In this lesson, we’ll define human resource planning and explore the many responsibilities of the human resource department. We’ll then learn about the process of human resource planning.
A First Glance
Let’s imagine that you work for a company called Super Sports. Your job is to make sure there is always enough inventory to stock the shelves. This means that when an item is coming close to selling out, you’re responsible for ordering a new shipment. Over the course of the five years that you’ve worked there, you have been able to take pride in the fact that no item has ever sold out. You’ve always been good at maintaining a steady source of inventory.
That is, until one employee leaves for maternity leave and another employee suddenly quits. You now find yourself trying to do three jobs instead of just your one. After weeks of struggling to complete your very long list of new duties, you notice that many items are out of stock and there isn’t any available inventory to restock the shelves.
You decide to speak to the human resource department to see when they might be hiring more employees to help with the labor shortage the company is now facing.Through this experience, you learn a lot about human resource planning.
Defining Human Resource Planning
To fully understand the human resource planning process, let’s first define human resources.
Human resources is the department that finds, screens, and recruits employees, and ultimately trains those employees. The human resource department also handles all employee benefit programs.Human resource planning is the process of making sure there’s adequate staffing, and that employees are qualified to meet the needs of the company. In other words, human resource planning is a method of identifying when a company needs more employees, and then finding individuals who are qualified to fulfill those positions. The objective of human resource planning is to avoid shortages or surpluses in labor.
Once a shortage is identified, human resource planning begins by recruiting and training new employees. The goals of the process are to forecast a change in the demand of labor, understand and analyze the current labor situation, and see to it that the company is well balanced with the right amount of labor to meet its objectives.It’s important to point out that part of obtaining and retaining labor is providing benefits programs that appeal to potential employees and satisfy current employees.
Thus, benefit programs are another important aspect of human resource planning.Using the example from earlier, it would be the responsibility of those in charge of human resource planning to forecast the employee’s absence during maternity leave and fill her position accordingly so that the company still runs efficiently. As for the employee that quit, human resource planning also entails quickly identifying a shortage in labor, and recruiting and training a new qualified employee to fill the position.
The Process of HR Planning
We know that human resource planning is a method of fulfilling the staffing needs of a company so that it can operate efficiently and meet its objectives. But how is this accomplished? The following are some simple steps that can help human resource planning be successful.
First is identifying needs. Obviously, employees leave their jobs from time to time. Sometimes it’s because they took another job, other times it’s due to retirement. Both of these factors fall within the category of internal changes. However, sometimes consumer demand changes, or there’s a change in the industry, either of which can force a company to seek employees with additional skills or even new sets of skills that the company might have never had to have before. These changes are external changes.
Both types of changes force human resource planning to identify the labor needs of a company. The maternity leave situation discussed in our example represents an internal change for Super Sports.Next is understanding phases. Filling labor needs is not as easy as taking the first applicant and throwing him in the position. The process requires a few phases to ensure that the company has employees qualified to help it run efficiently. This means that human resource planning needs to gather data and analyze expected demand in order to shape future plans.
For example, if Super Sports is planning on expanding, human resource planning would mean preparing to hire more employees. The HR department would have to decide whether to promote from within or hire new employees. Perhaps Super Sports might decide to promote you to assistant manager to fill the role of the employee who quit. They then might decide to hire a new employee to fulfill your role of stocking shelves and handling inventory.Finally, human resource planning requires understanding benefits. While labor staffing is a crucial part of human resource planning, offering benefit programs to satisfy and retain employees is equally important. For example, the employee who suddenly quit Super Sports might have done so because he was not happy with his benefits package.
Perhaps he found another company that was willing to offer dental insurance when Super Sports would not. Maybe the labor shortage could have been avoided if Super Sports had offered the right benefits.
Human resource planning is the process of filling the labor needs of a company while providing employee benefit programs.
This means that proper planning identifies the needs of a company and staffs labor accordingly so that there’s not a shortage or surplus of employees. Some steps in the process of successful human resource planning include identifying the needs of the company, understanding the phases of filling labor, and understanding the right benefits to attract and retain employees.