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Human Resource Planning (HRP) – An Introduction

Human resource planning, in simple words, is a technique that a company uses to employ the right set of people to reach its objectives. It is also called manpower planning. This planning is done while keeping in mind future obstacles that can be overcome with a good team. The work is distributed among diverse individuals that add their own inputs and overall help the organisation thrive and be productive in the long run.

Table of Content

What Is Human Resource Planning?

Human resource planning is a continuous process in which systematic planning is done with the purpose of achieving the optimum use of the organization’s most valuable asset- the employees. The main aim of human resource planning is to manage the best fit between the employees and jobs available at hand to help avoid manpower deficit as well as excess. HR planning is strategic planning’s ongoing cycle. Human Resource Planning is an important investment as it helps to maintain productivity and profitability in the organization.

It’s a process which helps in the identification of current and future human resource needs of the organization to achieve its goals. Human resource planning assists in linking the company’s overall strategic management with the human resource management.

Workforce scarcities and shortages can be evaded through proper human resource planning in the organization. Human resource planning is huge contributor to the efficiency of business.

Human Resource Planning Meaning

The greatest asset of every organization is its human resource. Few organizational leaders succeed in capitalising on it while others don’t. The reason why many leaders fail is because they haven’t been able to master the art and science of human resource planning. Unlike for other departments of an organization like sales and marketing, production and procurement, R&D etc, people in an organization generally are not even aware of the tremendous amount of research and planning which goes in the HR department to meet the current and future manpower needs of the organization, alongside matching the human potential and capabilities with the organizational needs and job specific requirements. Great deal of continuous efforts goes in manpower hiring, training, promoting etc to meet the needs of the organization in the best and optimum way possible.

HR planning often takes into consideration the employee motivation, organizational design, succession planning and overall increase in investment to retain the existing employees and to remain competitive in the market.

Human Resource Planning Definition

A strategic way of employing people into an organisation to optimize its productivity is called human resource planning. HR planning often takes into consideration the employee motivation, organizational design, succession planning and overall increase in investment to retain the existing employees and to remain competitive in the market.

Human Resource Planning Definition By Eminent Authors

After understanding the basics we can define human resource planning as the process of analyzing and identifying the need for and availability of human resources so that the organization can meet its objectives.

Edwin Flippo defined human resource planning as “planning, organizing, directing, controlling of procurement, development, compensation, integration, maintenance and separation of human resources to the end that individual, organizational and social objectives are achieved.”

Robbins and Coulter defined as “HR Planning is the process by which manager ensures that they have the right number and right kind of capable people in the right places and at the right times.”

Michael Armstrong (2008) explains the process of Human Resource planning that it is not necessarily a linear one, starting with the business strategy and flowing logically through to resourcing, flexibility and retention plans.

Edwin B. Geisler defined as Manpower planning is, “the process by which a firm ensures that it has the right number of people and the right kind of people, at the right places, at the right time, doing things for which they are economically mast useful.”

Bruce P. Coleman defined Manpower Planning as, “the process of determining manpower requirements in order to carry out the integrated plan of the organization.”

Leon C. Megginson defined Human resource planning is “an integrated approach to performing the planning aspect of the personal function in order to have a sufficient supply of adequately developed and excepted people to perform the duties and task required to meet organizational objective and satisfy the individual needs and goals of organizational members.”

Steps in Human Resource Planning

The process which ensures right candidate for the right job is referred to as Human Resource Planning. There are basically six steps in HR planning:

1. Analysis of organizational objectives

As there are various fields in the organization like marketing, finance, production and other expansion plans of the organization so the first step in HR planning involves analysis of the objectives to be met in these various fields which gives an idea about the work to be done and hence, manpower required for the same.

2. Assessing the current human resource of the organization

The data related to the present number of employees in the organization, their capacity, performance and potential, all can be accessed through the updated human resource information system in the organization. The various job requirements identified in the first step can be fulfilled through the estimation of internal sources as well as external sources of manpower.

3. Demand/Supply forecasting of human resource

In this step, estimation of human resource required at various positions is done against their respective job profiles. Internal as well as external sources available to fill the said requirements are also measured. Proper matching of job description and job specification with the profile of the person should be done.

4. Manpower gap estimation

The human resource surplus or deficit can be provided by the comparison of human resource demand and supply. Deficit indicates how many people need to be employed whereas surplus means how many should be terminated. Employees’ skills can be upgraded by making extensive use of employee training and development programme.

5. Formulation and execution of final human resource plan

The identified deficit or surplus in the organization determines its HR planning. Accordingly the plan is finalised for either recruiting, training, promoting, transferring in case of deficit or voluntary retirement, layoff etc in case of surplus.

6. Evaluation and feedback

The HR planning come into action, according to the requirement the human resource is allocated and human inventory is updated over a period of time. The deficiencies are identified strictly and removed according to the human resource plan.

Challenges of Human Resource Planning

While Human Resource Planning is effective in the company’s workforce management, it can also pose some challenges.Lets have a look at some of the common challenges of HR planning-

1. Difficulties in predicting the future

The first challenge in the inability to predict the future accurately. This is mainly because the business environment changes frequently with advancements in technology, different market-based demands, socio-economic factors and other changes. This doesn’t allow room for a sustained workforce need and requires significant changes throughout.

