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Manpower planning or HR planning are synonymous. HR planning is more broad-based. Hereinafter, we will call it Human Resource Planning or HRP in short.
Human resource planning is the process of anticipating and carrying out the movement of people into, within, and out of the organization. Human resources planning is done to achieve the optimum use of human resources and to have the correct number and types of employees needed to meet organizational goals.
We also can say that, Human resource planning is the process of systematically reviewing human resource requirements to ensure that the required numbers of employees with the required skills are available when and where they are needed.
Human resource planning includes four factors:
Quantity : How many employees do we need?
Quality : Which skills, knowledge and abilities do we need?
Space : Where do we need the employees?
Time : When do we need the employees? How long do we need them?
Definition of Human Resources Planning (HRP)
HRP can be defined as the task of assessing and anticipating the skill, knowledge and labor time requirements of the organization, and initiating action to fulfill or 'source" those requirements. Thus, if the organization as a whole or one of its subsystem is not performing to the benchmark, in other words, it is declining, it may need to plan a reduction or redeploys its existing labor force. On the other hand, if it is growing or diversifying, it might need to find and tap into a source of suitably skilled labor.
Let's look into some definitions of HRP as given by different experts.
Coleman has defined HR/MP planning as "The Process of determining manpower requirements and the means for meeting those requirements in order to carry out the integrated plan of the organization."
Stainer defines manpower planning as "Strategy for acquisition, utilization, improvement and preservation of an enterprise's human resources."
Vetter opines that it is the process by which management determines how the organization should move from its manpower position to its desired manpower position to carry out integrated plan of the organization.
According to Geisler, "Manpower planning is the process - including forecasting, developing and controlling by which a firm ensures that it has-
The right number of people,
The right kind of people,
At the right places,
At the right time, doing work for which they are economically most useful".
Wickstrom very beautifully summarizes the features of HRP,
Forecasting future manpower requirements, where we use mathematical projections, to project trends in the economic environment and development of the industry.
Making an inventory of present manpower resources and assessing the extent to which these resources are employed optimally. Procuring competent personnel requires positive recruitment efforts and the development of a variety of recruitment sources. These sources must consider not only the nature and conditions of the external labor market, but also the presence of qualified personnel who are available to fill vacancies through internal promotions or transfers.
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 requirement, selection, training, development, utilization, transfer, promotion, motivation and compensation to ensure that future manpower requirements are properly met.
We may figure out the leading features of HRP from mentioned definitions.
It's a systematic approach. Cause it ensures a continuous and proper staffing. It avoids or checks on occupational imbalances (shortage or surplus) occurring in any of the department of the organization.
There is a visible continuity in the process. (Based on Wickstrom's definition)
There is a certain degree of flexibility. That is, it is subject to modifications according to needs of the organization or the changing circumstances. Manpower plans can be done at micro or the macro levels depending upon various environmental factors.
Thus, we can summarize that: "HRP is a kind of risk management. It involves realistically appraising the present and anticipating the future (as far as possible) in order to get the right people into right jobs at the right time". (Reiterating the view of Geisler).
Need / Importance of Human Resources Planning (HRP)
HRP is a double-edged weapon.
If used properly, it leads not only to proper utilization, but also reduces excessive labor turnover & high absenteeism, improves productivity and helps to achieve organizations goal.
On the other hand, faulty use leads to Disruption in flow of work, lower productivity, less job satisfaction, lower production & high cost of production.
Human Resource Planning (HRP) is a needed for following reasons:
To ensure optimum use of manpower and capitalize on the strength of HR. The organization can have a reservoir of talent at any point of time. People skills are readily available to carry out the assigned tasks, if the information is collected and arranged beforehand with the help of effective HR Planning.
To forecast future requirements (this is done by keeping track of the employee turnover.) and provides control measures about availability of HR labor time. If, for example the organization wants to expand its scale of operations, it can go ahead easily. Advance planning ensures a continuous supply of people with requisite skills who can handle challenging jobs easily.
