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Workforce Planning Guidelines

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) These Guidelines set out the process and conditions that apply to workforce planning at Charles Sturt University (the University).

(2) Success in attracting, retaining and developing staff is critical to achieving the University's mission. The purpose of these Guidelines is therefore to provide a structured approach to the planning and management of the workforce, to ensure it supports the achievement of the University's strategic objectives.

(3) These Guidelines will support each Faculty and Division to develop an annual workforce plan that enhances the annual planning, budget and review cycle and provides a focus for triennial planning. This planning will take place within the parameters, priorities and strategic directions set at the University level.

(4) The workforce planning process should ensure that the future workforce for the University is characterised by a staffing profile that:

  1. demonstrates a commitment to excellence and to the development of excellence;
  2. demonstrates a commitment to gender equity at all levels of the organisation for both general and academic staff;
  3. ensures an appropriate workforce mix in relation to gender, age and Indigenous staff;
  4. has an appropriate mix of academic and general staff;
  5. is developed through proactive recruitment and retention strategies to meet current and future employment needs;
  6. engages in ongoing professional development activities from recruitment through to retirement;
  7. ensures all academic staff are engaged in teaching, research and/or professional activity;
  8. allows for the distinctiveness of the University to be maintained and developed; and
  9. has the flexibility to serve, sustain and strengthen the University's regional commitment and the professions.


(5) These Guidelines apply to all managers of the University who are involved in workforce planning.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(6) Workforce planning is a continuous process of matching workforce requirements to organisational objectives, and highlighting and forecasting the human resource implications when undertaking particular operational or strategic activities. It is therefore a management framework that links human resourcing decisions to the organisation's plans and budgetary resources.

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Section 3 - Policy

(7) Nil.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(8) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part A - The Workforce Planning Cycle

Identify Demand

(9) In this stage, the key capabilities of the future workforce are identified in line with the University's strategic objectives. Planning documents (strategic plans, triennial plans, operational plans, etc.) are analysed to develop a set of assumptions on which to develop objectives. Key questions at this stage may include:

  1. What changes are anticipated over the next one (1) to three (3) years? For example:
    1. planned changes in service delivery;
    2. course review and approval processes;
    3. research direction and focus;
    4. revenue generation activities;
    5. budgetary requirements (including provisions for research and teaching activities);
    6. regional plans;
    7. workload strategies;
    8. technology;
    9. external legislative, quality or compliance requirements; and/or
    10. professional association and/or qualification requirements.
  2. How will these changes affect such things as:
    1. the volume, type and location of work to be performed;
    2. organisational structure and design;
    3. mix of skills required;
    4. manager/employee ratios;
    5. increasing/decreasing workforce staffing levels;
    6. student/staff ratios; and/or
    7. existing structures and systems.

Identify Supply

(10) This stage involves an accurate assessment of current staff numbers and capability. It includes such aspects as:

  1. staff numbers;
  2. classification mix;
  3. continuing, contract and casual staff ratios;
  4. administrative and academic staff ratios;
  5. diversity, disability, age and gender mix;
  6. critical positions, functions, skills, knowledge and/or expertise;
  7. anticipated workforce changes (e.g. retirement, secondment, promotion, termination, recruitment activity, extended study leave);
  8. turnover and reasons for leaving;
  9. staff survey data, e.g. Climate Survey;
  10. performance management information; and/or
  11. the skills, knowledge, qualifications and expertise of the existing workforce. NOTE: This information may be obtained from the Division's/Faculty's annual Performance Management Participation Report to the Division of People and Culture, in which priority professional development needs are identified.

Gap Analysis

(11) In this stage, a comparison of the projected workforce supply to the workforce demand forecast is made. The gap between demand and supply determines the priority need and the workforce strategies that are required to close this gap. The analysis will show either:

  1. a gap, which indicates a future shortage of staff, functions, skills, knowledge and/or expertise; and/or
  2. a surplus, which indicates a future excess in some categories of staff and may require action.

(12) If gaps are identified, prioritisation will occur on the basis of the size (high/low) and the impact (high/low) of the gap. Consideration should be given to future issues such as:

  1. an ageing workforce;
  2. increasing numbers of younger staff;
  3. the need for a more diversified workforce and greater representation from Equal Opportunity target groups;
  4. achieving greater gender balance in the workforce (including senior women in leadership);
  5. Indigenous recruitment and employment;
  6. the need for new skills, knowledge or expertise (e.g. technical skills, expertise in new methodologies or discipline developments); and/or
  7. the requirements for academic qualifications of staff (e.g. critical mass of disciplines, Doctoral completions, professional area qualifications, increasing research profile).

Develop Workforce Strategies and Projected Funding Impact

(13) In this stage, strategies to progress from the current situation to the forecasted situation are developed. These may include:

  1. professional development (including retraining) of existing staff;
  2. job redesign;
  3. retention of older staff;
  4. succession planning, ensuring that a pool of staff develop the required skills and knowledge through a planned development strategy;
  5. recruitment strategies, where the required skills and knowledge are not available or achievable through professional development or retraining;
  6. flexible staffing arrangements (e.g. the capacity to engineer a pre-determined release date for staff by using fixed-term and casual appointments;
  7. relocation or redeployment; and/or
  8. redundancies.

(14) Each strategy is analysed to determine the impact on budget projections for the planning period. The analysis of workforce planning needs can be used as supporting documentation in making an operating budget bid, e.g. a summary of the current and desired staff profiles; proposed changes and impact of these changes on budgets, remuneration, allowances, technology and accommodation.

(15) The Division of Finance can assist in determining the variations required as a result of the desired profile, and to gain an accurate reflection of the impact on the projected salary establishment.

(16) Where significant staffing changes are identified, the formal process for managing change, as set out in the University's Enterprise Agreement, must be followed.

Implementing and Reviewing Workforce Plans

(17) When the strategies are selected, they are implemented according to priority and budget implications. The workforce plan is reviewed on an annual basis as part of the planning, budget and review cycle. Key questions to be asked include:

  1. Are the assumptions and objectives on which the plan was developed still valid?
  2. Are the strategies chosen appropriate to ensure that organisational objectives can be achieved in the short term, medium term and long term?
  3. Is there sufficient flexibility within the planning process to ensure that change management initiatives will not be held back through staff resourcing issues?
  4. Were the strategies successfully completed?
  5. Did they achieve the required outcomes?
  6. Will the staffing establishment be permanently affected?

Part B - Resources and Support

(18) The Division of People and Culture supports workforce planning through the provision of:

  1. management information reports on workforce data;
  2. advice on such processes as needs analyses and skills audits;
  3. advice and guidance relating to Equal Opportunity requirements;
  4. advice and guidance relating to Employee Relations requirements; and
  5. advice and guidance relating to change management.

(19) Other advisers that can make a valuable contribution to the workforce planning process include:

  1. professional development providers such as:
    1. Organisational Development Office;
    2. Library;
    3. CELT;
    4. Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies;
    5. Division of Information Technology; and
    6. Division of Finance.
  2. the Office of Planning and Audit website:
    1. University Strategy 2011-2015:

    2. staff statistics:
      1. permanent staff
      2. casual staff.