Strategic human resource planning
Human resources planning is a process that identifies current and future human resources needs for an organization to achieve its goals. Human resources planning should serve as a link between human resources management and the overall strategic plan of an organization. Aging worker populations in most western countries and growing demands for qualified workers in developing economies have underscored the importance of effective Human Resources Planning.
As defined by Bulla and Scott, human resource planning is ‘the process for ensuring that the human resource requirements of an organization are identified and plans are made for satisfying those requirements’. Reilly defined workforce planning as: ‘A process in which an organization attempts to estimate the demand for labour and evaluate the size, nature and sources of supply which will be required to meet the demand.’ Human resource planning includes creating an employer brand, retention strategy, absence management strategy, flexibility strategy, talent management strategy, recruitment and selection strategy.
The planning processes of most best practice organizations not only define what will be accomplished within a given time-frame, but also the numbers and types of human resources that will be needed to achieve the defined business goals (e.g., number of human resources; the required competencies; when the resources will be needed; etc.).
Competency-based management supports the integration of human resources planning with business planning by allowing organizations to assess the current human resource capacity based on their competencies against the capacity needed to achieve the vision, mission and business goals of the organization. Targeted human resource strategies, plans and programs to address gaps (e.g., hiring / staffing; learning; career development; succession management; etc.) are then designed, developed and implemented to close the gaps.
These strategies and programs are monitored and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that they are moving the organizations in the desired direction, including closing employee competency gaps, and corrections are made as needed. This Strategic HR Planning and evaluation cycle is depicted in the diagram below. Human resource planning is the ongoing process of systematic planning to achieve the best use of an organisation's most valuable asset - its human resources. The objective of human resource (HR) planning is to ensure the best fit between employees and jobs, while avoiding workforce shortages or spares. The three key elements of the HR planning process are forecasting labour demand, analysing present labour supply, and balancing projected labour demand and supply.
The following implementation stages are suggested for mid to large organizations implementing competencies in support of Strategic Human Resources Planning.
Short - Term HR Planning
- Establish a Competency Architecture and Competency Dictionary that will support Strategic Human Resource Planning.
- For each group to be profiled, define the roles and career streams to help identify current and future human resources needs.
- Determine how competencies will be integrated with the existing HR Planning process and systems (e.g., Human Resource Information Management systems; other computer-based tools, for example forecasting models).
- Build or revamp HR Planning tools, templates and processes to incorporate elements as determined in Stage 1.
- Train managers and / or facilitate corporate HR Planning process.
- Continuously monitor and improve processes, tools and systems to support HR Planning
Overarching policy, process and tools
Human Resource Information Management Infrastructure
Governance/accountability structure Organizations that have effectively implemented competencies on a corporate-wide basis have ensured that there is an appropriate project management, governance and accountability framework in place to support the development, maintenance and revision/updating of the competency profiles to meet changing demands.
Process implementation stages
The following implementation stages are suggested for mid to large organizations.
- Identify the infrastructure and system requirements to support full implementation (e.g., Human Resources Information Management System; other on-line software tools needed to support various CBM applications).
- Develop the competency profiles.
- Implement the competency profiles in a staged-way to demonstrate benefits and create buy-in (e.g., as soon as profiles for a group are developed, implement quickly within a low-risk high-benefit planned application for the group).
- Communicate success stories as competency profiles are implemented.
- Good for organization.
- Develop, revise/update competency profiles to meet changing demands.
- Monitor and evaluate applications to ensure that they are meeting organizational needs, and adjust programs/plans, as needed, to meet evolving needs.
- Bulla, D N and Scott, P M (1994) Manpower requirements forecasting: a case example, in Human Resource Forecasting and Modelling, ed D Ward, T P Bechet and R Tripp, Human Resource Planning Society, New York
- Reilly, P., (2003). Guide to Workforce Planning in Local Authorities, Employers Organization for Local Government, London.