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Human Resources Planning Guide for Executives

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STEP 2 — Scan the environment

An environmental scan is a process by which you systematically examine and interpret external and internal events, factors and conditions likely to have an impact on your organization. A good understanding of these elements will also help to clarify how the organization will evolve in the future.

This step will help you to:

  • Plan for projected shortfalls in skill sets or resource levels
  • Identify opportunities for improvement
  • Identify and anticipate external and internal issues that could affect the workplace and the workforce, and therefore the capacity of the organization to meet its business objectives
  • Evaluate the risks associated with these issues and develop strategies to mitigate the risks
  • Create a work environment that will help to attract, retain and develop competent and engaged employees

Factors to consider

External scan

The external scan consists of identifying the most important factors external to the organization that could affect your organization, either negatively or positively.

Key factors to consider are demographics, the economy and labour market, relevant legislative requirements, scientific or technological changes, and societal, environmental and cultural values.

  • Have you considered the supply of and demand for employees with the skills you need?
  • Have you considered current trends in the labour market that could affect your sources of recruitment?
  • Are technological advancements having an impact on certain occupational groups?

Internal scan

Knowing your organization is essential to the planning process. You need a thorough understanding of the internal environment in which your organization operates.

The internal scan looks at factors that may affect your organization's human resources capacity to achieve its business goals, such as:

  • workforce composition (profile, trends, skills)
  • changes in policy platform, guidelines, program delivery, organizational structure
  • government-wide initiatives that influence the workforce and the workplace (e.g. diversity and employment equity; official languages; learning, training and development; values and ethics; workplace well-being)

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