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Organizational planning: 5 steps to success

Written by Bruno Boksic

Organizational plans can do wonders for a company. They can help the organization set the direction of where it wants to go and then communicate all of that to every team member on every level of the company, from employees to stakeholders. 

With a solid organizational plan, everyone will understand where the company is heading in a given period of time, usually of a few years. 

Organizational planning can be really beneficial for companies, which is why it’s imperative to get it right. And this article will help you do so.

We’ll go over the different types of organizational planning, how to create the plan, and what its benefits are. But first, let’s define what organizational planning actually is.

What is organizational planning?

Organizational planning is a process by which the company creates a set of goals and objectives for a given period of time.

Organizations set such goals and objectives so that they can achieve profitability and success in the market. Organizational plans help executives communicate the company’s needs to all employees. 

Any company would struggle to be successful if they don’t plan out their activities. With no planning, it’s impossible to know where the company is heading, which leaves it vulnerable to internal and external forces and events. 

Internally, that means that every team will, figuratively speaking, pull the boat in the direction where they want it to go. That will cause disarray in the company, with every team pulling in the direction where they want to go and “the boat” not moving in any direction because of all the opposing forces. 

Even if there’s no internal disarray, the company would still be vulnerable to external factors and market movements. Trends and current events might push the company’s leadership to change course often. This can lead the company to chase trends and never be able to lead the market or make a place in the market for itself. 

Both of these problems can be avoided by careful organizational planning. But what kind of planning is needed to steer the company in the right direction? 

4 types of organizational planning

4 types of organizational planning

There are four types of organizational planning that every company should do if they want to succeed in the market: 

1. Workforce development planning

Workforce development planning means identifying and addressing the current and future needs of a workforce and using different strategies to enhance skills, knowledge, and abilities – and help employees grow and thrive. There are multiple steps the company needs to take when it comes to the planning of its workforce development: 

Analyze the current capacities of your workforce

The first thing when it comes to workforce development planning is to analyze the current capacities and skills of your entire workforce. 

This means creating a comprehensive talent map for all employees, including your C-level team members. The goal is to understand the baseline (i.e. the starting point) for all of your employees, identify skills gaps, and see what kind of training workers need to acquire new skills. 

The easiest way to do so is to use skills tests and analyze results. Tests are objective and bias-free and they will help you properly assess your workforce. 

Prepare, develop, and deliver learning and development sessions

After workforce assessments, the HR team should prepare the right learning and development sessions for all employees to teach them new skills that can help each team member stay relevant in the marketplace – and optimize the company’s performance as a whole. 

The half-life of a skill in 2017 was about 5 years, as estimated by the World Economic Forum (WEF); today, this number is constantly decreasing – according to Emeritus, the number was closer to 4 years in 2021, and we can only guess what impact AI will have on skills’ relevance. Otherwise said, you constantly need to upskill your workforce to stay successful and profitable and be able to compete with other companies in your industry. 

Prepare employees to fill the leadership pipeline

And last but not least, you need to prepare your most skilled employees to fill crucial roles in the organization. 

Those are the roles that make or break a company, which is also why you should always analyze your C-level employees as well: If one of your executives is close to retirement or if they’re leaving the company, you need the right succession-planning strategy in place to prepare for this and help employees fill leadership roles. 

2. Financial planning

Financial planning is another subtype of organizational planning. With financial planning, the company is creating projections of its future income and profits, allocating funds for strategic investments, and creating a budget for daily operational needs.

With financial planning, every company is trying to assess and estimate their future revenue, profit margins, and expenses, including employee salaries. Businesses also need to think about their future investments that will enable them to perform better in the marketplace. All of this falls under financial planning. 

3. Products-and-services planning

Products-and-services planning is all about analyzing and assessing new market opportunities and creating new products or services that the company can sell. To do this successfully, businesses need to: 

Analyze their current products and services

Companies need to analyze the market on which they’re selling their products and services, assess customers’ expectations and the experience they’re delivering, see if their offerings are still relevant, and evaluate whether they’ll continue to be relevant in the future. 

Markets and market trends change, which means that the company will also need to change its products and services to adapt to that. Whether that will require a new iteration of the product or service or a complete overhaul depends on what the company’s currently offering and on the market itself. 

Develop new products and services

To see if there’s room to launch another product or service, organizations need to analyze their market. Developing a new product or service will require careful planning and a lot of testing from the company to achieve a solid product-market fit. And all of this needs to be a part of the products-and-services planning. 

4. Expansion planning

Expansion planning is all about assessing a company’s capacity to achieve its goals and objectives when expanding to new markets or territories. 

To expand successfully, the company will need to assess the new market, create an expansion strategy, and also plan out the increase in their workforce to meet the increase in demand. 

Expansions require hiring more people, using different approaches, and sometimes even developing new products and services. All that requires careful planning. 

