Strategic human resources planning

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[edit] Introduction

Strategic human resources planning is the element of strategic business planning concerned with quantitative and qualitative staff capacity planning. The aim is to ensure that the company has access over the short, medium and long term to the right number of the right kind of staff, when and where they are needed and in accordance with company policy objectives.

The objective of strategic human resources planning is to provide the required number of appropriately qualified staff, so helping to secure the company’s survival into the future.

[edit] Background

Strategic human resources planning comprises four aspects:

  • Quantitative human resources planning ensures that the right number of staff are available.
  • Qualitative human resources planning ensures the availability of appropriately qualified staff.
  • Human resources scheduling ensures that the necessary staff resources are available when they are needed.
  • Local human resources planning ensures that the resources provided are appropriate to local requirements within the department, site or company in question.

There are various methods for determining human resources requirements. The model described below is one variant covering the points found in different models:

  • Future development of the company – The company should be clear about its strategic direction and the question of which parts of the company will expand, which will remain the same size, and which will be downsized or eliminated.
  • The timeframe for future development – An analysis is carried out to determine how the company will develop over time. The analysis comprises macroeconomic projections and analysis of demographic trends and takes into account foreseeable or probable legislative changes and current HR trends within the company.
  • Current status – An as-is analysis provides information about structures and expertise currently available within the company. The analysis can also provide information about which employees have the potential and outlook needed to meet future new requirements within a foreseeable timeframe. The as-is analysis also determines which gaps cannot be filled from the current workforce. Recruitment will be needed to cover these.
  • Determination of requirements – This establishes which roles and structures will be needed to implement company strategy as regards the developments under analysis. It specifies the target status that must be achieved at a particular point in the future in order to meet the demands of the company strategy and the environment.
  • Implementation – After the current status and future requirements have been determined, implementation of the necessary actions can begin. Measures should be devised to ensure that those employees who are capable of and worth developing remain with the company and to develop them to fill the required roles at the required time. The timing of any recruitment required must be coordinated with the requirement and be exactly tailored to fill the gaps identified. Where the analysis reveals a need for restructuring, this must be initiated.

A particular challenge in strategic human resources planning is the fact that the “objects” of the planning are human beings. As such, psychological and sociological factors must also be considered. This necessitates a high degree of communication and mediation. When employees are confronted with change, they must know what the objective of the change is and what will be expected of them in future.

[edit] Strategic human resources planning and demographic change

Demographic change will pose new and additional challenges for strategic human resources planning in future. There is every danger that qualified staff will become a scarce commodity. More than ever before, companies will need to source and develop qualified staff with management potential from within their own ranks. In their strategic human resources planning activities, therefore, companies will need to use tools such as competence needs analysis to determine what resources will be needed where and when. They will also need to make greater use of tools such as potential analysis that enable them to determine which (future) resource gaps can be filled from existing personnel. In times when skills are in short supply, preparations for both measures will need to begin well in advance, meaning that the consequences of failings in strategic human resources planning will have much further-reaching implications than during times when cohorts born during periods of high birth rates provide an adequate supply of skilled staff.

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