“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin


The future is here. Business leaders need to incorporate thinking about the future into their workforce planning process. Plans around talent need to be fluid and flexible. Organisations can increase employee retention and appeal to prospective employees by incorporating talent flexibility and adaptability into workforce planning for the next three to five years. Business leaders and HR Managers need to ascertain the talent required to help their businesses thrive and, in a near post-covid world, are competent and adequate. This they would do by assessing their current capabilities and envisaging what talent requirement may look like in three to five years. Discussions around how to plan the workforce requirements and building capacity internally must become intentionally frequent.


Many organisations have evolved and pivoted completely to survive in this new world of work. Forced change and innovation has led to new target customers, new products going to market and new business models; it is only imperative to plan for how employees will embrace new skillsets by planning for the future workforce.


Important questions to consider and factor when planning for the workforce include:

  1. What skillsets and capabilities will be required for the needs of the future of our business?
  2. What will the expectations of future talent be like?


Organisations that are a step ahead of their competitors in the new normal understand the importance of planning right for the workforce by recruiting right, choosing skilled and qualified talent. Agile business leaders are also planning from a contingent workforce’s perspective, that is, contractors and other workers whom you engage on a need-to-need basis. Covid-19 has left many without employment, and this will likely cause a boom in the gig market, leading business leaders with the task of identifying individuals who will best fit into their organisation’s culture and post-Covid structure.


A lot of change is occurring all at once in the workplace and globally. Business leaders will be identified as leaders or laggards by the workforce plans they adopt. Irrespective of whether an organisation embraces the need to plan their workforce needs effectively and align with the new normal, change is happening. How fast organisations can align their people and operations to the new normal’s demands and what the future holds will determine their positioning as things unfold. Some organisations may never catch up or recover from the consequences of the fear of embracing change. In planning for the new normal workforce, we must strategise in line with our current capacity and not mirror competition. We must build the workforce around our unique selling point or competitive advantage. One will require a lot of creativity and innovative thinking for this process.


The hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.” In the business world, the quote has often been used to illustrate the need for innovation.  The lesson is that as a business, you must make incremental adjustments to how the world is moving rather than try to predict where the world is going to be. Brian Kropp, Group Vice President and Chief of Research at Gartner’s HR practice, recommends organisations adjusting their workforce plan every three months while maintaining a broad, long-term vision of three to five years. For example, Skills requirements across organisations are changing faster than ever, so Kropp says the key is to hire for broad skill sets and then train narrowly as needs develop.


Meeting the future workforce needs could become the next big competitive differentiator. At pcl. we have mastered the skill of working with organisations of different sizes who play in both the private and public sector to plan their workforce needs, especially in the new normal. We leverage our 28 years of experience to help our clients navigate this terrain with ease. We help develop a plan on how to identify current and future needs, attract, develop, and retain the kind of employees relevant to sustain their business. Send us an email today through people@phillipsconsulting.net


Written by:

Mayowa Oloyede

Senior Consultant




Workforce Planning in the Age of COVID-19, SHRM 2020