How to create an organizational plan

Creating an organizational plan is essential for any business to operate efficiently and achieve its goals. In this section, we’ll provide you with a five-step guide to creating an effective organizational plan to help you succeed. 

1. Create a strategic plan

The first step in the process is to create a strategic plan. A strategic plan usually involves the executives defining the company’s direction for a set period of time, usually 5 to 10 years, and is closely related to the company’s vision. With a strategic plan, the company is creating a qualitative goal such as “Become the industry leader,” or “Create a diverse workforce”. 

A strategic plan provides the direction in which the company is heading for a given period. After the strategic plan has been created and set, it’s time to define the specifics. 

2. Create a tactical plan

Based on your strategic plan,you need to develop a tactical plan. 

With a strategic plan, you define the direction in which your company is headed. With a tactical plan, you set clear milestones, checkpoints, and metrics that will enable you to know whether the company is going in the right direction. 

In the previous section, we mentioned two examples: 

  • Become the industry leader

  • Create a diverse workforce

Both of these goals are strategic and qualitative. To create a tactical plan, we need to set up clear metrics for both of these. Tactical plans for these two goals might look something like this: 

Become the industry leader:

  • Goal 1: Create and launch 3 new products in the next year

  • Goal 2: Promote the company and our products at 40 industry events and conferences over the next two years to increase brand awareness and solidify our position

  • Goal 3: Increase our market share by 25% over the next five years

Create a diverse workforce:

  • Goal 1: In the next six months, implement tools that enable you to make objective and fair hiring decisions (such as skills tests)

  • Goal 2: Increase the number of women in the workforce by 30% in the next two years

  • Goal 3: Create a diverse executive team by increasing the presence of underrepresented groups in the executive team by 25% in the next five years

Goals need to be specific and measurable – and you should tie them to a concrete deadline. 

3. Translate the plans into specific actions

Now that the company has developed a tactical plan, it’s time to translate it into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily objectives and actions for all employees. These activities need to be aligned with the tactical and strategic goals of the company. 

If we look at our two examples above, operational plans would look something like this: 

  • Become the industry leader

    • Goal 1: Create and launch 3 new products in the next year

      • Hire five more people for the research and development team in the next six months

      • Analyze market opportunities and define products’ characteristics 

      • Hire ten developers to help with execution

    • Goal 2: Promote the company and our products at 40 industry events and conferences over the next two years to increase brand awareness and solidify our position

      • Prepare presentations of the products and services for each convention

      • Look for sponsorship opportunities

    • Goal 3: Increase our market share by 25% over the next five years

      • Start using Google Ads to reach new audiences

      • Define and implement new strategies to reduce customer churn

      • Develop a robust partner network

  • Create a diverse workforce

    • Goal 1: In the next six months, implement tools that enable you to make objective and fair hiring decisions (such as skills tests)

      • Find the right platforms that meet your needs and requirements (for example, for skills testing, try out TestGorilla)

      • Implement them in your hiring process

      • Assess the impact of the new tools you’ve implemented

    • Goal 2: Increase the number of women in the workforce by 30% in the next two years

      • Use gender-neutral language when writing job descriptions (make sure you eliminate all words that might imply gender roles, such as “leader”, “interpersonal”, “ninja” and more)

      • Make benefits relevant to women a part of your employer branding 

      • Share salary and benefits information openly and develop a skills-based compensation system

      • Make sure your company is able to support moms at work 

    • Goal 3: Create a diverse executive team by increasing the presence of underrepresented groups in the executive team by 25% in the next five years

      • Create a leadership program that focuses on upskilling underrepresented groups and helping them gain the essential managerial skills

      • Encourage all employees to apply to internal openings for leadership roles

      • Create a bias-free employee-promotion policy

4. Execute the plan

Once your overall organizational plan is set, it’s time for the execution. 

No matter how good your strategic, tactical, and operational plans are, if the execution is not right, even the best plans will fail. So you need to ensure that employees are able to execute the plan correctly and have the right tools to do so. 

5. Review and iterate

Dwight D. Eisenhower used to say that planning is essential, but that plans are useless. What is meant by this statement is that all plans need to be changed and iterated once they hit reality.

No matter how well the company planned out its strategies and tactics, they will still need to be reviewed, changed, and iterated once they start to be implemented. Make sure you have the right milestones in place and assess progress and performance continuously. 

No organization should be a slave to their plans since they are only tools to achieve the goals. Change plans accordingly and ensure that they lead you to the set objectives. 

Plan your way to success

Organizational planning is essential if you want your organization to succeed. And to plan anything, you need to first assess your company, its workforce, and the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. 

This is where TestGorilla can help you – book a demo session with one of our team members today to see how skills testing can help you build a robust organizational plan and set you up for success.


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