Human resource planning has traditionally been used by organizations to ensure that the right person is in the right job at the right time. Conventionally, human resource planning had a limited functions and responsibilities, but today, Increasing economic instability, demographic changes, advancement in technology, and sharp globalization competition are changing the need of human resource planning in leading organizations. In addition, organizations should understand the importance of short-term and long-term solutions for sustaining and retaining people in tough global competition. As a human resource planners, there is a big responsibility on them to make sure about the strategic planning must be as per company's mission and objectives and must understand the firm's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Therefore, human resource planning becomes more challenging and vital for the growth of the company and achieving goals.
Strategic integration of human resource requires that a strategic planning process occur in the organization and human resource manages play an important role in the process. The requirement of the strategic planning process occurs before strategic human resource management. Increasing global competition, rapidly changing technologies, continuous changes in employment legislation and the changing characteristics of the workforce have created an unstable business environment.Â To address these driving forces, managers need to respond speedily by effectively deploying their staff in order to obtain and retain a competitive advantage (De Cieri et al.2008). The companies that flourish in this decade will do so because they are able to provide meaning and purpose, a context and frame that encourages individual potential to flourish and grow. (Gratton 2000 p.3). During the last decade the traditional sources of competitive advantage have been tough, due to hard international competition and the fast diffusion of innovation across the globe. The organization must be able to provide innovative goods or service in an efficient way to conquer global competition.
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The concept of 'human resource planning' is not new. In fact, it came from the idea of 'manpower planning' developed in the 1960s. The growth of manpower planning techniques, using information incorporated into comprehensive computer models, was a major factor to develop the human resource, or personnel function, as it was known then (Legge 1995). However, the demand for human resource planning tends to fluctuate according to demographic changes in the past few decades. This fluctuation in demand has also largely been influenced by how organizations see the strategic importance of human resource planning.
In the human resource planning one of the important tasks performed by top management is to set the objectives for the firm. After these goals are set, the next step in the strategic planning process to evaluate external and internal environments is examined to identify what strategic opportunities and threats may exist or become evident in the future. For the organization to be able to take advantage of opportunities, its HRM must be able to convert them into working realities for the organization. An accurate assessment of the organization's strengths and weaknesses will enable it to develop HRM strategies to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) should include its human resources. For example, a strength may be the quality of its employees' skills, a weakness may be a culture that is not aligned with its philosophy. An opportunity may be the closing of another business that releases skills onto the market, the employment of which could enable the organisation to expand or diversify, and a threat may be the closing of an education institution that specialised in training skills relevant to meeting the organisation's longer-term needs. A series of strategic options can be developed, based on its objectives and its SWOT analysis, as described above. The aim is to select the strategy that provides the best alignment or fit with the organization's internal and external environments, and complies with its objectives. Making a strategic choice of being proactive to respond to circumstances and changes in its environment allows an organization to take control of external pressures that may affect on the organization's day-to-day activities. In addition, a proactive organization is more readily adapt to change, and in some cases, even to drive the changes for desirable outcomes. Strategy implementation can only be successful if those who are to carry it out are committed to its success and aligned with the philosophy in which it is embedded. Therefore, it is vital that there be alignment between the organisations strategic management, its HRM philosophy and implementation, and its culture.
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Another integral step in the development of a strategic plan is the analysis of external factors that influence organizational objectives. It could be difficult for an organization to achieve its goals and objectives in the presence of threats related to external surroundings. It is human resource challenge to prevent firm by threats from new, foreign competitors. Opportunities are aspects of the surroundings that may help the organization to achieve its goals. For any firm preparing a strategic plan, an environmental scan should include an analysis of technology, economic factors, the legal or political environment, international markets, competitors, the labour supply, and its customers. Some features of the environment will have more influence on the organization than others. In any case, a strategic planning process should help managers develop as complete an understanding as possible of all the features of the organization environment and how they come together to affect the enterprise.(Fisher et al. 2003, pp 75)
After an organization has set its mission and objectives and analysed whole scenario as per SWOT analysis, in regard to people, products, marketing, resources, citizenship and profitability, eventually these goals must be translated into specific planned and operational goals. These general goals have specific implications for the structure of work, the appraisal of performance, rewards, and career progression. The definition of goals has several important benefits to an organization and its employees (Fisher et al. 2003, pp 75-76). Furthermore, Dumaine (1989) adds, there are many factors that account for the increased attention directed to human resource planning, but environmental forces-globalization, new technologies, economic conditions, and a changing work force seem particularly potent.
