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Why investing in a workforce planning strategy can help your company succeed in the evolving energy and utilities sector

Why investing in a workforce planning strategy can help your company succeed in the evolving energy and utilities sector

6 Minute Read

It is critical to ensure that your organization has the resources it needs to adapt to the evolving energy and utilities sector. A workforce planning strategy can help ensure it has the skills and competencies to achieve its strategic objectives and remain successful.

These steps can help you create an effective workforce planning strategy:

  • Identify your strategic needs
  • Complete a workforce analysis
  • Develop a workforce strategy and plan
  • Implement your plan and monitor your results

Following these steps can help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals in a rapidly transforming sector.

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities
Manager, Consulting Services

The energy and utilities sector is experiencing rapid transformation as Canada works towards achieving net-zero electricity by 2030 and new technologies emerge in the marketplace. These changes will impact your organization’s strategic objectives and ultimately affect the skills and competencies your workforce needs to achieve your organization’s goals for the future.

Developing or refining your workforce planning strategy can help ensure that your company has the resources it needs to remain successful. It involves assessing the current state of your workforce and identifying the gaps you need to fill to reach its future objectives. This proactive approach can help your organization adapt to change in an evolving sector.

How workforce planning can support your energy and utilities company

The first article in this series examined the current hiring trends and challenges in the energy and utilities sector that may impact your company’s ability to recruit new talent and retain top talent. Developing a comprehensive workforce planning strategy can help your organization overcome these challenges and ensure you have the right people with the right skills to support your goals.

If workforce planning is new to your organization, it can be a time-consuming process. However, failing to plan ahead can cause significant issues that are considerably more difficult to fix. You can get started by asking yourself what your organization will look like in the next five years and compare that against your current state. This will help you to proactively identify gaps that are necessary to close to achieve those goals.

For example, you may be planning to introduce distributed energy resources (DERs) or smart grid technology in the future. This will help you identify whether your employees have the skills to use that new technology effectively. It also enables you to work proactively to close skill gaps — either by recruiting new talent or by providing training to your current employees.

Energy and Utilities

Every business needs power to succeed. Whether you produce, generate, transmit or regulate the energy that keeps Canada — and the world — ticking, MNP has the expertise you need to keep pace with this dynamic market.

How to develop a workforce planning strategy

A workforce planning strategy involves leveraging data to ensure that your workforce supports the needs, goals, and skills of your organization. Following these steps can help ensure your organization has the resources it needs to succeed in an evolving industry:

Identify your strategic needs

The first step towards developing an effective workforce planning strategy is to evaluate your organization’s strategic requirements. Your organization may be planning to upgrade your grid technology in the next five years, and this will impact the number of employees and the types of skills you will need to achieve this goal.

Evaluate your strategic and long-term business plans to gain insights into how these goals will impact your workforce. Assessing financial forecasts and technology or legislative changes can also help you anticipate how your workforce will need to transform to remain competitive.

Complete a workforce analysis

Conducting a workforce analysis is the next step in the workforce planning process. This includes forecasting your future workforce requirements to meet your strategic and business objectives. Key indicators may include staffing patterns, skills and competencies, retirements, turnover trends, and anticipated workload and business unit changes.

The next step is to analyze your workforce supply — or current workforce and employment trends — to determine workforce availability. Indicators for this analysis may include staffing levels, skills, workforce demographics, and the skills available in the current market.

Conduct a gap analysis between your workforce supply and demand to identify opportunities to optimize your workforce. This may include adjusting staffing levels to match predicted changes to the workload or identifying areas where additional skills training may be required.

Develop a workforce strategy and plan

A workforce analysis will provide the insights you need to develop strategies and plans to target priorities within your organization. These strategies and plans are also crucial to address short-term and long-term demand.

Priorities within your organization may include employment branding, employee recruitment, retention, engagement, or development. Key priorities may include changes in job descriptions or your organizational structure — such as creating a new department for grid modernization or renewable energy storage. It might also focus on optimizing processes within your organization to improve its performance.

Implementation and monitoring

The final step is to implement your workforce planning strategy within your organization and measure its results annually to support continuous improvement. Monitoring metrics such as how much time it takes to fill vacant positions and your employee turnover rate can help you evaluate the success of your recruitment and retention initiatives.

Monitoring your training and development programs can help you identify whether you have closed skills gaps within your organization and surveys can help measure employee culture. Additionally, tools such as performance metrics can help you identify whether the changes to your processes are achieving your desired results.

How technology can support effective workforce planning

Technology such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms or data visualization tools can help you continuously measure the results of your workforce planning strategy and identify areas for improvement.

  • Data and analytics ERP platforms can store and maintain your workforce data. This can help you monitor metrics such as employee turnover and the time it takes to fill vacant positions, allowing you to measure the success of your recruitment and retention goals.
  • Visualize your workforce Data visualization tools can create compelling images from your workforce data. This helps make complex data more digestible and communicates the story of your workforce more effectively.
  • Plan your workforce process flow ERP platforms can help you visualize your organizational structure and forecast its future requirements.
  • Make informed decisions Data visualization tools can help you identify shifts in workforce dynamics and proactively adjust your strategies to align with those changes.

Take the next steps

A workforce planning strategy is necessary to help your organization adapt to changes in the energy and utilities sector and achieve its goals. However, planning for the future of your workforce is only part of the process. Our next article in this series will explore why investing in your workforce is necessary to keep skilled talent within your organization.  

For more information about developing an effective workforce planning strategy, contact MNP’s Consulting team. We have the experience to help you create an effective strategy to reach your objectives.

Gord Chalk MBA,CMC

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities

Kelsey Bjorndalen

Manager, Consulting Services


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