Strategic workforce planning (SWP) has been employed for decades but gains prominence during times of crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic we are in. Even for organizations that have mature SWP capabilities and plans, those plans, in most cases, have been turned upside down as a whole new set of unexpected factors and variables must be quickly considered. One strategic planning tool for rapid SWP is scenario planning (SP). SP looks at possible “realities” of what might happen in the future of your organization and uses this information to help think through and plan responses. While SP can be complex, some quick steps are: 1) identify plausible scenarios – usually 3 possible, but uncertain scenarios 2) assess the relative likelihood of each scenarios’ occurrence 3) identify leading indicators that “signal” the scenario is likely to emerge (doing so enables a quick response before it is too late), 4) identify the talent impacts of each scenario 5) develop both operational and strategic responses for each scenario. You can list responses by things you can do preemptively or that should be done as soon as a scenario begins to emerge. These scenarios and respective responses need to be adjusted as new information arises and situations change. While SP cannot eliminate uncertainty, it enables organizations to more quickly and effectively evaluate a wide range of strategic options and decisions. And although not directly related to the steps I just outlined, this Powerpoint template by Gartner can be used to organize scenarios and think through responses. SP should be incorporated into an organization’s normal strategic business planning and workforce planning processes where it factors in a range of variables and situations that can impact business performance and workforce strategies.