As discussed above, Strategic human resource planning is defined as the development of strategies that will ensure meeting the projected requirements. As such, it needs to be performed within the operational philosophy of the organization and could impact upon a number of areas such as diversity management, training and development plans, and managing psychological contracts. The aim of human resource planning is to identify the current and future staffing requirements, thus meeting the labour and the knowledge, skills and ability (KSAs) needs of the organization. Development of the human resources plan is the first step in the attempt to align the needs of the organization to the availability of the human resource, and to the needs of the employees, which include career pathways and quality of work life. It includes the systematic evaluation of the current and future human resource requirements. For human resource planning to be effective, it must be directly responsive to the organization's business strategies and integral to its strategic planning process (De Cieri et al.2008). The human resource planning must also align with the external environments of the organization. Thus its strategies, including its human resource planning, must be able to accommodate changes and be flexible to respond to the changes. It must comply with the country's laws and regulations, and be able to accommodate the volatility in the economic cycle, the political situations, and the cultural ramifications. (De Cieri et al.2008).
Human resource planners are required to be familiar with the legal system and its labour laws relating to human resource management, particularly in a country you are working. It is the obligation of managers, supervisors, and employees to follow these laws and need to be able to identify the sources of employer and employee legal obligations pertaining to all aspects of the employment relationship. Human resource managers have to follow some legal obligations while performing human resource planning such as Employment contracts, legislated statutes, industrial awards and agreements and common law are different legal sources that may influence the rights and obligations of employees and employers (De Cieri et al.2008).
In addition De Cieri (2008), point out that too much of government interference in various aspects of business practice could put in danger management effectiveness, efficiency, and overall business performance. However, as history shows, unfettered by government regulation in the past, businesses have been known to use child labour, be unconcerned about the health and safety of workers, pay below subsistence wages, etc. Thus governments, either in response to, or influence, community values and attitudes, legislate to protect organizations stakeholders.
Furthermore, Ethics plays a very important role in human resource planning. Ethics are 'the set of standards and code of conduct that define what is right, wrong and just in human actions' (Dunham & Pierce 1989, p. 116). Social responsibility is the 'organization's obligation to engage in activities that protect and contribute to the welfare of society' (Dunham & Pierce 1989, p. 97). Barney and Griffin (1992) appropriately identified the difference between ethics and social responsibility when they suggest that 'people have ethics, organizations do not' (p. 199), organizations have social responsibilities. Today, ethics poses a dilemma for most organizations, as, one way or another; they are exposed to cultural diversity. Multinational organizations are especially vulnerable in managing the complex of cultural diversity (Dowling & Welch 2004).
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Culture plays a significant part in determining what kind of ethical standard a nation or an organization or an individual upholds. So it is important to understand what 'culture' is. Dowling, Welch and Schuler (1999, p. 10) define culture as a process, 'members of a group of society share a distinct way of life with common values, attitudes, and behaviours that are transmitted over time in a gradual, yet dynamic, process' Culture defines the ways in which people eat, dress, greet one another, teach their children, etc. We are not born with a pre-determined culture, but rather are born into a society that teaches us its culture. The classification of culture includes language, buildings, clothing, and art. Beneath the surface, and this is often not directly visible, are the values that influence artefacts. They are invisible rules, the subjective aspects that signify internalised influences that determine the way in which people think and behave. Deeper still, below the values, are the assumptions that cause values and artefacts. Not only are these not visible to the visitor but often not apparent to the inhabitant either, as they are so deeply imbedded. They underlie the value framework that exists in a specific national culture, and are steeped in its history (De Cieri et al.2008).
