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Workforce Planning Templates in Excel & Google Sheets

This page provides Excel and Google Sheets templates to help you think through the critical aspects of your workforce planning.


Charlie Liu

March 16, 2022 2 min read

Workforce Planning Templates in Excel & Google Sheets

This page provides Excel and Google Sheets templates to help you think through the critical aspects of your workforce planning. These include:

If you’re looking for human resource management templates to develop your current workforce, how to interview well, how to measure competencies, succession planning and knowledge transfer, or do a workforce skills gap analysis, you’re not alone. But the experts in those areas can help. Here are a few resources to start with:

  1. Workforce development plan template
  2. Workforce gap analysis template
  3. Strategic workforce planning template
  4. Workforce transition plan template
  5. Workforce succession planning template
  6. Competencies

Introduction: why we created these workforce planning templates

We created the workforce planning templates below to help you build better forecasts of your biggest cost: your people. Whether you are building a headcount planning model from scratch, or just looking for best practices ideas to add to your existing forecasting approach, we think you’ll find value in these templates.

We’ve also created a comprehensive Workforce Planning Model template that combines these templates and more to give you a single model to work from to build a plan that meets your strategic goals. You can download the entire workforce planning toolkit here.

And we’ve developed a number of examples that you can use to develop an action plan for retention, future workforce growth, location strategy, and more, alongside how-to videos and more, all available on our Knowledge Hub.

Data required for workforce planning

Good workforce planning requires data, of course. Make sure you’re working with the best data you can find, because as the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”

You’ll need:

  • Talent data:
    • Labor market metrics: salaries, titles, how long hiring typically takes, typical employee turnover rates, recruiting costs, and so forth
    • Internal employee numbers: Start dates, roles and salaries, payroll taxes and benefits, role-specific benefits etc. These have been covered in the templates below in detail.
    • Legal data related to employment / employees: key data from contracts like the job title, date of employment started, pay intervals, any terms or conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime), paid leave, sick pay, pension and pension schemes, period of notice etc.
    • Demographic data: certain industries, like insurance, face a demographic cliff of an aging workforce. Others, like logistics, see shortages in willing workers like truckers. Make sure you understand and plan for any constraining factors in your business and region.  
  • Financial data:
    • Growth rates
    • Revenues & trends
    • Turnover costs
    • Hiring costs
    • Salary / remuneration costs
    • Training costs
    • Tax costs
    • Benefit costs
    • Bonus & raise costs and timing

Workforce planning templates you can use now

Roles & Salaries

Google Sheets | Excel

Our roles & salaries template you define the roles of future hires you want to forecast in your organization. By defining job levels, salaries, and other parameters here, you can quickly adjust future hiring assumptions based on your demographic research and future demand expectations, without having to manage this data hire by hire. The sheet includes 25 placeholders and defines payment type, daily hours, and details about pay increase and bonus timing and amounts.

Payroll Taxes and Benefits

payroll taxes and benefits

Google Sheets | Excel

Many companies don’t bother forecasting taxes and benefits. But as we showed on our blog on the financial impacts of a business plan to move to a remote workforce, a more accurate forecast can make a material difference in many situations. Variations in tax rates aren’t news, but state unemployment taxes don’t follow the patterns you’d expect. On the benefits side, your business strategy for meeting workforce challenges should consider what benefits you offer, at what level, to which employees, and project that forward over time. Armed with a the right data on tax rates — provided here — and a few assumptions around benefits, you can make benefits a strategic weapon in your workforce retention arsenal. 

Role-specific benefits

Google Sheets | Excel

Fringe benefits form a key part of workforce strategy and retention, given the workforce challenges of the current economic climate. Many organizations offer role-specific benefits, for example, extra stipends for engineers to purchase more powerful computers, or a car allowance for field sales and service reps. These benefits can also vary by job level. This template can help you structure such benefits into your planning model. 

Batch Hiring Template

Google Sheets | Excel

In our full Workforce Planning Model template, you can forecast future hires individually or in batches. This template shows how to forecast batch hiring, which is useful for organizations with predictable vacancies that regularly hire a group of people in the same role on a periodic basis, like seasonal retail workers or an annual class of junior consultants, lawyers, or accountants. 

Dashboard Template

dashboard template

Google Sheets | Excel

The best workforce planning process needs to provide visualizations and trends of your existing workforce and future demand to challenge your thinking, facilitate discussions and decisions about trade-offs across your executive stakeholders.

