definition human resource planning

definition human resource planning

A Definition of Human Resource Planning

Human resource planning can help improve business operations.

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The human resources department is a critical component for employees in any business, regardless of its size. This support system is responsible for everything from payroll to hiring a new employee. Human resource planning is an extended part of this system, and is used to ultimately structure and meet organizational goals.

While a traditional human resource role serves as an administrative control function, human resource planning develops strategies for matching the skills and size of the workforce to organizational needs. In other words, the planning system specifically recruits, trains and restructures the staff/personnel needed to meet business objectives and any changes within the external environment.

Three main responsibilities are important to complete in order to prepare for the planning process. These responsibilities include forecasting the demand for labor, performing a supply analysis, and balancing supply and demand considerations.

The process of human resource planning involves assessing the already existing workforce by analyzing individual employee's skills to see if they are a valuable part of the company future. Ultimately, this may include the development of training and retraining strategies. In order to keep up with a competitive market, organizations use human resource planning to create new and innovative strategies designed to recruit new talent and improve employee retention.

Human resource planning is often a part of a company business plan. It is important to develop strategies that will continue on with the organization in all environments. An effective human resource planning strategy will be set up to address hard economic times. For example, if an economic crash occurs, Company A may decide to let go of several staff members to save money because they do not have an effective strategy in place. Company B will keep their staff because they have developed a strategy and understand that, in the long run, it would take more money and time to rehire a new team versus temporarily saving money by losing staff members like Company A.

The goals of human resource planning are to ultimately improve how a company operates. Creating a stable team is an important goal based on recruiting and revised/new training methods. It is also important to include innovative strategies that fall in line with the company business objectives. Finally, the ability to adapt to any changes within the external and internal environment appropriately is critical to effective human resource planning.

J. Mariah Brown is the owner and editor-in-chief of Writings by Design, a comprehensive business writing service company. She is a formally trained, seasoned journalist, and has worked in a variety of fields, which has equipped her with the experience needed to write and edit for an eclectic audience base on virtually any topic.

HRP: Human Resource Planning: Meaning, Definition and Features

HRP: Human Resource Planning: Meaning, Definition and Features!

Meaning Human Resource Planning:

Human resource is the most important asset of an organisation. Human resources planning are the important managerial function. It ensures the right type of people, in the right number, at the right time and place, who are trained and motivated to do the right kind of work at the right time, there is generally a shortage of suitable persons.

The enterprise will estimate its manpower requirements and then find out the sources from which the needs will be met. If required manpower is not available then the work will suffer. Developing countries are suffering from the shortage of trained managers. Job opportunities are available in these countries but properly trained personnel are not available. These countries try to import trained skill from other countries.

In order to cope human resource requirements, an enterprise will have to plan in advance its needs and the sources. The terms human resource planning and manpower planning are generally used interchangeably. Human resource planning is not a substitute for manpower planning. Rather the latter is a part of the former i.e., manpower planning is integrated with human resource planning.

Definition Human Resource Planning:

Important definitions of human resource planning are discussed here to understand the concept in right perspective:

According to E.W. Vetter, human resource planning is “the process by which a management determines how an organisation should make from its current manpower position to its desired manpower position.

Through planning a management strives to have the right number and the right kind of people at the right places, at the right time to do things which result in both the organisation and the individual receiving the maximum long range benefit.”

Dale S. Beach has defined it as “a process of determining and assuring that the organisation will have an adequate number of qualified persons available at the proper times, performing jobs which meet the needs of the enterprise and which provide satisfaction for the individuals involved.”

In the words of Leon C. Megginson, human resource planning is “an integration approach to performing the planning aspects of the personnel function in order to have a sufficient supply of adequately developed and motivated people to perform the duties and tasks required to meet organisational objectives and satisfy the individual’s needs and goals of organisational members.”

On the analysis of above definitions, human resource planning may be viewed as foreseeing the human resource requirements of an organisation and the future supply of human resources and making necessary adjustments between these two and organisation plans, and foreseeing the possibility of developing the supply of human resources in order to match it with requirements by introducing necessary changes in the functions of human resource management.

