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Phase 3 - Develop Strategies and the Workforce Plan

Now that the workforce gaps have been identified, prioritize the areas where you have the most pressing needs so you can develop solutions. In order to use available resources wisely, it is essential to determine the most critical workforce gaps and develop solutions that enable you to continue to meet the organization's strategic goals and critical business outcomes. 


This phase brings together the findings from previous phases to develop a comprehensive plan containing practical strategies that will address the organization's workforce needs over the duration of the plan (best practice is three to five years).


Strategies for where you want your organization's workforce to be in the next three to five years which will serve as the basis for your workforce plan.

Steps to Accomplish the Deliverable

  1. Classify gaps and risks in terms of recruitment, retention, employee development, knowledge transfer and succession management. Some gaps and risks may fall into an ‘other’ category.

  2. Present gap analysis findings and the list of at-risk classifications from Phase 2, in addition to the classification of gaps and risks in Phase 3 Step 1 to the Steering Committee Roles and Responsibilities PDF  to determine priorities for developing strategies.

  3. Work with the Steering Committee to develop strategies to address gaps and risks.

    1. Utilize the State of California Succession Management Model to assist in developing succession management strategies.

  4. Determine which solutions will be recommended to senior leadership and present them for approval.

  5. Develop a comprehensive workforce plan to align with the organization's strategic plan, organize data analysis, and include strategies addressing gaps and risks by level of priority.

    1. Utilize the Workforce Plan Checklist PDF​  to help ensure a comprehensive workforce plan.

  6. Create an action plan including specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-based metrics for each strategy.

Tools to Assist with Steps

All Steps:

Step 1:

Step 3:

Step 5:

Detailed Information to Assist with Steps

Key Terms

​Employee Development - The process of enhancing and/or increasing workforce capabilities through providing access to education, training, and/or experiential opportunities.

Knowledge Transfer - The activities conducted to transfer expertise, learning, and skills to an employee.

Recruitment - Outreach, identification, and hiring of individuals who possess the competencies required to achieve the organization's goals.

Retention - An organization's strategic approach to reduce the number of employees voluntarily leaving its workforce.

Succession Management - The process of identifying and developing a talent pool with the potential to fill key positions, identifying competency gaps, and developing strategies to addressing the needs.

Step 1: Classify Workforce Planning Gaps

Review the data analysis findings from Phase 2 to categorize workforce issues that may fall in one or more of the following areas: recruitment, retention, employee development, knowledge transfer, succession management, and ‘other’, if necessary. Also consider the impact of separations based on high-risk classifications. 

Step 2: Present Gap Analysis Findings and Determine Priorities

To assist in determining priorities you’ll want to consider:

  • Which workforce gaps can be handled in a routine way with a minimum commitment of resources?
  • Of the remaining workforce gaps that didn't rank highest in terms of priority, what is the benefit of addressing each gap?
  • What would be the impact of not addressing each gap?
  • Based on the benefits and impacts identified above, what is the relative priority of each of the gaps?
  • Have you received executive input in setting priorities?

Step 3: Develop Strategies

Brainstorm and prioritize solutions that resolve the major gaps identified in the areas of recruitment, retention, employee development, knowledge transfer, succession management, and ‘other’.

  • Employee development strategies - Promotes development of competencies, exposure to more challenging experiences, and broadens horizons outside of the organization.​​

  • Knowledge transfer strategies - Identifies knowledge sources, determines what knowledge is critical to operations, and implements methods for capturing and making knowledge accessible to the workforce.​

  • Recruitment strategies - Strengthens the ability of the organization to acquire the most qualified talent. For additional assistance developing recruitment strategies, visit the
    CalHR Statewide Recruitment webpage.

  • Retention strategies - Enhances workforce motivation, commitment, and performance around meeting the organization's mission and vision.

  • Succession management strategies - Develops a pipeline of potential candidates ready to fill mission critical positions.

