What are the main goals of human resources planning?

A:

Human resource (HR) planning is an organizational technique that uses human resources to help achieve optimal outputs. Companies that use this process attempt to acquire, realign and employ their workforces in the most efficient and sustainable ways possible.

Labor resources are never constant. Well-prepared companies have strategies in place to deal with terminations, resignations, loss in motivation, lack of adequate skills training and workforce constraints caused by external changes. Human resources planning is one method for developing contingencies and improving efficiencies.

Many educational resources concerning HR planning break down the process into identifiable and chronological steps. For example, a company might begin by assessing its current human resource capacity. This involves gauging the knowledge and skill level of current staff and then looking elsewhere in the labor supply for potential fits. Once the present assessment is complete, the company could then forecast future workforce requirements.

HR planning suggests that an organization should attempt to employ the most cost-effective and sustainable method of filling the gap between current HR capacity and future HR requirements. This could involve restructuring, new training and development strategies, additional recruitment or outsourcing.

This type of planning is designed to be flexible. Contingencies need to be put in place to address unexpected changes. Since a workforce is comprised of human beings, a certain level of unpredictability and variance must be anticipated. HR planning should also encourage career development, both as a means of motivation as well as a method of improving skills in such a way that future business objectives can be met with minimal cost.

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What are the main goals of human resources planning?
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How are labor demand forecasts made in human resources planning?

A:

Human resources planning can use qualitative and quantitative approaches to forecasting labor demand. Quantitative methods rely on statistical and mathematical assessment, such as workforce trend analysis or econometric calculation. Qualitative forecasts use managerial judgement on a more individual basis, spotting needs internally and then bidding for or training the requisite skills. Ultimately, many human resource departments can use the basic supply and demand signals generated in the labor market to estimate demand.

In the private sector, the type and quantity of demanded labor is a function of the total demand for products and services in the economy. In this sense, it is the consumer who controls labor and not the employer. It is up to producers to predict and deploy demanded labor in a profitable way. The primary source of labor information comes from prices – the wage rate set in the market, the prices of goods and services, and the cost of alternatives to manual labor.

Conceptually, forecasting labor demand is no different than forecasting the right combination of any capital inputs. Firms must successfully anticipate consumer demand and find cost-effective ways of bringing goods or services to the market. A manufacturing production manager might ask, “How many widgets should I bring to market next year?” Similarly, a human resources manager might ask, “How many employees will we need to produce those widgets next year? At what skill level?”

Contemporary literature on human resources planning identifies several common methods of estimating a business’s human capital needs. These include managerial judgement, work-study techniques (also known as workload analysis), trend analysis, the Delphi Technique and model-based regression analysis.

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