Here, human resource means skill, knowledge, values, ability, commitment, motivation etc., in addition to the number of employees. Though accomplishment of organisational objectives and goals is the primary concern of the human resource planning, concern for the aspirations of the people and their well-being has equal importance in it. In fact, the human resources planning must result in humanisation of work environment.

Features of Human Resource Planning:

From the study of various definitions, the following features of human resource planning can be derived:

Enterprise’s objectives and goals in its strategic planning and operating planning may form the objectives of human resource planning. Human resource needs are planned on the basis of company’s goals. Besides, human resource planning has its own objectives like developing human resources, updating technical expertise, career planning of individual executives and people, ensuring better commitment of people and so on.

2. Determining Human Resource Reeds:

Human resource plan must incorporate the human resource needs of the enterprise. The thinking will have to be done in advance so that the persons are available at a time when they are required. For this purpose, an enterprise will have to undertake recruiting, selecting and training process also.

It includes the inventory of present manpower in the organisation. The executive should know the persons who will be available to him for undertaking higher responsibilities in the near future.

Manpower needs have to be planned well in advance as suitable persons are available in future. If sufficient persons will not be available in future then efforts should be .made to start recruitment process well in advance. The demand and supply of personnel should be planned in advance.

5. Creating Proper Work Environment:

Besides estimating and employing personnel, human resource planning also ensures that working conditions are created. Employees should like to work in the organisation and they should get proper job satisfaction.

Definition human resource planning

To understand the Human Resource Planning First, we will see what is Planning? and why is it needed?

What is planning? Plans are methods for achieving a desired result. Goals or objectives are specific results you want to achieve. Planning is thus “the process of establishing objectives and courses of action prior to taking action.”

  1. How many number of staff does the Organization have?
  2. What type of employees as far as skills and abilities does the organization have?
  3. How should the Organization best utilize the available human resources?
  4. How can the organization keep its employees?

Human resource planning has been defined by various authorities on this subject as under:

According to Wickstron, "Human resource planning consists of a series of activities viz.:

  • Forecasting future manpower requirement either in term of mathematical projection of trends in the economic environment and development in industry or in term of judgmental estimates based upon the specific future plans of a company.
  • Making an inventory of present manpower resources and assessing the extent to which these resources are employed optimally.
  • Anticipating manpower problems by projecting present resources into the future and comparing them with the forecast of requirements to determine their adequacy, both quantitatively and qualitatively; and
  • Planning the necessary programs of recruitment, selection, training, development,transfer, promotion, motivation and compensation to ensure that future manpower requirements are properly met.

Hiring the right kind of people was cited as the most important challenge by 98 per cent of HR and business leaders in a survey. The second most-cited concern was retaining this talent, backed by 93 per cent of respondents.


a) Inaccuracy: Human Resource Planning is entirely dependent on the HR forecasting and supply, which cannot be a cent per cent accurate process.

b) Employee resistance: Employees and their unions feel that by Human Resource Planning, their workload increases so they resist the process.

c) Uncertainties: Labour absenteeism, labour turnover, seasonal employment, technological changes and market fluctuations are the uncertainties which Human Resource Planning process might have to face.

d) Inefficient information system: In Indian industries, HRIS is not much strong. In the absence of reliable data it is not possible to develop effective Human Resource Planning.

e) Time and expense: Human Resource Planning is time consuming and expensive exercise, so industries avoid.

Business Jargons A Business Encyclopedia

Definition: The Human Resource Planning is the process of finding the right number of people for the right kind of a job, at a right time and the right place, by forecasting the organization’s demand for and supply of human resources in the near future.

In other words, Human Resource Planning is responsible for arranging the right people for the right job from all the available sources. And not only this, it also anticipates the vacancy arising due to the promotion, transfer, retirement, termination, of an employee and thus, plans for the manpower accordingly.

Immediate filling of vacancies reduces the idle time caused due to an employee turnover, and hence the functioning of the business process remains unaffected.

