What is construction workforce planning?

And why is it important?

What is construction workforce planning?

Planning out construction workforce needs is crucial to ensure business success, but it’s often overlooked and neglected, as resources are often focused on project completion.

While projects should rightfully be prioritized, maintaining the functioning of your business means proper and strategic workforce planning. After all, workers are the backbone of all construction projects, and being able to anticipate future labor needs ensures sustained business growth.

Here’s what you need to know about the workforce planning process, including its purpose, the benefits it presents, and common planning practices that you may find valuable.

What is construction workforce planning?

The basics are the first things you need to know about construction workforce planning. Effective construction workforce planning (also known as talent management) should consider the following.


Planning should be centered around a talent strategy that’s carefully mapped out and matches with overall business goals, taking into consideration factors that could potentially affect the timely completion of projects. It should be based on immediate staffing needs and workforce demand for the future.


Contingencies and constant change-ups during construction projects are a given. Operational workforce planning allows you to be prepared for those changes, as you’ll then have enough hands on deck to make adjustments as needed. In other words, planning grants a degree of flexibility that can be incredibly valuable.


Your construction workforce planning should include the use of current data and project trends to better understand the potential impact on your organization from internal and external forces. General contractors must be mindful of regional trends in their workforce demographics, labor availability, and early indications of any skills gaps.


Workforce plans need to have a purpose to them. That is to say, they should align with your overall business strategy, evaluating what your business already has available to determine what talent gaps need to be filled in.

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The purpose of strategic workforce planning

If all of that sounds like a big jumble of random words that don’t really make sense, a better way to think about construction workforce planning is that it helps make sure that the person with the right skills is working the right job at the right time. 

Workforce planning involves seriously thinking about your organization’s future (i.e., succession planning) and trying to identify where gaps in your workforce might come up (i.e., scenario planning). These gaps could come because of:

  • Retirement (i.e., an aging workforce)
  • Returning to school
  • Leaving for a better opportunity because they aren’t being promoted
  • Gaps between project commitments
  • A myriad of different situations

You just need to be aware of future workforce needs and have action plans in place in case people leave. For more information, check out our guide to construction workforce management.

The elements of construction workforce planning

For strategic workforce planning, consider these elements. Knowing the various aspects involved will allow you to better account for things like workforce gaps.

Forecasting demand

Forecasting and planning for workforce demand means determining how many workers are needed for specific job roles. For this, consider:

  • If project expectations are being met based on your business’ currently available labor
  • Whether workforce supply and demand are being coordinated
  • Levels of under and over-allocated workers
  • Timing in hiring workers and when to prioritize it
  • The availability of workers based on the labor market
  • Any future talent needs that need to be factored in

Planning workforce supply based on analysis

Analysis of workforce supply and demand involves professionals like HR leaders looking at your company’s current labor resources and assessing whether or not they’re sufficient. Performance indicators and departure rates are often used in this analysis.

Turnover often occurs due to external factors (like economic conditions), worker demographics (like travel time), and internal working conditions. Workers are more likely to stay in environments where there’s less pay disparity and they’re more likely to earn promotions.

To combat turnover, succession planning to pass down leadership roles should be considered.

Gap analysis and action planning

Gap analysis and action planning involve a company evaluating its gaps and then figuring out what actions it needs to take in order to close those gaps.

The benefits of construction workforce planning

With all the basics down on construction workforce planning, you’re probably wondering how all of this can actually benefit your company.

After all, it seems like a lot of work on your end to plan and analyze all these different areas within your workforce. But we can definitely promise you that all the time and effort that you put into workforce planning for your business will be returned exponentially.

Maximizes team efficiency and potential

Companies benefit from effective workforce planning in greater team efficiency, allowing them to maximize the potential of the workers they have on hand.

Overallocation, after all, can lead to worker burnout, decreasing quality and accuracy. Meanwhile, underallocation wastes financial resources. Planning can help prevent both and can help you meet strategic objectives through more strategic means.

Maximizes profit

Another benefit of workforce planning is that it allows you to maximize your business’ profit. Construction workforce planning helps make sure that you always have the right employees working at the right time so that you can eliminate all the money that is wasted on overstaffing. It also mitigates project risk due to short-staffing.