To face the challenges the business is facing due to turbulent and hostile environmental forces (e.g. technology, social, economic and political upheaval) impinging on single one of them. Although planning has always been an essential process of management, increased emphasis on HRP becomes especially critical when organizations consider mergers, relocation of plants, downsizing, or the closing of operating facilities.
To face Rapid Technological Changes. The myriad changes in production technologies, marketing methods and management techniques have been extensive and rapid. Their effect has been profound on job contents and job contexts. These changes cause problems relating to redundancies, retraining and redeployment. All these suggest the need to plan manpower needs intensively and systematically.
To face Organizational Changes. In the turbulent environment marked by cyclical fluctuations and discontinuities, the nature and pace of changes in organizational environment, activities and structures affect manpower requirements and require strategic considerations means perfect HR Planning.
To determine recruitment/induction levels. We may explain this with an example: manager wants to determine what kind of induction the organization will require at such and such date. If we have a ready HR plan, we will have fairly good idea what kind of people are being recruited and at what position. Thus we can successfully plan our induction level.
To determine training levels and works as a foundation for management development programmes
To know the cost of manpower if there is a new project is being taken up, example: in cases of expansions or a new factory, one would naturally requires more human resources, hence a budgetary allocation can be made in advance for this upcoming corporate strategic move.
To assist in productivity bargaining. For example, if a firm is going fully automated, it can negotiate for lesser workers as required for the same amount of the job by using the manpower predictions regarding the same. It can offer higher incentives to smoothen the process of voluntary layoffs.
To assess accommodation requirements. We may have a question, how that can be related to HRP? A good HRP can assist in solving many problems of the firm, from day to day ones to very strategic ones, too. For example: an organization decides to establish its production center in a remote area, an accurate HR plan can help it to decide how many people will be required there, and thus start the process of establishing a township for them in advance. The physical facilities such as canteen, school, medical help, etc., can also be planned in advance.
An organization may incur several intangible costs as a result of inadequate HRP or, for that matter, the lack of HRP. For example, inadequate HRP can cause vacancies to remain unfilled. The resulting loss in efficiency can be costly, particularly when the lead-time is required to train replacements. Situations also may occur in which employees are laid off in one department while applicants are hired for similar jobs in another department. This may cause over hiring and result in the need to lay off those employees to make effective plans for career or personal development. As a result, some of the more competent and ambitious ones may seek other employment where they feel they will have better career opportunities.
From the above discussion we get to the following conclusion.
Manpower planning has maintained its imperatives for several reasons: (i) a growing awareness of the need to look into the future, (ii) a desire to exercise control over as many variables as possible which influence business success or failure, (iii) the development of techniques which make such planning possible.
Hence, success depends much on proper use of Human Resource Planning.
Objectives of Human Resources Planning (HRP)
Objectives of Human Resource Planning are,
Deciding Goals: Human Resource Planning fulfils individual, Organizational & National goals.
Estimating future organizational structure and MP requirements: It's related with No of Personnel's required, job-family, age distribution of employees (Ex. 20-29), qualification & experience desired, salary range etc.
Auditing Human Resources: Once the future needs of HR are estimated, the next step is to determine the present supply of MP resources. This is done through skill inventory. This prevents overstaffing and understaffing.
Job Analysis: Job analysis is the process of studying and collecting department information relating to operations and responsibilities of a specific job. The immediate products of this analysis are job description and job specification. Job description is an organized factual statement of duties and responsibilities of a specific job, whereas, job specification is a statement of the minimum acceptable qualities necessary to perform a job properly.
Some other objectives we may mentioned as follows.
To achieve more effective and efficient use of employees / human resources.
To better recruit employees who possess the necessary skills and competences.
To achieve a higher rate of satisfied and better developed employee.
To facilitate training and development programmes.
To facilitate the roll-out of strategic plans / missions.
To achieve more effective equal opportunity planning.
To relieve the organisation of unnecessary / unneeded labour.
Ensure organization is responsive to changes in environment.
Based on above discussion we may conclude that objective of HR planning is to guarantee availability of the HR needs of the organisation at specified times in the future. Or, Right people in right place at right time. It is a systematic HR process to help the organisation meet its business objectives.