This planning is generally done to enable an organization to move from the current manpower position to the desired manpower position. The human resource planning begins with the enterprise’s estimation for the manpower requirement and then sources are found from where this need can be fulfilled.

The Human Resource Planning should not focus only on filling the vacant positions, but should emphasize on hiring the right person for the right job. It also focuses on developing the skills of an existing employee through an interactive training program, with the intention to make them well equipped with the skills required in the future, for the attainment of the organization’s objectives.

Human Resource is the most vital factor for the survival and prosperity of the organization. The human resource asset in a firm has the potential to appreciate the value of the firm. Though all the firms buy the same material and machines, the people in a firm make the difference in the final product. So the success of any organization mainly depends upon the quality of its human resource and their performance. Any forward looking management will be concerned with the problem of procuring or developing adequate talent for manning various positions in the organization. The success of a human resource planning process not only helps the organization itself, but also helps the society’s prosperity. The losses a firm suffers from inadequate human resource planning and utilization, is a loss to the nation. When these individual losses are added up the total losses may be very significant to the economy of a nation.

Human resource may be regarded as the quantitative and qualitative measurement of labor force required in an organization and planning in relation to manpower may be regarded as establishing objectives to develop human resources in line with broad objectives of the organization. Thus, human resource planning may be expressed as a process by which the management ensures the right number of people and right kind of people, at the right place, at the right time doing the right things. It is a two-phased process by which management can project the future manpower requirements and develop manpower action plans to accommodate the implications of projections. Thus, we can say that human resource planning is the process of developing and determining objectives, policies and programmes that will develop, utilize and distribute manpower so as to achieve the goals of the organization.

Definitions of Human Resource Planning

Human Resource Planning is the planning of Human Resources. It is also called manpower planning/ personnel planning/ employment planning. It is only after Human Resource Planning that the Human Resource department can initiate the recruitment and selection process. Therefore Human Resource Planning is a sub-system of organisational planning.

Definitions of Human Resource Planning by eminent authors;

  • “Human Resource Planning is a strategy for the acquisition, utilization, improvement and preservation of an organisation’s human resource.” – Y.C. Moushell
  • “Human Resource Planning is a process of forecasting an organisation’s future demand for human resource and supply of right type of people in right numbers.” – J.Chennly.K
  • “Human Resource Planning is an integrated approach to perform the planning aspects of the personnel function. It ensures sufficient supply of adequately developed and motivated workforce to perform the required duties and tasks to meet organization’s objectives by satisfying the individual needs and goals of organizational members.” – Leon C. Megginson
  • “A strategy for the acquisition, utilization, improvement, and preservation of human resources of an enterprise. It is a way of dealing with people in a dynamic situation.” – Stainer
  • “The process of determining manpower requirements and the means for meeting those requirements to carry out the integrated plan of the organization.” – Coleman
  • “Human Resource Planning as the process by which management determines how the organization should move from its current manpower position to its desired position. Through planning, management strives to have the right number and the right kind of people, at the right places, at the right time, doing right things resulting in maximum long-run benefits both for the organization and for the individual.” – Vetter

Features of Human Resource Planning

  1. It is future oriented: Human Resource Planning is forward-looking. It involves forecasting the manpower needs for a future period so that adequate and timely provisions may be made to meet the needs.
  2. It is a continuous process: Human Resource Planning is a continuous process because the demand and supply of Human Resource keeps fluctuating throughout the year. Human Resource Planning has to be reviewed according to the needs of the organisation and changing environment.
  3. Integral part of Corporate Planning: Manpower planning is an integral part of corporate planning because without a corporate plan there can be no manpower planning.
  4. Optimum utilization of resources: The basic purpose of Human Resource Planning is to make optimum utilisation of organisation’s current and future human resources.
  5. Both Qualitative and Quantitative aspect: Human Resource Planning considers both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of Human Resource Management, ‘Quantitative’ meaning the right number of people and ‘Qualitative’ implying the right quality of manpower required in the organisation.
  6. Long term and Short term: Human Resource Planning is both Long-term and short-term in nature. Just like planning which is long-term and short-term depending on the need of the hour, Human Resource Planning keeps long-term goals and short-term goals in view while predicting and forecasting the demand and supply of Human Resource.
  7. Involves study of manpower requirement: Human Resource Planning involves the study of manpower availability and the manpower requirement in the organisation.

