Dynamic Workforce Planning | 4D Planning

By October 16, 2020Blog

Dynamic Workforce Planning is a near-continuous process of aligning an organisation’s workforce capacity and capability to meet its organisational objectives, now and into the future.

It aims to ensure that the right People and Equipment – those with the capabilities necessary for the work – are always available in the right numbers, in the right shape, in the right place and at the right time to deliver the business outcomes.

The workforce planning challenge is massively increased by organisational scale, complexity and the frequency of demand changes.  Complexity can be driven by many factors including location, skills, regulations, budgets, technology, relationships, and competitive pressures. Andrew Lloyd, Dynama Managing Director, discusses the four dimensions of planning that need to align for dynamic workforce planning to be a success.

Planners need to align four dimensions:

  1. Demand
  2. Supply
  3. Talent
  4. Time


At the highest level, Demand Planning enables one or more scenarios to be modelled where the measurement is the primary output/outcome that an organisation is tasked with delivering.  Some outcome measurement examples include:

  • Healthcare = Patients for a Care Pathway
  • Cruise = Passengers for an Itinerary
  • Construction = Projects delivered
  • Defence = Missions delivered

As a minimum, having the ability to describe demand, ideally as a series of scenarios over time (e.g. Most Likely, Maximum and Minimum cases) allows you to shape and scale your organisation to achieve those demand outcomes.


Planning allows an organisation to model capacity and capability structured to deliver the demand outcomes.  In this context, capability includes:

  • People
    • Organisational Structure
    • Rank/Grade/Role
    • Posts/Contracts
    • Skills, Training, Experience, Certificates & Permits
  • Facilities & Equipment
    • Technical Specification
    • Capacity
    • Performance
    • Ownership
    • Licences & Permits

Supply planning also needs to track the readiness of people and equipment.  Readiness considerations include:

  • People
    • Availability
    • Current Location
    • Fitness & Fatigue
    • Motives & Preferences
    • Reputation
    • Relationships
  • Facilities & Equipment
    • Availability
    • Current/Fixed Location
    • Maintenance history
    • Supplies & Consumables

In a perfect world, you’d match the supply of people & equipment to be ready to be deployed in the optimal shape at the precise moment required to meet the demand.  In most real-world cases, we have to plan for the imperfect scenario where our demand forecast proved to be inaccurate, or our supply wasn’t available/capable which is why planning contingency options/supplies is also vital to organisational agility.


Talent planning involves modelling the evolution of today’s workforce based upon known plans blended with assumptions and historical trends.  Factors to consider include:

  • Current workforce
    • Agreed career plan/pathway reflecting individual ambitions/aspirations
    • Confirmed training and postings
    • Known promotion and/or transfer
    • Known retirement date
    • Known end of contract date
  • Future workforce
    • Planned recruitment
    • Planned reductions in force or redundancies
    • Availability of contractor resources
    • Impact of known mergers & acquisitions
  • Assumptions and Trends
    • Retention/Attrition rates by role/location
    • Anticipated promotion and transfer rates

The talent within your people (workforce) changes every day.  In part that’s driven by joiners, movers and leavers.  However, it is also driven by the experience (both on the job and in the classroom) gained through work.  Consequently, understanding the evolution of the talent within your organisation is just as vital an element of planning as having an accurate demand model and a well-aligned supply structure.


As every sci-fi fan will tell you, the fourth dimension is time.  Each of the other three dimensions (i.e. Demand, Supply and Talent) will change over time; hence the need for 4D planning.  The speed or frequency of change in any/all of the three dimensions determines the level of agility that an organisation needs to dynamically re-plan to ensure that Supply and Talent are always aligned with Demand.

At Dynama, we call agile 4D planning Dynamic Workforce Planning.