This template provides three different dashboards: 

  1. All departments. This gives finance and the executive team a view of the entire business and can help you spot discontinuities, cash flow risks (for example, if bonuses and salary increases are in the same month and not planned for properly)
  2. Department. This presents the same data as above for a single department, for sharing with stakeholders who don’t need to see the entire business.
  3. Employment type. For businesses with a mix of exempt and nonexempt employees, it can be helpful to view headcount and compensation data separately for each category.

Import from ADP Template

For any model you build to be quickly updated, you need a repeatable way to get the latest data on your current from your HR system into it. If you’re using FP&A software like OnPlan, you can do this with a direct integration, but if you’re working in spreadsheets, it’s good to have a standard import template that can feed the rest of your model. We’ve created a template you can use if you’re using ADP.

Tying it all together

Having a unified model that incorporates workforce data from current staff and your stakeholders’ demand analysis of future workforce needs can ensure each department gets what it needs while staying within the budget constraints of the business. Even better is connecting a workforce model to the rest of your revenue and operating model, so your operational needs and assumptions are tied to the hiring plan. OnPlan helps our customers do just that. Doing this in spreadsheets alone is tough — you can’t share a single model with the whole company because it’s full of sensitive compensation data. Splitting up the model and re-entering data from stakeholders with every change adds a big administrative overhead to your team.  

Stages of the Workforce Planning Process

As you begin thinking about workforce planning, the best place to start is where you are now.  Gather data about your current workforce. If you have an HR system, use the relevant import template above. Of course, you’ll want to capture critical information like the number of employees, salaries, and job levels/roles.

Next, work with your stakeholders across the organization to understand their business needs. What expectations do they have for hiring, and for career development of their current employees (and the compensation implications of that growth)?

Your HR stakeholder should simultaneously be doing a supply analysis to make sure your company has a plan to supply a recruiting pipeline to fill the needs. Given the tight labor market, you may have to be creative by looking to part-time workers, freelancers, or remote staff.

Finally, bring your current staff and future hiring plans together into a holistic forecast that can form the basis of discussion, strategic choices, horse-trading between departments and business plans.

Our individual templates above can help you with all these steps, but the holistic template that brings them all together and calculates totals will be the most help if you’re running an end-to-end process. 

Conclusion: Spreadsheets are great for Workforce Planning. Give them Superpowers with OnPlan

  1. Spreadsheets stink for managing multiple scenarios. You need to replicate your spreadsheet model for each one, plus add one to calculate variances. If you want to change some of the assumptions, like staffing growth rates or the structure of benefits, you need to make changes to all spreadsheets in exactly the same way to both scenarios to avoid miscalculation. 
  2. Looking at different time horizons is hard. If you want to look closer at the cash flow impact in year 1, or change from a quarterly view to a monthly or yearly one, you’ll be reworking formulas and recreating charts. That’s a major hassle. 
  3. It’s a pain to keep a spreadsheet model up to date with the latest staff list and compare the forecast with actuals as time progresses. You have to import staff data manually each time, copy/pasting it into the right tabs in each scenario. 
  4. You can’t share the spreadsheet in whole across the stakeholders in your organization — it contains salaries for every employee in the company. Instead you have to create and keep track of redacted copies.
  5. Spreadsheet charts aren’t easy to adjust ad hoc. As new questions arise, being able to really quickly build new views into the data and feed the insights back into the assumptions is critical.

Addressing challenges like these is why we built OnPlan. Book a demo to see how OnPlan makes workforce planning — and other financial planning tasks — faster and more flexible.

If you’re trying to plan for growth, your workforce should be top of mind. Human capital is the top expense for most companies, and if you don’t treat your employees right, that expensive investment can walk right out the door.

This page provides Excel and Google Sheets templates to help you think through the critical aspects of your workforce planning. These include:

If you’re looking for human resource management templates to develop your current workforce, how to interview well, how to measure competencies, succession planning and knowledge transfer, or do a workforce skills gap analysis, you’re not alone. But the experts in those areas can help. Here are a few resources to start with:

  1. Workforce development plan template
  2. Workforce gap analysis template
  3. Strategic workforce planning template
  4. Workforce transition plan template
  5. Workforce succession planning template
  6. Competencies

But If you’re looking for resources for planning for all your workforce-related costs, you’re in the right place!

Workforce Planning FAQs

What is strategic workforce planning?

Strategic workforce planning is the practice of setting up organizational processes to anticipate your company’s future workforce needs. By taking inputs from across the business including finance, HR, sales, marketing, and other departments, companies that practice workforce planning can plan for the workforce size, composition, and budget that matches their strategic goals and ensures future success. 

What is a staffing plan?

