Unit of competency details

PSPHR504A - Implement workforce planning and succession strategies (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PSPHRM004 - Implement workforce planning and succession strategiesUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 06/Mar/2016

ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) 07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) 05/May/2009


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080303 Human Resource Management  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080303 Human Resource Management  24/May/2005 
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Modification History


TP Version 




Unit descriptor edited.



Layout adjusted. No changes to content.



Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers workforce planning and succession to underpin the organisation's strategic and business decisions. It includes, conducting workforce analysis and assisting with workforce planning and succession management.

In practice, workforce planning overlaps with other generalist and specialist workplace activities such as promoting ethical behaviour and compliance with legislation, capitalising on diversity, initiating projects, providing client service.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements are the essential outcomes of the unit of competency.

Together, performance criteria specify the requirements for competent performance. Text in bold italics  is explained in the Range Statement following.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Conduct workforce analysis 

1.1 In-depth analysis is conducted of current workforce practices, numbers, deployment, diversity  and competencies to provide a baseline for workforce planning and management.

1.2 Workforce data  is analysed and when required benchmarked against comparable data , trends are identified and interventions are suggested to address developments that do not support the organisation's strategic or business directions.

1.3 Labour market and industry analysis is undertaken to identify factors and trends that may impact on the organisation and the implications of these for workforce planning and management.

1.4 Scenario planning  or other forecasting tools are used to predict and assess likely futures for the organisation with their associated implications and risks.

1.5 The results  of workforce analysis are presented in objective and unbiased terms and reported in a form and language to suit the intended audience of the presentation.

1.6 The results of workforce analysis are contributed to corporate decision making about projected future workforce requirements.

2 . Contribute to workforce planning 

2.1 Information and advice is provided to managers  on all aspects of workforce planning  according to their requirements for business planning/outcomes.

2.2 Workforce planning tools are developed/provided to managers, and assistance is given in their use and the analysis of outcomes.

2.3 Solutions are developed and suggested for current and future workforce planning and management issues  in accordance with organisational requirements.

2.4 Consultancy services are provided to develop the human resource aspects of organisational and business unit plans to ensure the right numbers of appropriately diverse and skilled staff are available for future needs.

2.5 Managers are assisted to question current work practices and structures and to prepare workforce plans to translate future business requirements into actionable human resource strategies.

3 . Assist with succession management 

3.1 The critical role of succession planning  in managing the organisation's intellectual capital is communicated to managers and staff in ways suited to their level of understanding or experience.

3.2 A succession management strategy  is developed and candidate pools are identified  for imminent and longer term future vacancies in accordance with legislation, policy and procedures  and business unit needs.

3.3 Succession processes  are developed and agreed and the succession management strategy is implemented to meet organisational requirements.

3.4 The results of workforce analysis and planning are used to assist managers to undertake succession planning to identify requirements and manage transition when staff leave the organisation or business unit.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • analysing information and trends
  • consulting, negotiating and advising on workforce planning and succession management
  • leading and influencing in relation to workforce analysis and planning
  • applying problem solving
  • using a variety of words and language structures to explain ideas to different audiences
  • interpreting and explaining data and assisting others to apply the outcomes in the workplace
  • preparing written advice and reports requiring reasoning and precision of expression
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • applying occupational health and safety procedures and sustainability practices in the context of implementing workforce planning and succession strategies

Knowledge requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • data analysis
  • forecasting and planning
  • scenario planning
  • strategic thinking and analysis
  • organisational business planning cycle and processes
  • organisational goals, policies and procedures related to workforce planning and analysis
  • equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles
  • standard and content requirements of workforce analysis and planning reports
  • jurisdictional legislation applying to human resources, including freedom of information, privacy, confidentiality, occupational health and safety and environment and sustainability practices

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must be achieved prior to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must be assessed with this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPETHC501B Promote the values and ethos of public service
  • PSPGOV502B Develop client services
  • PSPGOV505A Promote diversity
  • PSPGOV507A Undertake negotiations
  • PSPGOV511A Provide leadership
  • PSPGOV512A Use complex workplace communication strategies
  • PSPLEGN501B Promote compliance with legislation in the public sector
  • PSPPM501B Design complex projects
  • PSPPM502B Manage complex projects

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of the Employability Skills as they relate to this unit (see Employability Summaries in Qualifications Framework)
  • workforce planning and succession strategies implemented in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • legislation, policies and procedures
  • workplace scenarios and case studies
  • forecasting models
  • workforce data for analysis
  • workforce planning guidelines and other relevant workplace materials

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when implementing workforce planning and succession strategies, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • workforce planning and succession strategies implemented in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • case studies
  • portfolios
  • projects
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics  in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

Workforce diversity data  may include:

  • age
  • gender
  • diversity profile
  • competency profile
  • qualifications

Workforce data may include:

  • absenteeism
  • age profile of staff
  • complaints
  • conference leave
  • costs associated with under-staffing
  • current functions, services and workplace practices
  • grievances
  • hard to fill jobs
  • learning and development
  • leave - annual, sick, recreation, personal
  • leave without pay
  • number, gender and diversity of staff at each classification level and across business units
  • permanent versus temporary versus contract workforce
  • recruitment and retention
  • staff nearing retirement
  • staff retention rates
  • staff satisfaction/dissatisfaction
  • staff turnover
  • study leave
  • sustainability practices
  • use of employee assistance program
  • vacancies

Scenario planning is:

  • a process for outlining the possible future as far as the organisation is concerned and developing a plan for dealing with that future. The uncertainty of both the forecasting process and the future itself may make it desirable to draw up a number of different scenarios. It is often advantageous to assign a degree of probability to a range of competing scenarios, for example, optimistic (best case scenario) or pessimistic (worst case scenario)

Results  may include:

  • matrix of required skills

Managers  may include:

  • line managers
  • business unit managers
  • senior executives

Aspects of workforce planning may include:

  • downsizing
  • human resource forecasts
  • job redesign
  • labour market projections
  • organisational design
  • recruitment
  • retention strategies
  • skill set availability
  • succession planning
  • supply and demand forecasting
  • sustainability/environmental practice requirements
  • workforce capability requirements

Future workforce planning and management issues may include:

  • future workforce requirements (size and skill set)
  • projected labour shortages
  • projected skill shortages
  • interventions to address projected shortages
  • over-supply
  • hard to recruit jobs
  • retention of skilled staff
  • diverse workforce composition
  • environmental and sustainability practices

Succession planning  is:

  • '... more than fingering a slate of replacements for certain positions. It is a deliberate and systematic effort to project leadership requirements, identify a pool of high potential candidates, develop leadership competencies in those candidates through intentional learning experiences, and then select leaders from among the pool of potential leaders' National Academy of Public Administration, Washington (1997)

Succession planning strategy may include:

  • inclusion of future development opportunities in position descriptions to encourage future progression

Candidate pools may be identified through:

  • leadership assessment activities

Legislation, policy and procedures  may include:

  • Commonwealth and State/Territory legislation including equal employment opportunity, anti-discrimination and privacy law
  • national and international codes of practice and standards
  • the organisation's policies and practices
  • government policy
  • environmental/sustainability policies
  • codes of ethics/conduct

Succession processes may include:

  • expressions of interest
  • formal interview process
  • acceptance into a candidate pool
  • learning and development
  • shadowing
  • coaching
  • mentoring

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Human Resource Management.