Strategic human resources planning

The most valuable asset an organisation has is its human resources – its employees. Their skills and knowledge and their relationships with key partners and customers are often irreplaceable and can play a key role in determining the organisation’s success. Human resources planning has become an integral part of many organisations’ strategies.

Effective HR planning is crucial and not just to ensure profitability. It enables the organisation to keep up with business growth, prepare for challenges posed by Brexit and to shield itself and its staff from unforeseen factors or to effectively manage the downsizing of a business and minimise risk.

Planning for downsizing and redundancies

A crucial aspect of human resources planning is preparing for downsizing and redundancies. A business can lose a key client overnight and suddenly have a larger workforce than required. Scaling down and redundancies can become a necessity for the long-term survival of the business. Planning before and throughout a redundancy process means the business avoids any legal consequences while also ensuring it chooses the right areas to scale back on. Not all companies that experience difficult times downsize.

Human resources planning process

Human resources planning feeds into the HR strategy which is the business’s overall plan for managing its human capital and ensuring it aligns with its business activities. This strategy sets the direction and long-term plan for all the key areas of HR such as recruitment, staff performance and development, appraisal and salary and benefits. The overall objective of human resources planning is to make sure the organisation has the correct number of people in the correct roles at the correct time that support the overall business objective.

1.   Assess current human resources capacity

Businesses must start by looking at the status of their current human resources. This means analysing the HR strength of the organisation across employee numbers, skills, qualifications, experience, age, performance, titles, salaries and benefits. It’s also helpful to gather input from managers who can provide on the ground feedback on the human resources issues they face and the areas they believe require change.

2.   Identify future HR needs

The next step is to identify the future HR needs of the business and how HR can be used to meet these organisational goals. You will need to look at the market and current trends, new technologies that could automate particular processes and perform an analysis of the industry to be able to gauge future requirements. This process must also be linked to the goals of the organisation such as launching new products or services, entering new markets or expanding into new areas.

3.   Spot gaps in human resources

An effective human resources plan will be able to find a balance between supply and demand. By evaluating the current HR capacity and identifying future requirements, it’s possible to get a clear picture of any gaps that may exist. For instance, the HR forecast will enable you to better judge if there will likely be a skills gap or whether you could upskill current employees or recruit new people who already have the required skills.

4.   Combine the HR plan with the organisation’s strategy

The final step in effective HR planning is to integrate the human resources plan with the organisation’s overall strategy. There will need to be a dedicated budget for human resources recruiting, training or redundancies. Crucially, any HR plan must have management buy-in. There needs to be cooperation and the required budget to implement the plan and a collaborative approach right across the business to put it into practice.

Create an effective HR strategy

Successful HR strategies are built on the foundations of good planning and have the overarching goal of creating a work environment that cultivates an engaged, productive and loyal workforce. Retail giant Marks & Spencer has become one of the best-loved brands, largely thanks to their HR strategies. Employee engagement has become a priority of the business which is reflected in the annual staff surveys and strong communication across the business. Meanwhile, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s vision is “to be one of the most trusted retailers, where people love to work and shop”. Encouraging this ‘buy-in’ across the business has seen the business become one of the UK’s largest food retailers.

HR Planning Support

HR Solutions can help you formulate your HR Strategy, through an engaged exercise to help explore your company’s objectives and overall vision for future success. To find out more call call us on 0844 324 5840 or contact us online.




Got questions? Looking for advice?


Got questions? Looking for advice?


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