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October 12th, 2022 · 5 min read

The power of scenario planning for workforce learning & development

scenario planning blog article header image

What is scenario-based planning?

The benefits of scenario-based planning for people leaders

skills gap analysis template cta

Steps to using scenario planning for workforce learning & development 

Step 1: Use existing data to fabricate scenarios

  • What happens if Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations change significantly in terms of recruitment, hiring and firing. How might that affect our HR processes?  
  • What happens if our two main competitors merge? How would our organization respond to that strategically and what talent gaps and skills gaps would we need to address in HR to stay competitive? 
  • What if we ramp up our internal capabilities to deliver training and education, only to face significant head-count reductions due to market conditions? How can we make the most use of L&D dollars on a reduced budget?
  • The organization is betting big on a new product next year and the COO is going on maternity leave. If sales exceed projections, do we have the infrastructure, manufacturing and people in place to deliver the goods on time, as well as a well-trained replacement for the COO’s leave? 

Step 2: Define the stakeholders

Step 3: Define the variables most likely to impact the outcome

Step 4: Prioritize based on likelihood and impact

Step 5: Test, assess and refine your scenarios

  • First, consider the plausibility of the scenario, the level of impact and then the feasibility of your solution. Look to historical data that speaks to the likelihood of the scenarios you are running. Consider also reviewing previous test data to better understand how employees respond to new initiatives and what was most successful. 
  • Create a cost-benefit analysis to illuminate the implications of choices. What is lost and what is gained in your various scenarios? Are there some anticipatory actions you take that result in a greater loss than necessary? What changes can you make to mitigate these potential losses?
  • Create a contingency analysis to help manage risks and seize opportunities caused by external impacts. See how this affects HR strategy, with particular attention to L&D for filling new skills gaps. Repeat your testing process with every change you make to your scenario planning to ensure the best functionality for your evolving HR strategy.

Technology for scenario planning

Why “what ifs” matter

You can address talent development challenges