Agency / Sector Workforce Strategies

Last updated: 23 August 2013

The workforce resources in this section have been updated. Workforce strategy is an important element of Four-year Plans.

The State Services Commission (SSC) has a role in building a resilient, responsive and adaptable State Services. Workforce strategy across the public service is a key part of this work.

Agency workforce strategies

A Workforce Strategy is a core part of an agency's or sector's business strategy and change agenda.  Its purpose is to assist agencies and sectors to design and achieve the capability needed to deliver better results, now and in the future.  Workforce Strategy timeframes may vary but typically covers a minimum of four years.

A Workforce Strategy adds value by:

  • Confirming that an agency's/sector's business strategy and results can be resourced and achieved

  • Assisting an agency/sector to work through the organisational development and people  aspects of its business strategy

  • Providing an agency/sector with a 'whole of organisation' view of their future workforce needs

  • Providing agencies/sectors with another way of communicating the future to their people

  • Putting in place a planned  organisational development and workforce pathway that supports an agency to achieve its PIF Four-year Excellence Horizon

  • Providing a means to communicate to Ministers the agencies'/sector's response to workforce pressures in an environment of constrained funding.

We recognise that agencies are in different stages of development with Workforce Strategies.  While some agencies have greater depth of experience in developing workforce strategies, we trust that agencies will find the resources on this webpage useful in describing the key areas of enquiry for workforce strategies, especially for those agencies still building their experience.

Four-year Plans: Workforce Strategy Resources

Workforce Strategy is an important element of Four-year Plans.  The State Services Commission and the Treasury have jointly led the development of a Four-year Plan Guide which includes guidance on the workforce component. 

The updated Four-year Plan guide, released on 7 August 2013, is the first point of reference for agencies and sectors for the development of the workforce aspect of Four-year Plans. This year the Four-year Plan Guide for Budget 14 offers more flexibility for agencies/sectors in how they present the organisational capability and workforce elements of Four-year Plans.

Because of the summary nature of the workforce element of Four-year Plans, we encourage agencies to also provide SSC with a copy of their full Workforce Strategy (or similar document) where these are available, in support of their Four-year Plan.

Workforce strategy resources displayed in the Related Resources section below complement information in the Four-year Plan Guide.  It is strongly recommended that agencies and sectors use the 'Notes for Agencies' and 'Notes for Sectors' as a background resource for the preparation of workforce aspects of Four-year Plans.


The SSC Workforce Strategy Team is available to advise agencies and sectors on the workforce strategy aspects of Four-year Plans.

Please phone your SSC Workforce Strategy team contact or email us at

Case Studies

Two agencies involved in the first round of workforce strategies in 2011 agreed to share their experience of developing a Workforce Strategy. The State Service Commission would like to acknowledge the support and cooperation of the New Zealand Customs Service and Land Information New Zealand. 

Links to the case studies are included below.

2013 Four-year Plans

The Four-year Plans developed for Budget 2013 are now available on The Treasury's website under Budget 2013. A link to the main page is included below.