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HR planning

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1.What is HR planning ?
Human resources planning is a process intended to help guide the organization plan in many general areas concerned with the organization in order to enhance its employees performance, such as, staffing, the growth and development of the organization, planning training programs for the employees, job rotations, and the process of designing, managing and implementing programs that help and support the employees like benefits and compensation programs. Nowadays, human resources planning is not something the HR department should do on its own. In high performing organizations, good human resources practices are most effectively performed by line managers with the human resources department providing the tools, guidance, and counseling needed for the line managers to be successful. Thus, Human resources planning could be considered as a process that links the practices of human resources with the strategies of the organization through the collaboration between Human resources professionals and line managers in the organization to identify how to accomplish the strategies of the organization and reach a higher level of performance. This figure below illustrates how Human resources planning is used to link the strategic planning of an organization with the practices of human resources:

2.Methods of HR planning:
There many ways to make human resources planning in an organization, but the two most popular ways are standard planning approach and strategy-based planning approach. 2.1 Standard HR planning: (Traditional approach)

This approach is the most commonly used approach in human resources planning. It uses the configuration of the size of the staff at the end of the year to project the costs and the level of staffing for the following years. Scenarios are then developed for incremental staffing and cost for new programs and projects.

2.1.2 Drawbacks of standard HR planning:
•It implies that all existing business activities will be continued and are as important as new strategies and plans. •It assumes that the current business activities are the foundation for reaching the company s business goals and are being performed effectively. •It can unnecessarily increase staff levels and not consider the specific competencies that are needed to achieve the strategic objectives. •It will not uncover, within the organization, those who continue to want to increase the level of employees to preserve power and compensation without looking at productivity. •It tends to institutionalize the existing planning process and systems beyond their usefulness. •It shortcuts important communications from line and staff managers on their goals and support requirements. •It supports an outdated concept tying compensation and recognition programs to rewarding those with the largest staffs. •It supports the nonproductive concept that one must have sufficient staff to respond immediately to any request regardless of its importance.

2.2 Strategy-based HR planning: (Modern approach)
This approach is a more effective approach than the previous approach and is being used in most -if not all- of the successful and high performing companies. It relies on analyzing and creating the staffing and services for an organization based on its strategic goals. It also tries to minimize or eliminate any factor that does not support the strategies of the organization.

2.2.1 The process of strategy-based HR planning:
•Start by understanding the specific business priorities by department and business unit based on the overall strategic objectives. •Understand the internal and external factors that may affect the achievement of the objectives that will ultimately impact the programs and services you will provide. •Understand who has the responsibility and accountability for achieving each of the objectives, where they are shared, and who is to absorb the associated costs. •Determine if alternatives for the achievement of each business objective have been developed and what impact that will have on services. •Translate these business objectives into specific human resources programs and services. •Determine the trade-offs in terms of resources needed and timing and analyze the impact if each business objective that is not achieved in terms of human resources services. •Test each priority and determine where efficiencies can be achieved. •Determine the staffing requirements to meet the business objectives, including level of staffing required and timing; type of employees and specific competencies required; current complement versus your zero-based staffing requirements; where surpluses and gaps exist.

3. Areas of HR planning:
Many people have a common misconception that human resource planning is only concerned with manpower and staffing planning, but this is widely off the mark as this process takes into consideration many more aspects which are: •Services to be provided in support of the specific strategic objectives and the cost and timing for these services. •Prioritization of the strategic objectives and identification of the specific services to support those objectives with cost and benefit analysis. •Internally versus externally purchased services and costs and benefit analysis. •The services that will be centrally provided, as well as those that will be decentralized or shared with other functions. •Competency gaps between existing staffing and those required by the strategic plan and how those gaps will be filled.

•Training and development needs that support the strategic plan and address the competency gaps. •Communications needs in support of specific business activities. •Upgrades of programs, services, and equipment that will be required. •New human resources technology introductions to the organization needed to support the business objectives. •Where efficiencies in programs, services, and productivity could be achieved in areas that may be nice to have but do not support the strategic objectives. •Acquisition integration issues and impact on existing resources and achievement of the strategic objectives. •Downsizing or re-engineering issues and impact on resources. •Succession planning and where need can be filled internally and those that will have to be filled externally. •Compensation and benefits budget projections.

•Types of metrics to be used to evaluate performance and the costs to provide them.

4. Conclusion:
Strategy-based human resource planning is the best approach for organizations to adopt when performing their human resource practices, as it helps maximize the efficiency of the organization and makes its performance better and increases its competitive advantage. This is because when line managers and human resources professionals participate with each other in doing the human resources practices, they form a business partnership that complements each group and benefits the organization as a whole.

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