2. Inaccurate Data

The second challenge is the lack of accurate or sufficient data. This results in a prediction full of flaws. Without up-to-date data, organisations may have difficulty predicting the future needs of the workforce which in turn can disrupt the whole process of human resource planning.

3. Diversity of the employees

The third challenge is diversity. While having a diverse workforce can definitely be fruitful for an organisation, as it includes people from different backgrounds and experiences, it can also create problems. To cater to the needs of every single person can be a difficult task. Furthermore, linguistic barriers also proves to be a problem as different people speak different languages which can make communication difficult.

4. Efficient management of change

The fourth challenge is change management. Oftentimes, employees of an organisation are resistant to change which can impact the execution of various strategies and initiatives. This can also lead to the failure of an organisation as well. Some factors that lead to employees being resistant to change can be lack of necessary training and skill which helps in adapting to change, sudden and drastic changes, etc. Change management is important in the long run for the smooth functioning of an organisation.

5. Managing the performance of the employees

The fifth challenge that is presented is performance management. While the organisation provides necessary training to its employees, it is also important that it regulates and tracks the performance of the employees side by side. Some organisations may also face problems to help their employees understand how their role in the organisation impacts and contributes to the overall performance and achievement of the organisation as a whole.

6. Constant Learning

Constant learning and performing crucial skills are important for an employee’s growth overtime in an organisation for them to be productive. As in when the demands of the business increases, organisations find it difficult to create an environment of constant learning for the employees while keeping in mind their ambitions and goals.

7. Changing workforce

The workforce of an organisation never stays constant and keeps on changing with time. Some people may retire, go on vacation, get sick or find new jobs. This makes it difficult to evolve a plan that is in line with the organisation’s growth as the people frequently replace others.

Importance of Human Resource Planning

Human Resource Planning is important as it helps the organisation to employ the right talent and people needed to maximise their function and the overall productivity of the company.

1. Increasing productivity

As productivity plays a crucial part in human resource planning, it is important that it is not overlooked. This can be achieved through effective training, performance estimation and fair stipend, etc.

2. Keeping the workforce motivated

As important as it is to employ the right people, it is also important to keep them motivated through the right programs. This encourages participation among the employees. These plans ensure hiring the right individuals while also keeping the present one’s happy and motivated to contribute greatly toward the organisation.

3. Effective cost management

Human resource planning can prove to be effective in managing the cost. It can help prevent overstaffing or understaffing, both of which prove to be unproductive. Overstaffing can result in people getting disguisedly unemployed and understaffing can cause burn out among the employees and chances of unproductivity increases. Effective human resource planning helps in finding the balance between those two and effectively managing the cost.

4. Precise inputs

Having the right team to overcome challenges and innovate new plans and strategies boosts the performance of the organisation. This is also achieved in a short amount of time, as the team has various people that provide precise inputs.

5. Overcoming and sustaining change

As discussed above, coping with change can be a challenge. With effective human resource planning, this can be overcome, as the staffs are already trained to handle change that can be external or internal. Implementing necessary strategies also improve performance.

6. Handling managerial positions

Human resource planning involves a very important role in choosing the right people. This is necessary as tasks such as controlling, implementing, formulating and strategizing requires to be handled by the right people so that these practices go hand in hand with the organisation’s tactics.

7. Inclusive environment

Having an inclusive environment is provided by human resource planning. This enables a person from diverse backgrounds to share their innovations, thoughts and ideologies which helps in the overall process.

8. Determining future leaders

Human resource planning includes recognizing potential leaders of the future based on their mere accomplishments in an organisation. Acknowledging such people can help in the smooth and hassle-free transition of them to higher positions increasing

In conclusion, human resource planning is crucial in any organisation as it helps them efficaciously establish a productive workforce, competent strategies, and attend to present and future obstacles and setbacks which helps in the overall effectuality and effectiveness.

Human Resource Planning Examples

Human resource planning can be for short term, medium or long term depending upon the organizational work goal at hand. For example, HR plan may be to hire five new sales representatives by the end of fiscal year. With the goal to accomplish this short term goal, the HR team will look for identifying channels to market this new position, create and post vacancy ads via these channels, collect and process applications, interview and select candidates and give job offer. In similar fashion, HR planning can be done for other organizational manpower requirement.

The HR planning involves not just putting together a road map but also forming a timeline target and managing and allocating manpower and other resources. For example, money to pay for the job ad placement in newspaper or job site, staff to filter, process and contact the job applicants and to arrange their interviews and salary for the new hire.


  • Strategy used by companies to maintain a stable and constant stream of skilled employees while avoiding employee shortages (lack) or surpluses (excess) is called as human resource planning

  • A good human resource planning strategy aids in helping the company in achieving its optimum productivity and profitability.

  • In totality, there are four major steps in the Human Resource Planning process: identification of the current supply of employees, future determination of the workforce, creating steady balance between labour supply and demand, and plan development which support the goals of the company.



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