncover hidden pockets of talent in the organization, so you can better target your training and development resources.
  • Clear visibility into competencies: By visualizing employee performance and potential, it enables managers to quickly identify gaps or changes in the talent pool. That data can then inform strategic decisions such as succession planning.

Ultimately, the 9-Box grid provides an effective way for employers to assess current staff and plan for future workforce requirements. Organizations can save time and money while maximizing their human capital investments.

  1. Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a method of anticipating hypothetical workforce scenarios like financial models and industry-wide changes. The purpose is to predict the internal and external factors that could impact your workforce management efforts and, in turn, key business goals. You carry it out by identifying all possible outcomes of a particular choice and planning contingencies to solve for them.


  • Helps identify risks: By anticipating potential challenges, organizations can prepare for and mitigate any risks before they become a problem.
  • Informs strategic decisions: Scenario planning can help employers understand the potential impact of various workforce changes, so they can plan big-picture decisions accordingly.
  • Enables quick response to changing conditions: You’ll project several different paths forward with scenario planning. It empowers you to quickly adapt and respond if something unexpected happens so you can refocus your initiatives.

Through scenario planning, you can make effective workforce planning decisions around hiring, training, and developing your employees. You’ll be equipped to jump on new opportunities and handle shifting business climates.

  1. Competency Modeling

Competency modeling is an important tool for understanding each employee’s skills, abilities, and experience levels. Employers assess these characteristics to determine how well each person might be suited for a particular job or task.

This model involves analyzing employee performance as well as identifying potential gaps in knowledge and skills. With this data, employers can better target their career development efforts.


  • Insight into workforce performance: Competency modeling provides clear visibility into the strengths and weaknesses of your team. It helps employers know who is excelling and where more training is needed.
  • Improved engagement: Employees benefit from competency models too because it allows them to see their progress and gain a better understanding of their career paths. This can help foster a positive work environment and higher engagement levels across the board.
  • Allows for more strategic hiring: Employers can use competency models to identify particular skillsets or attributes they’re looking for in job candidates, so they can make more informed decisions when they’re recruiting.

  1. Workforce Analytics Platforms

A workforce analytics platform uses data around performance, retention, and development to provide actionable insights into your workforce’s potential. This type of workforce planning software usually features tools for creating reports and dashboards that enable employers and HR teams to track key workforce metrics.


  • Data-driven decision-making: The data from these platforms can give employers real-time insight into their current workforce, helping them make more informed decisions.
  • Predictive analytics: Some platforms are also equipped with predictive analytics tools that can help you anticipate future trends or personnel needs.
  • Ease of use: HR analytics platforms typically offer user-friendly interfaces, customizable features, and automation to easily access and act on employee data.

Workforce analytics can empower employers to make more efficient use of resources, increase productivity levels, and improve workforce outcomes.

  1. Benefits Analysis

A benefits analysis is used to evaluate how companies can adjust their benefits programs to attract and retain the best talent. It involves looking at cost-benefit ratios of potential changes, such as offering more competitive vacation and sick leave or health insurance plans.


  • More competitive recruitment: Having attractive perks can help you stand out from the competition and attract job candidates with benefits they value. According to Gallup, 64% of job seekers say they’re looking for a significant increase in pay or benefits.
  • Increased retention: Understanding employees’ needs can help you create more personalized benefits packages that encourage them to stay with your organization.
  • Cost-effective solutions: A benefits analysis looks at the cost of providing certain benefits, so you can identify ways to maximize ROI and ensure you’re getting the most out of your package.

By conducting a comprehensive analysis, employers can make sure that their perks are competitive and updated for the current market conditions.

  1. Strategic Planning Toolkit

A strategic planning toolkit contains all the tools and templates an employer uses to predict future staffing needs and create strategic workforce plans. It helps employers execute workforce planning processes such as gap analysis, job and talent mapping, goal setting, and performance management.


  • Reduces complexity: A strategic plan helps simplify the overall process by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Increases accuracy: Having an organized set of steps, templates, and spreadsheets helps ensure that your human resources workforce plan is accurate and complete.
  • Streamlines the planning process: This toolkit can help employers save time in their workforce planning efforts so they can focus on other areas of the business.

A strategic planning toolkit provides employers with the resources they need to develop their workforce and ensure that their people initiatives are aligned with business goals.

  1. Talent Development Program

Talent development or professional development programs are designed to help employers identify, develop, and retain high-potential team members. It usually includes initiatives such as onboarding/mentorship activities, specialized training courses, and career planning resources that enable employers to maximize their human capital investments.


  • Improves employee engagement: Giving employees the resources they need to reach their personal goals is a great way to improve job satisfaction and keep them engaged.
  • Upskills the workforce to fill in gaps: Among 5,000 people surveyed by Degreed, 41% said that a lack of confidence and upskilling hinders their performance. Using a talent development program helps employers build the skills needed for future success.
  • Retains top talent: By investing in employees’ career paths, employers can ensure that their best talent stays with the organization.

Career development programs help employers recognize and cultivate their most valuable resources — their people. They can establish a culture of learning and help employees build on soft skills to grow into their future roles.

Don’t Leave Out Corporate Wellness

Employers shouldn’t forget about corporate wellness programs as a tool for improved workforce management. These initiatives have been shown to reduce sickness and absenteeism, improve employee morale, and even boost productivity levels. Focusing on employee health is key to effective workforce planning.

Benefits such as gym memberships, health screenings, or stress management courses can be a great way to show team members that you care about their wellbeing. They all make for great pieces of any wellness program, but every organization has different needs. Talk to one of our Wellbeing Specialists today to find out what’s best for your workforce!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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