Very few modern organizations of any size can expect to be consistently successful without careful attention to planning, especially in the area of human resources (HR). An enterprise can use HR planning to help recruit and train its workforce and develop retention strategies to protect that workforce from encroachment by competitors. HR planning can develop comprehensive succession strategies as well, ensuring against vacancies — expected or otherwise — in key positions.
The traditional understanding of an enterprise’s HR function is that it manages the recruitment process and handles the administrative details related to employing workers, such as preparing the payroll, seeing that payroll taxes and insurance premiums are paid on time, and so on. All of these functions are performed best in an environment where planning is a fundamental aspect of organizational life. Even such simple things as reorganizing workflow to accommodate holidays, for example, are best accomplished by proper planning. One of the main advantages of HR planning, then, is the establishment of a routine for the accomplishment of all identified tasks and contingency plans to address expected and unexpected disruptions.
Smooth management of an organization's workforce is another of the advantages of HR planning. When increases in production levels are planned in manufacturing environments, for example, the inclusion of the HR function in those planning sessions will ensure that there’s a sufficient supply of labor. Should circumstances dictate a reduction in the workforce, proper planning of the downsizing can limit the adverse impact on the morale of remaining workers and production following the cuts.
Workforce management isn’t limited to recruitment and downsizing, though. There are many different areas in which a workforce must be trained, from essential health and safety concepts, to the specifics of the jobs they’re assigned. Many workers must be certified to do their jobs, and certification must be kept up-to-date with continuing education. In addition, many organizations also take the initiative to train their management teams on issues of contemporary concern, such as avoiding illegal harassment in the workplace. Keeping the training of workers and management current is another of the advantages of HR planning.
Many organizations rely on the leadership of highly experienced managers and executives in a number of critical areas, yet they don’t have any plan in place for the departure of these leaders. It’s a fact that nobody is irreplaceable; some are more difficult to replace, though. Succession planning is having a strategy ready to be implemented in case any key leader needs to be replaced. This isn’t limited just to searching for a suitable replacement, but includes identifying each key leader’s responsibilities and providing for their completion while the replacement is being sought. Keeping the organization running properly when a key leader departs, then, is another of the advantages of HR planning.