Human resource planning process is a very important tool of human resource management. Hence it is very important to follow proper steps in the planning process. Some of the important steps involved in HR planning are discussed below.
The need to anticipate and provide for future human resources requirements has made manpower planning a vital function today in the area of staffing or the personnel function. In large organizations, where a personnel department exists, this function is naturally performed by such department as a staff function. Systematic manpower planning has not yet become really popular even in advanced countries such as USA and UK it is being practiced there only by a few huge companies in large scale industries such as petroleum and chemicals. Workforce planning can basically be done by following these three steps:
a) First Step: Determine the period for forecasting requirements of the workforce in the future (i.e. requirements at the end of the first year, second year, third year, fourth year, fifth year, etc.) and forecast the human resources required at the end of such period.
b) Second Step: From the number available at the initiation of the period, deduct the expected wastage through deaths, resignations, retirements and discharges. This would give the human resource available from existing staff at the end of the period concerned. A comparison of the figures arrived at in steps first and second would indicate shortages or surpluses in manpower requirements.
c) Third Step: The third step deals with shortages and surpluses.
• In the case of shortages, decide how such shortages are to be met (i.e. whether through fresh recruitment and promotions from within) and whether any training or developmental facilities would be required for this purpose.
• If surpluses are anticipated, decide how these surpluses will be dealt with, e.g. through early retirements, discharges, or layoffs.
Human resource planning process thus seeks to ensure that the essential personnel possessing the necessary skills are available at the right time. As the eminent management professional, Dr. Ram Tanieja emphasizes, “Management can ensure control of labor costs by avoiding both shortages and surpluses of manpower through proper manpower planning.” He stresses that under-estimation either regarding quality or quantity of manpower requirements would lead to shortfalls of performance, while over-estimation would result in avoidable costs to the organization. Whilst agreeing that it is necessary to project deep into the future for skills that would require longer periods of training, he warns that if the periods selected are too long, manpower forecasts are likely to be less accurate in view of the inability to predict effectively the possible changes in the economic, social and technological spheres.
With this caution in mind, forecasts can be made for a short-term up to two years, medium-term for periods of 3-5 years and long-term for periods longer than five years. However, a reasonable degree of accuracy can only be expected in a case of short-term forecasts up to 2 years. Even such forecast should be periodically reviewed and readjusted. In this company, there is no sophisticated or detailed manpower planning done covering the current and future needs of the entire organization. Alternatively, different units of the organization are asked to present annually their manpower requirements for the properly trained and developed personnel to take care of changing technology and the future needs of the company.
Planning Job Requirements and Descriptions
i) Job Requirements
An important step in Human resource planning process is planning job requirements. The requirements of a particular job must be clearly delineated through a little study of the duties to be performed in that job. A job analysis has first to be made to secure the relevant information about the job. Job information thus becomes the basis of many management activities. For instance, without it, recruitment would be almost impossible; training would have no goal and salary no basis. It is, therefore, necessary to collect the Important parts of a job, which identify it and distinguish it from other jobs. Job information helps in many ways and more particularly for the following:
• Adequate recruitment: The recruitment officer is required to know clearly the type of person that has to be recruited. This information could be gathered from the job description and man specification.
• Adequate training: It is necessary for the training manager to know the job’s skills, which have to be learned by the employee recruited.
• Adequate salary structures: Job descriptions are necessary for determining job-grading structures appropriately stating the job value relationship internally.
• Fair appraisals: Performance evaluations cannot be honest, unless the appraiser is clear in his mind about the job requirements.
ii) Job descriptions
Another important step in Human resource planning process is planning job description. A job description can be described as a written record of the responsibilities, duties, and conditions of the job. The methods that provide the required data are:
• Observation of employees while performing their work
• A study of specially maintained diaries
• A review of critical incidents
• Discussions with departmental head and supervisor
• Discussion with outside consultants and experts
Skill analysis is most important factor in human resources panning process. The skills required in different jobs must be analyzed regarding the job description following the job analysis. As the aspect of management skills is more difficult, it will be dealt with in some detail.
A) The Basic Managerial Skills Every Manager must thus have certain core competencies. These can be summarized as follows:
1. To plan operations, delegate duties appropriately to his subordinates, and coordinate their work on a day-to-day as well as the long-range basis to reach his unit’s objectives.
2. To appreciate the changing conditions and trends affecting the work of his group and the services it should render.
3. To select appropriate personnel for specific assignments.
4. To direct the work of his immediate subordinates, which requires the ability to understand their job thoroughly and guide them.
5. To stimulate, motivate and lead his subordinates with a view to secure their interest and willing participation towards achieving the common goals of the unit and the enterprise.
6. To supervise, follow up, and appraise the performance of his subordinates.
7. To interview assistants, obtain information from them and get them to express their interests and attitudes.
8. To keep his subordinates and superiors informed regarding the work of his unit.
9. To develop his subordinates through better efforts.
The skills required of an executive can also be classified into technical, human and conceptual as follows:
• Technical skill: To accomplish the mechanics of the particular job.
• Human skill: To build team spirit as a leader.
• Conceptual skill: To recognize the interrelationships involved in his situation to enable him to achieve maximum good for the total organization.
b) Desirable Managerial Skills
Now let us see what skills are desirable in managers for Human resource planning process. Collier views a manager as one who can perceive the enterprise in its total complexity, the ultimate values being the ability to integrate viewpoints, the capacity to adapt to change and the ability to go beyond the normal value structure (such as personal responsibility, organizational skills, desire for an objective and people-centered approach.)
The managerial abilities required can also be viewed from the differing emphasis placed on them by various schools of management thought. According to the management science group, managers are perceived as decision makers. They must, therefore, be able to use mathematical models and computers to help them arrive at optimum decisions. The behavioral scientists emphasize the leadership and motivation ability of the manager. They stress personal and interpersonal behavior. According to them, the final emphasis must be placed on the skills of a manager as a decision-maker, based on his value system. However, briefly, the skills required for successful managers can be divided into 4 types which describe below,
• Decision-making skills: While was managing; every executive makes several decisions. The effectiveness of his decision naturally depends on his mental and analytical ability. He must be able to consider the various alternative courses of action available in a problem and weigh the possible outcomes of such alternatives with a view to select the excellent choice. A manager having a mathematical background can use mathematical concepts and techniques as an aid to his decision-making activity. It is, however, possible to go overboard in the use of such quantitative techniques. It must be remembered that the decisions generally involve human beings whose attitudes cannot be easily quantified. Decisiveness is more important than a scientific approach and over-emphasis placed through a questioning attitude can lead to indecisiveness.
Leadership skills: A good manager generally delegates and gets things done through others. He must, therefore, possess leadership skills which would enable him to motivate them to do what the leader wants them to do. What is needed most is persuasiveness and vitality so that the manager can provide direction and leadership to his sub-rates even in times of difficulties.
Communication skills: As a leader, the manager’s decisions have to be communicated to his subordinates. This communication may be oral or written. In fact, an executive often unwittingly conveys through his expressions such as a frown. The ability to communicate effectively can improve the managerial and leadership skills of the individual.
Organisational and social skills: Management problems are viewed by right executives from an organizational perspective. The managers must, therefore, be able to appreciate the effect of authority, status and informal group norms on employees’ behavior.
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