According to Dowling (2004), 'Coping with cultural differences and recognizing how and when these differences are relevant are a constant challenge for international firms. Helping to prepare staff and their families for working and living in a new cultural environment had become a key activity for human resource planning in those multinationals that appreciate the impact that the cultural environment can have on staff performance and well being' (Dowling et al. 2004, pp 15). Furthermore, there are some major challenges are facing by organizations in human resource planning such as globalisation, sustainability, need of innovation and retaining people.
The changing nature of work and organizations, changes in the labour market, establishment of a significant number of contractual relationships at work and changes in labour institutions as well as many changes in work practices means a number of challenges for human resource professional in managing the workplace relations for the future. According to Professors Russell Lansbury and Ron Callus from the University of Sydney, 'A key issue for the future is how to meet the growing challenges of increasing competitiveness while maintaining desirable social standards of living for all.'
For an organisation to survive in the long-term, its staff must be able to meet new challenges, and not only react to change, but to create it. This requires employee commitment, adaptability and quality performance. To achieve this, development of core capabilities of employees who are able to provide leading-edge value to a company and its customers via 'expanding intelligence, creativity and innovation, and building integrity in relationships' is essential (Miller 1998, p. 9). Additionally, in human resource planning information system works as an important part to convey important information globally.
Retention of the employees plays a crucial role in human resource planning and human resource development contributes an important role. Human resource development integrates training, development, organizational development, career development, and learning of both employees and the organization (Stone 2005). The integration and alignment of all these human resource management functions forms an effective human resource development program for organization. Unfortunately, in practice, many organizations fail to appreciate the value of human resource development and do not take a holistic approach to investment in human capital. This is mainly because organizations tend to be short-term focused, employing staff that would closely meet their short-term performance requirements and providing minimum training to accommodate their immediate needs. Today's organizations have gradually realized that investing in human capital created competitiveness for short term and at the same time, has long term values, that is continuously fed into the pool of available and quality human resources that are crucial to meet organization's future needs (De Cieri et al.2008).
Additionally, innovation supports human resource planning in a competitive economy, Creativity is the generating of new ideas, whereas innovation is the translating of ideas into new products, services, or methods of production. However, the skills required to generate ideas are not the same as those needed to realise it. Therefore, to make full use of new ideas an organization needs both creative and innovative people. After all, creativity on its own makes no contribution; it needs to have practical value and usefulness. Thus it must be effectively translated. An organization needs to do more to make innovation one of its key operating objectives for innovation to occur. Creative and innovative people have particular needs for a flexible environment. The ideal climate for innovation is one of welcoming and accommodating change. After all, innovation is about change. Flexibility of communication controls and interaction among personnel is vital. It is the current trend for large organizations attempt to capture the greater structural flexibility of smaller ones. They strive for stronger lateral communication networks and cross-functional teams and task forces. Organisations are also reorganising to create smaller divisions in which new ventures can be explored within a flexible environment (De Cieri et al. 2008, pp.197-202). Nevertheless, sometimes, innovative product manufacturer company could have achieve its goals through excellent innovative research team, For example, Apple pty. Ltd. Shows itself as a perfect innovative company and invented revolutionary products in international market such as iPod, iPhone and iPod.
The main motive of human resource planning is to make sure that the right people are in the right place at the right time, it is directly co-related with plans of the organization. Conventionally, there has been a weak one way relation between business planning and human resource planning. However, nowadays, in the world of globalization, tough competition, demand of innovative products and services and unstable economies, the importance of human resource planning come over as an only solution. Meanwhile, the significance of the understanding strategic human resource management also plays a vital role in the growth of particular company and world's economy. Human resource planning has risen in value and importance as organizations have awakened to notice the necessity of development and nurturing of their invaluable human resources. As the human resource function has become more involved and integrated with organizational strategic planning, human resource planning has become an integral part of good human resource management practices.