Workforce planning is one of the key tasks of HR departments. Responding to current staffing needs and anticipating future ones is essential for every business to grow. After all, employees along with their experience, skills and personality traits are a company’s most valuable asset. We can differentiate between two types of workforce planning: ongoing and seasonal, each with its benefits and drawbacks. In today’s blog post, we will delve deeper into these two approaches to help you better understand how to implement effective workforce planning strategies. Read on.

Choosing between ongoing and seasonal workforce planning – table of contents:

  1. What is workforce planning?
  2. Ongoing workforce planning
  3. Seasonal workforce planning
  4. Which option is better?
  5. Summary

What is workforce planning?

This process is usually carried out by HR staff under the watchful eye of a recruitment director and hiring managers. It involves examining the company’s current human resources and anticipating future staffing needs. This can be done in the short and long term. In the latter case, it is of strategic importance and refers to anticipating skills that the organization will need in 2, 5 or 10 years (due to its business development plans and a dynamic market). The right approach to hiring new personnel is essential to ensure that the company has the resources to meet its goals without any disruptions in daily operations.

workforce planning

Ongoing workforce planning

In this model, the company responds to its human resource needs as soon as they are identified. It may open recruitment processes when an employee leaves to fill the vacancy, or when a particular team is overloaded with work (for example, when a new project requires significant resources). However, that’s not all – in such a situation, HR specialists continually analyze economic and labor market trends to predict future staffing needs. At the same time, they consult decisions on new hires with the finance department, ensuring that there are no significant budget gaps at any point.

Seasonal workforce planning

The process of seasonal workforce planning involves anticipating staffing needs during a specific period of the year, and it is still widely used by many companies. It can be applied to various industries, such as catering or tourism, and can also be adapted to specific business development plans, such as starting a new project. This approach provides full control over team expansion, including budget and workload management. Additionally, with this solution, you can set recruitment KPIs, which makes it easier to assess the recruiters’ efficiency.

Which option is better?

Ongoing workforce planning is well suited to the demands of today’s dynamic environment as it lets companies respond quickly to changing needs and stay ahead of the competition. However, it sometimes happens that staffing needs are greater than the budget, and it is necessary to transfer employees or resign from recruitment. In the case of seasonal workforce planning, there is no such risk as a recruitment budget is provided in advance.

However, it may be difficult to predict how many employees will be needed. If a company hires too many seasonal workers, it can lead to overstaffing and increased labor costs. On the other hand, an underestimated demand for seasonal workforce can result in insufficient staffing, causing delays in daily operations and difficulties in achieving organizational goals.


In the face of an economic crisis, quiet quitting, challenges related to talent acquisition, and dynamic competition in the job market, a workforce plan must be well-thought-out. Workforce planning strategies should be tailored to individual factors such as the number of employees, business development plans, and the overall health of the company. Nowadays, it’s getting more and more difficult to predict both internal (within the organization) and external (in the job market) changes, as demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. Therefore, ongoing workforce planning seems to be a safer and more flexible option.

Read also: What does an employee experience manager do?

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Finding the right fit. Choosing between ongoing and seasonal workforce planning nicole mankin avatar 1background

Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.