Significance of Human Resource Planning

The failure in planning and in developing personnel will prove to be a limiting factor in attributing to the organizational objectives. If the number of persons in an organization is less than the number of persons required to carry out the organizational plans, there will be disruptions in the flow of work and the production will also be lowered. But if, on the other hand, some persons are surplus in an organization, they will have to be paid remuneration. The sound personnel policy requires that there should be adequate number of persons of the right type to attain its objectifies. For this the manpower planner should be concerned with the training and the scheduling of the planning of personnel and persuading the management to use the results of manpower planning studies in the conduct of the business. Every industrial or commercial organization has the need of proper system of manpower planning so as to bring efficiency and economy in the organization. Smaller concerns and those with simpler organizations also require human resource planning though at a small scale. Human resource planning can prove to be an important aid to frame the training and development programmes for the personnel because it takes into account the effects of anticipated changes in technology, markets and products on manpower requirements and educational and training programme requirements.

Human resource planning is relatively a difficult task for the personnel management. It is particularly so in business enterprises which are often subject to forces outside their control such as social, political and economical changes. Manpower is a key resource required for the achievement of business objectives. Materials, equipment’s, power and other resources can be effectively and efficiently used, only if there is manpower capable of processing them into required goods and services. It takes a long time to develop the manpower of right type to use these resources. Therefore, decisions concerning manpower development must be taken many years in advance. However, management may stick to short periods for rank and file employees, but it will have to concentrate upon the problems of replacing key professional and managerial personnel on a long term basis. In as-much-as many big organizations do prepare long-range forecasts in production, marketing and capital investment, it should not be surprising if it makes long term projections in regard to its personnel. However, human resource plans cannot be rigid or static, they can be modified or adjusted according to the change in the circumstances.

Purposes of Human Resource Planning

The primary function of Personnel planning is to analyze and evaluate the available human resources within the organization. It also determines how to obtain the kinds of needed personnel to staff various organisational positions starting from assembly line workers to chief executives. Smaller companies have assigned the function of HR planning to the human resource department or personnel department. Larger corporations have separate departments for this function. Personnel planning aims at minimization of waste in employing people, lessen uncertainty of current personnel levels and future needs, and eliminate mistakes in staffing pattern. The purpose of Human Resource Planning aims at maintaining the required level of skill by avoiding workforce skill shortages, stopping the profit-eroding effects of being overstaffed or understaffed, preparing succession plans and shaping the optimum future work force composition by hiring the right skill in appropriate numbers.

Need for Human Resource Planning

An organisation must plan out its human resource requirements well in advance so that it could complete effectively with its competitors in the market. A well thought-out-human resource plan provides adequate lead time for recruitment, selection and training of personnel. It becomes all the more crucial because the lead time for procuring personnel is a time consuming process and in certain cases one may not always get the requisite type of personnel needed for the jobs. Non-availability of suitable manpower may result in postponement or delays in executing new projects and expansion programmes which ultimately lead to lower efficiency and productivity further. To be specific, the following are the needs for human resource planning:

  1. Shortage of Skills: These days we find shortage of skills in people. So it is necessary to plan for such skilled people much in advance than when we actually need them. Non-availability of skilled people when and where they are needed is an important factor which prompts sound Human Resource Planning.
  2. Frequent Labor Turnover: Human Resource Planning is essential because of frequent labor turnover which is unavoidable by all means. Labor turnover arises because of discharges, marriages, promotion, transfer etc which causes a constant ebb and flow in the workforce in the organisation.
  3. Changing needs of technology: Due to changes in technology and new techniques of production, existing employees need to be trained or new blood injected into an organisation.
  4. Identify areas of surplus or shortage of personnel: Manpower planning is needed in order to identify areas with a surplus of personnel or areas in which there is a shortage of personnel. If there is a surplus, it can be re-deployed, or if there is a shortage new employees can be procured.
  5. Changes in organisation design and structure: Due to changes in organisation structure and design we need to plan the required human resources right from the beginning.