  • Other strategies include:
    • Organizational interventions - Allows for a re-deployment of staff or a
    • Collaboration with other organizations - Provides opportunities to see how other organizations are addressing similar workforce challenges.

Succession Management

Succession management supports workforce planning by establishing an organization's  bench strength. The process involves identifying and developing a talent pool with the potential to fill key positions. A key position is one whose decision-making authority and related responsibilities significantly influence organizational policies, strategic goals, business operations, or mission-critical projects. A key position can be a managerial position or a highly specialized individual contributor position.  See the State of California Succession Management Model for specific guidance on developing a succession plan.

Succession Management Strategies

Organizations may choose to apply succession management strategies to any variety of positions which would benefit from a succession management approach.

An important approach for succession management can be applied when an organization wants to plan for leadership continuity.  For example, if a Career Executive Assignment (CEA) position has been identified as a key position that supports a critical function, then feeder classifications reporting up to the CEA would be strong candidates for succession management. As illustrated through the following procession of classifications: Staff Services Manager II, would be developed to succeed → Staff Services Manager III, would be developed to succeed → CEA.

Knowledge Transfer

There are three major types of knowledge:

  1. Explicit knowledge - Concrete knowledge that can be easily recorded, such as processes and procedures.
  2. Tacit knowledge - Experience or observation that can be captured through relationships, such as mentoring
  3. Institutional knowledge - Cultural understanding of the organization (such as awareness of historical outcomes, expectations, internal politics, and other environmental factors) that can be captured through a combination of archives and sharing personal experience.

Barriers to Knowledge Transfer

When implementing knowledge transfer strategies, the organization's leadership team should acknowledge and challenge common barriers, such as:

  • Difficulty communicating highly specialized knowledge/processes
    • If necessary, managers and supervisors should assist employees in effective communication of the material.
    • Ensure employees receive sufficient time to train others with consideration to their ongoing responsibilities.
  • Organizational “silos” that block knowledge in one area of the organization
    • Emphasize common goals to support the organization's missions and goals.
    • Create opportunities to collaborate across different areas in the organization.
  • Knowledge hoarding
    • Assure employees that their level of expertise will grow when they share their knowledge with others, which could increase their marketability while training others.
    • Encourage employees to engage in mutual knowledge sharing to increase their own breadth of knowledge.
  • Investment of time and effort
    • Reframe the investment of time and effort to show that having more than one employee able to perform a critical job function makes the employee’s job easier and less stressful.  Additionally, the more people that have knowledge of functions and processes, the greater understanding there is for the length of time or complexity involved in the sharing process.     

While employees may not be aware of their own barriers, it is important to communicate these along with suggestions for alternative perspectives.

Step 4: Present Recommendations to Senior Leaders

In selecting the final strategies to recommend, consider the following factors:

  • Time and resources required to successfully implement.​
  • If there are high-visibility workforce challenges that can be successfully addressed with current time and resources.
  • Which recommendations will have the greatest impact.
  • If this is the first workforce plan, will a smaller undertaking be more appropriate to begin with to ensure successes and increase buy-in for more aggressive initiatives in the future.
  • If the strategies being recommended align with the organization's strategic objectives.

Step 5: Develop A Workforce Plan

Use theWorkforce Plan Checklist PDF as a guide to develop a comprehensive workforce plan that also meets CalHR's policy requirements. The plan is a living document that is continuously assessed and revised. It should be an accessible and manageable document that reflects a realistic approach to addressing challenges with your organization's workforce.  Additional guidance for organizing the workforce plan can be found in the Workforce Plan Template PDF​​.

Step 6: Create An Action Plan

Develop a descriptive action plan for each strategy that includes: 

  • Strategy description
  • The workforce gap and risk it addresses
  • Person(s) responsible for the strategy and their roles and responsibilities in implementation
  • Timeline for implementation
  • Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarks​

Additional guidance for developing an action plan can be found in the
Workforce Plan Template PDF​​ Appendix J.

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