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Strategic Workforce Planning: United States

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When it comes to managing the needs of employees, clients, and business operators, strategic workforce planning is crucial. While the US continues to be a key leader in global entrepreneurial operations, there is always room to go when finding the best workforce strategy for your US-based business. 

In this article, we’ll be looking into how a strategic workforce plan can help organizations operating out of the United States thrive as the state of global commerce continues to shift. 

Additionally, we’ll also be taking a look at how an Employer of Record (EOR) like Borderless can help your enterprise in anticipating future hiring needs. Our expert experience will help your business match workforce supply and demand amid changing HR requirements in the US and abroad. 

What Is Strategic Workforce Planning? 

For organizations looking into strategic workforce planning processes, you must have a thorough understanding of its most basic components. 

Strategic workforce planning should be part of your organization's business strategy to tap into the right talent, with the right skills, at the right time. The right workforce supply will help your company achieve its overall business strategy and goals. 

Operational workforce planning goes beyond standard employee HR functions and training programs by aligning a workforce strategy with a business’s goals. In essence, strategic workforce planning (and its byproducts) is about predicting talent needs, looking at potential skills gaps, and bridging those gaps efficiently and effectively.

The ideal way to take on incentives surrounding strategic workforce planning is by analyzing an organization's current workforce, including its skills, capabilities, and workplace demographics. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current workforce, your business can make informed decisions about recruitment, training, and talent development. 

Additionally, strategic workforce planning involves analyzing future workforce needs based on factors such as industry trends, technological advancements, and organizational growth or contraction. This forward-looking approach allows organizations to proactively address potential talent shortages or surpluses. In this process, future scenario planning is crucial. 

The strategic workforce planning process also involves the development of strategies and initiatives to attract, retain, and further develop an ideal pool of employees. It also includes identifying and developing critical roles within your organization and how these roles can be implemented to achieve strategic objectives in the long run. 

Effective strategic workforce planning can also lead to improved competitiveness and adaptability locally and internationally. The key result of this competitive and adaptive nature also incentivizes your workers to seize growth opportunities while remaining well-prepared and in lockstep with your company's long-term vision.

In essence, strategic workforce planning is crucial for organizations looking to remain agile and competitive in the ever-evolving international business landscape.

Examples of Strategic Workforce Planning 

Now that we’ve looked into how strategic workforce planning benefits US-based industries, we can walk you through how to implement a workforce plan. Strategic workforce planning — especially in the US — can differ greatly depending on your organization's industry and the goals you are trying to meet as an enterprise. 

However, there are some major throughlines that can apply to the needs of any business. These consistencies are implementations that can enhance the strategic workforce planning process and be utilized by any US-based business. 

While the scope and range of a workforce plan can vary from implementations like financial incentives — and even go as far as retirement assistance — there are many you can harness to appeal to and retain the best kind of workforce. 

Here are a handful of examples that may help you execute your next plan of action.

Salaries and Benefits

Offering competitive salaries, performance bonuses, and fully loaded benefits packages can be a fundamental incentive for attracting and retaining top talent in the United States. These benefits include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and more. The US does not operate on a universal healthcare platform, so having a comprehensive benefits structure is crucial for employee retention. 

Professional Development Opportunities

Many businesses provide opportunities for employees to enhance their skills and advance their careers through training workshops, tuition reimbursement, and interior support for obtaining advanced degrees or certifications. This will not only help your organization retain top-tier talent but also incentivize existing employees to advance their skillset. 

Work Arrangements

When a business offers flexible work arrangements — such as remote work — the combination of flexible hours and manageable workweeks can be a significant incentive to attract a skilled worker,  especially for employees seeking work-life balance.

Career Advancement

Organizations can also implement workforce strategies that offer defined career paths, additional mentorship programs, and opportunities for advancement within the organization. This can motivate employees to stay and grow with the company.

Employee Recognition/Rewards

Recognizing and rewarding ‌outstanding performance demonstrated by an employee through bonuses, promotions, awards, and employee recognition programs can simultaneously boost morale and encourage employees to excel in their chosen field. While you may not have to implement all the above-mentioned strategies, having one as part of your normal business operations should help. 

Well-being Initiatives

Employers that implement workplace strategies like wellness programs, mental health support, and a focus on employee well-being can be attractive incentives for employees looking for a supportive and healthy work environment. As mentioned in previous strategies, the US’s lack of universal healthcare means employee health programs are crucial for retention. 

Profit-Sharing and Stock Options

Some organizations can offer profit-sharing plans or even stock options to employees, aligning their interests with the financial success of the organization.

Tuition Reimbursement

Providing financial assistance for continuing education and professional development can be a valuable incentive and a great workforce strategy, especially for industries that require ongoing skills upgrades like IT, Healthcare Science, and Research, as well as professions in Law. As a result, tuition reimbursement has become an increasingly popular workforce strategy in the US.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion may attract a wider range of candidates, as diversity in the workplace is increasingly valued by job seekers. As of the last few years, thriving businesses in the US often have dynamic diversity incentives in place. 

Retirement Plans

In the US, offering 401(k) plans alongside your standard employer contributions can help employees save for their retirement, making your organization more appealing to those looking for long-term financial security.