A staffing plan (typically created by the HR department) identifies future staffing requirements for the organization based on both current personnel and forward-looking strategy. An effective staffing plan should help leadership and hiring managers clearly understand the profiles of employees needed to meet company goals. 

How are workforce plans related to business and HR strategies?

Business strategy affects workforce plans, and workforce plans affect business strategy. When company leaders decide to move forward with a strategic project, they naturally need to consider how it will affect various business functions. Since most major new initiatives require new or different skills, these initiatives inevitably end up influencing workforce plans. Those plans should then outline how to meet the new requirements, and the operational timeline required. Leaders then need to keep that timeline in mind as they lay out how and how fast to put their new initiatives into motion.  

What are the three stages of workforce planning?

According to Gartner, the three stages of workforce planning are:

  • Gathering data on current business needs: with poor inputs even the best process will generate poor outcomes. Business needs are constantly evolving, so don’t set it and forget it. Keep refining this stage continuously.
  • Taking into account labor market data: no decision should be made in a vacuum, external factors can have a bigger impact on outcomes than internal resources. Many workforce plans fall short precisely because they fail to acknowledge this.
  • Empower HR to make use of available data: Gartner research shows that only 12% of companies make effective use of talent data when it comes to enhancing decision making. This is a huge opportunity for improvement since leveraging data is key both in determining talent gaps as well as identifying new talent.

What are the five steps in the workforce planning process?

The US Government’s Office of Personnel Management (basically, the government’s HR department) lays out a five-step workforce planning process

  • Set strategic direction: ink the workforce planning process with the organization’s strategic plan, annual performance/business plan, and work activities required to carry out the goals and objectives of the strategic plan (long term) and performance plan (short term).
  • Analyze workforce, identify skill gaps, and conduct workforce analysis: Determine current workforce resources and how they will evolve over time through turnover, etc. Develop specifications for the kinds, numbers, and locations of workers and managers needed to accomplish the organization’s strategic requirements. Perform a gap analysis between the current resources and projected workforce needs.
  • Develop an action plan: Identify strategies to close gaps, plans to implement the strategies, and measures to assess progress. These strategies could include recruiting, training/retraining, restructuring, contracting out, succession planning, technological enhancements, etc.
  • Implement the action plan: Ensure human and fiscal resources are in place, roles are understood, and the necessary communication, marketing, and coordination is occurring to execute the plan and achieve the strategic objectives.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and revise: Monitor progress against milestones, assess for continuous improvement purposes, and adjust the plan to course correct and address new workforce issues.

How do you create a staffing plan?

Completing a staffing plan comprises six main steps:

  • Evaluate goals: What does this function need to accomplish?
  • Identify influencers: What factors might affect the staffing plan?
  • Identify the current state: What is the starting point?
  • Envision needs: What is really needed (end state)?
  • Conduct a gap analysis: What differences exist between the current state and the end state?
  • Develop a solution plan: What types of staff are needed? When and where?

The above outline is designed to complete a staffing plan for a specific function. Staffing plans can also be created for entire divisions or organizations. To complete staffing plans with a bigger scope, organizations can break down the plan into manageable pieces. For example, a division might complete individual staffing plans for the sales, finance, HR, IT, marketing, and production functions, and then combine them into one overall plan. HR professionals responsible for this type of planning must closely collaborate with the leaders of each individual group to understand goals, needs, and expertise required. Conducting such an exercise can help leaders better understand how each function interlocks to support overall organizational goals.

Why is strategic workforce planning important?

Strategic workforce planning prepares companies to respond to continuous and inevitable changes in the workplace. It also ensures business agility in times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already altered the way people around the world live and work.

For example, many organizations started encouraging remote work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees during the crisis. To what degree will they support remote work going forward? To what degree will their employees favor or disfavor them as an employer as a result?

Companies must adapt their business strategies to the remote work model to enable employees to work productively, and to meet their goals.

What is operational workforce planning?

Operational workforce planning enables the organization to achieve short term outcomes. This level of workforce planning involves keeping track of day-to-day operations, assigning people to prepare for immediate operational or resource needs, and addressing ad-hoc changes are all part of this form of workforce planning. Operational workforce planning is largely driven by HR and individual team managers, and produces documentation including procedures, processes and rosters. Preparation for the recruitment life cycle and seasonal workforce changes are other typical examples.



About Author

Charlie Liu

As the Director of Professional Services, Charlie is responsible for high fidelity CPM software implementations and educating clients on industry best practices. Charlie has over 10 Years of experience in the Corporate Performance Management industry across a wide range of responsibilities including professional services, product management, and presales engineering.

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