Prevents high employee turnover

Better workforce planning means greater retention of current employees.

It’s been proven that high turnover rates are detrimental to profit margins, as time and money are wasted on the hiring and training process. Especially in the construction industry where workers become a significant investment, keeping good employees that are valuable in the midst of an already persistent labor shortage is important.

While workforce planning for your future workforce is crucial, keeping the employees you already have plays a vital role in looking ahead and mapping out the success of your business.

The best practices in construction workforce planning

To develop strategies for strategic planning, keep these practical tips in mind.

Consult with teams, employees, and professionals

Senior leadership should take care to consult with teams, existing employees, and professionals to get a clearer picture of what their current workforce is like and what needs must be fulfilled. Whether it’s HR leaders or employees working on certain projects, make sure to gauge conditions before taking any further action on workforce planning.

Not only will this help with workforce planning, but employees will feel that their opinions are valued, and you’ll foster an environment that further encourages teamwork and collaboration.
To fill in for staffing gaps, many consider making use of talent management or construction staffing agencies for professional help.

Utilize technology

Another best practice when it comes to construction workforce planning is to utilize a great tool at your disposal: technology. 

While workforce planning would still be important if you were to do it manually, you can increase your efficiency tenfold if you utilize a construction workforce planning system instead of doing it on your own with a spreadsheet or whiteboard system. 

Whatever amount of money you invest in this system, you’ll easily make back in terms of increased profit and better organizational efficiency.

Whatever amount of money you invest in this system, you’ll easily make back in terms of increased profit and better organizational efficiency.

Regularly monitor data

To ensure strategic workforce planning that aligns with your business strategy, it’s important to keep an eye on data as it changes.

Workforce planning is a constant process that must be regularly monitored. This is due to the prevalence of market fluctuations and other external factors, as well as internal factors like limited budgets and so on. Data can change at the drop of a hat based on these factors—therefore, paying attention to it is essential.

Workforce plans should be based on real-time, current, and accurate data for the best workforce planning.

Implementing construction workforce planning

With all that said, you may be wondering how to implement workforce planning into your operations to fill in for workforce gaps and ensure the right amount of labor is on board. Here’s how you can implement workforce planning for increased profit and efficiency.

Look at your current workforce

The first step that you need to take when implementing construction workforce planning is to look at your current workforce. Utilizing some of the indicators of attrition mentioned above, you can begin to plan for the future of your workforce. 

But you shouldn’t just look at demographics. You should also look at things like the skills, strengths, and weaknesses of your employees to see how they line up with the direction that your company is going in the future. 

The last thing you need to do is look outside your company to the potential hiring pool and see what they have to offer in terms of skills and talent.

Keep future needs in mind

When planning out a workforce, it’s vital to keep your company’s business strategy at the forefront. Think about where your company plans to be in 5 years’ time and make sure your workforce aligns with this vision.

Of course, it’s normal to consider that, with the constantly-fluctuating nature of the construction industry, nothing is wholly predictable and objectives are subject to change. Nevertheless, it helps to identify future goals and think about where employees fit into them when planning workforce supply.

Create a plan that accounts for gaps

You’ll then need to create a comprehensive plan that assesses workforce supply and demand to ensure that your workforce planning aligns with long-term goals.

Workforce planning should take into account things like labor costs, local labor markets, training times, and so on. This plan should have clear goals and actionable steps to take.

For example, your plan might outline a training or recruiting program that will allow you to fill in for significant company labor gaps.

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Improve your workforce planning with Bridgit Bench

Needless to say, having a workforce plan in place can go a long way. Proper planning can make a huge difference in success, ensuring your business is well-prepared for future workforce needs.

We hope this blog post encourages you to come up with strategic objectives for mapping out your labor force and navigating the difficulties brought on by persistent labor market shortages.

Strategic workforce planning means making use of the best resources available. For that, consider Bridgit Bench, an all-in-one labor management solution that allows you to better determine the right people to put on jobs, what staffing gaps need to be filled, and more.

Ready for more effective workforce planning? Request a demo with Bridgit today!

Lauren Lake headshot

Lauren Lake

Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more.

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