Employee Assistance Programs

EAPs can provide employees with confidential counseling and support for various personal and work-related issues, contributing to employee well-being. Depending on the scope of your enterprise and the nature of your work, EAPs can be an ideal workforce strategy. 

Community Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility

If your business is involved in community engagement, like social responsibility initiatives, it may attract employees who value socially responsible employers. These can be achieved by prioritizing charity engagement or social outreach. 

Innovative Workspaces

Creative and innovative office environments, as well as amenities like on-site gyms or cafeterias, can be an attractive perk for employees. If your business does not offer hybrid or remote work incentives, a great workforce strategy can make your office space as accommodating as possible to employee needs. 

Profitability-Linked Incentives

Some organizations offer profit-sharing or performance-based incentives that tie employee rewards directly to the company's financial performance.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of these incentives can vary based on the specific needs and preferences of the workforce, as mentioned earlier in this article. Effective strategic workforce planning often involves a combination of these incentives tailored to the organization's unique goals and the demographic makeup of its workforce. 

Additionally, legal and regulatory factors may impact the design and implementation of these incentives.

What is a Workforce Plan? 

Initiating a workforce plan requires equal parts business savvy, people skills, and consistency. Workforce planning also needs to be monitored, expanded upon, and renewed. No one workforce strategy will remedy all of your business needs. 

The ideal way to execute and lock in the strategic workforce planning process is to start with a strategic document that initially outlines your organization's approach to managing its workforce (new or old) to achieve its short-term and long-term business goals and employee objectives. 

It's a rigorous and structured data-driven process that applies employee and business data. It helps align an organization's workforce with its strategic plans and ensure they have the right people with the right skills. All while remaining agile and responsive to market shifts and opportunities. Effective workforce planning can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and contribute to an organization's success.

For US-based organizations like yours, there are key ways to easily implement a workforce plan. 


To start off, assess the current state of your active workforce. It includes data on the number of employees, their skills, experience, demographics, and performance. It may also involve identifying gaps in skills or competencies.

Forecasting Demands

After you’ve reviewed the status of your current employers, look at both employer and market trends to predict your organization's future workforce needs. This includes estimating the number of employees required to meet your organization's future objectives, considering factors like growth, turnover, and changes in business strategy.

Acquisition Strategies

When engaging in the strategic workforce planning process, your team should ideally plan outlines on how the organization will attract and hire required talent to meet your future demands. This may include strategies for recruitment, such as internal promotions, external hiring, and talent pipelines that give your organization access to the right kind of employee pool. 

Talent Training

To ensure employees have the necessary skills and capabilities for their long-term goals, a workforce plan should detail both training and development programs. These can include leadership development, skills training, and upskilling initiatives.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is crucial to workforce planning, especially for key leadership positions. It involves identifying and developing potential successors for critical roles within the organization. 

Retention Strategies

To maintain a stable and skilled workforce, organizations often include strategies for employee retention. These include employee engagement initiatives, competitive compensation, and career development opportunities.

Analysis of Cost

Workforce plans should consider the financial implications of workforce decisions. This includes estimating costs surrounding labor, benefits, and return on investment (ROI) for implemented workforce strategies.

Implementation Timeline

A timeline or roadmap is often included to outline when specific workforce strategies and actions will be implemented to align with the organization's goals.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective workforce strategies include incentives that manage the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of a plan's progress. More importantly, these evaluate and adjust workforce strategies as needed.

Contingency Planning

Recognizing that unexpected events can impact the workforce, some plans include contingency measures to address sudden changes in demand, economic downturns, or other unforeseen challenges. Effective strategic workforce planning can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and contribute to an organization's success.

Planning Alongside an Employer of Record 

Now that we have looked at the building blocks of strategic workforce planning, we can take a deep dive into how the utilization of an Employer of Record (EOR) like Borderless can provide an immensely strategic advantage for businesses operating in the United States looking to engage in workforce strategies. 

EORs ensure workplace strategy implementation by complying with the multitude of federal, state and local labor laws in the US — which can be overwhelming for both domestic and international organizations on their own. 

By relegating employment responsibilities to an EOR, US-based businesses can ensure that they fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations while implementing the strategic workforce process, which minimizes legal risks and liabilities.

EORs also enable businesses to swiftly expand their workforce and enter new markets without establishing a legal entity in each location. The expertise that Borderless provides not only accelerates potential market entry by freeing up time to build strategies. It also reduces administrative burdens through HR services and payroll

To wrap it all up, an Employer of Record like Borderless can be a valuable partner in implementing workforce strategies in the US. 

Companies (potentially yours) can ensure regulatory compliance, reduce costs, increase flexibility, and focus on their core competencies by outsourcing employment-related tasks. 

On top of this, Borderless also provides employers and potential clients with in-depth articles that are continuously updated alongside the stage of international commerce. If you are ever wondering how to implement new forms of strategic workforce planning in the US, Borderless's blogs on United States commerce trends are crucial. 

Visit Borderless today to learn more!

Disclaimer: Borderless does not provide legal services or legal advice to anyone. This includes customers, contractors, employees, partners, and the general public. We are not lawyers or paralegals. Please read our full disclaimer here.


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