Objectives of Human Resource Planning

The objective of human resource planning is to ensure the best fit between employees and jobs, while avoiding manpower shortages or surpluses. Human resource planning is a sub-system of the total organizational planning. It constitutes an integral part of corporate plan and serves the very purpose of organization in many ways. The primary purpose of human resource planning is to prepare for the future by reducing organizational uncertainty in relation to the acquisition, placement, and development of employees. Human resources planning is done to achieve the optimum use of human resources and to have the right types and correct number of employees to meet organizational goals.

The main objectives of Human Resource Planning are:

  1. Achieve Goal: Human Resource Planning helps in achieving individual, Organizational & National goals. Since Human resource planning is linked with career planning, it can able to achieve individual goal while achieving organisational and national goal.
  2. Estimates future organizational structure and Manpower Requirements: Human Resource Planning is related with number of Personnel required for the future, job-family, age distribution of employees, qualification & desired experience, salary range etc and thereby determines future organisation structure.
  3. Human Resource Audit: Human resource planning process is comprised of estimating the future needs and determining the present supply of Manpower Resources. Manpower supply analysis is done through skills inventory. This helps in preventing over staffing as well as under-staffing.
  4. Job Analysis: The process of studying and collecting information relating to operations and responsibilities of a specific job is called Job analysis. Job analysis is comprised of job description and job specification. Job description describes the duties and responsibilities of a particular job in an organized factual way. Job specification specifies minimum acceptable human qualities necessary to perform a particular job properly.

Problems with Human Resource Planning

  1. Resistance by Employers: Many employers resist Human Resource Planning as they think that it increases the cost of manpower for the management. Further, employers feel that Human Resource Planning is not necessary as candidates will be available as and when required in the country due to the growing unemployment situation.
  2. Resistance by Employees: Employees resist Human Resource Planning as it increases the workload on the employees and prepares programmes for securing human resources mostly from outside.
  3. Inadequacies in quality of information: Reliable information about the economy, other industries, labor markets, trends in human resources etc are not easily available. This leads to problems while planning for human resources in the organisation.
  4. Uncertainties: Uncertainties are quite common in human resource practices in India due to absenteeism, seasonal unemployment, labor turnover etc. Further, the uncertainties in the industrial scenario like technological changes and marketing conditions also cause imperfection in Human Resource Planning. It is the uncertainties that make Human Resource Planning less reliable.
  5. Time and expense: Human Resource Planning is a time-consuming and expensive exercise. A good deal of time and cost are involved in data collection and forecasting.

Guidelines for making Human Resource Planning effective

  1. Adequate information system: The main problem faced in Human Resource Planning is the lack of information. So an adequate Human resource database should be maintained/developed for better coordinated and more accurate Human Resource Planning.
  2. Participation: To be successful, Human Resource Planning requires active participation and coordinated efforts on the part of operating executives. Such participation will help to improve understanding of the process and thereby, reduce resistance from the top management.
  3. Adequate organisation: Human Resource Planning should be properly organised; a separate section or committee may be constituted within the human resource department to provide adequate focus and to coordinate the planning efforts at various levels.
  4. Human Resource Planning should be balanced with corporate planning: Human resource plans should be balanced with the corporate plans of the enterprise. The methods and techniques used should fit the objectives, strategies and environment of the particular organisation.
  5. Appropriate time horizon: The period of manpower plans should be appropriate according to the needs and circumstances of the specific enterprise. The size and structure of the enterprise as well as the changing aspirations of the people should be taken into consideration.

Factors affecting Human Resource Plans

They are the factors which affect the Human Resource Planning externally. They include:-

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