HRP process entails working out HR demands and identification of the sources of supply to meet these demands, yet an HRP process is a very complex and multi-step process and embraces within its folds things such as determining objectives, going through business plan, forecasting future HR requirements, manpower auditing, carrying out job analysis and preparing an HR plan taking into con­sideration both internal and external sources.

The process of human resource planning involves:-

1. Environmental Scanning 2. Business Plan 3. Forecasting Future HR Requirements 4. HR Audit and Forecasting the HR Supply 5. Job Analysis 6. Development of Plans for Action 7. Analysing Company’s Mission, Objectives

8. Studying and Analysing of Corporate Plan 9. Forecasting HR Requirement 10. Finding out Shortage/Excess of Human Resources 11. Preparing Action Plan to Deal with Surplus /Shortage of Human Resources and 12. Alteration/Modification of Corporate Plan, Strategic Approach.

HRP requires to pass through different stages/processes. There is no specific/hard and fast HRP process that every organization needs to follow while preparing manpower planning. But, some stages are definitely common to all organizations. HRP process/stage variances occur due to influence of some factors like nature of product produced / services rendered, financial health of the organization, consumer’s market, international relations, global conflicts, legislation etc.


Human Resource Planning Process (With Steps and Stages)

Human Resource Planning Process – Steps Involved in the Process of Human Resource Planning

HRP process entails working out HR demands and identification of the sources of supply to meet these demands, yet an HRP process is a very complex and multi-step process and embraces within its folds things such as determining objectives, going through business plan, forecasting future HR requirements, manpower auditing, carrying out job analysis and preparing an HR plan taking into con­sideration both internal and external sources. A brief description of all these are given further-

Process # 1. Environmental Scanning:

Environmental scanning is the first step in the process of HRP. In order to have an HR plan, the external environment which basically comprises economic factors, labour market, technological changes, demo­graphic trends, socio-cultural-political factors and so on must be thoroughly studied and closely monitored. It is essential to scan changes in the external environment and align the business of the organisation and HR plans with the environmental demands.

Laying Down Objectives of HRP:

Laying down the most common objectives of an HR plan are as follows:

1. Making correct estimates of manpower requirements – In every organisation, labour turnover, resignations, retirements, dismissals, promotions, transfers, technological changes, deaths and so on are common happenings which ultimately result in fresh demand for personnel which may not be met unless there is proper HRR

2. Making a sound recruitment and selection policy – A sound and effective HRP helps in formulating a sound recruitment and selection policy which may result in reducing the cost of recruitment and getting right type of people for all jobs.

3. Making a sound training and development policy- HRP spells out who, how and when personnel are to be trained or developed. A properly trained and or developed employee is a boon for the organisation.

4. Managing the manpower according to the requirement of the organisation – HRP helps in providing the right type of people in right number for the organisation. Thus, it does not let the organisation suffer from the evils of overstaffing or understaffing of the organisation.

Under the present labour-oriented policy of the government, it is very difficult to terminate the services of any employee even if he/she is in surplus. Therefore, it is very essential to avoid appointing any person in surplus. It is possible only through effective HRP.

5. Maintaining production level – Production is always adversely affected if some employees remain absent, or go on leave, or do not turn up on duty for one or the other reason. It has been a common observation that there is usually a difference in the number of people appointed and the number of people present on duty.

The bigger the gap between the two, the larger will be the loss to the organisation. However, this gap can be minimised through effective HRP by conducting workload analysis and workforce analysis.

6. Maintaining good human and industrial relations – HRP lays down clear-cut policies of recruitment, selection, promotion, dismissals and so on. Hence, if the HRP is effectively executed, there will be least grievances to the personnel in the organisation, and this may obviously be helpful in maintaining and developing good human and industrial relations.

7. Getting information about the manner in which existing personnel are deployed – HRP helps in getting this type of information also.

8. Making proper and effective use of existing manpower – HRP offers an inventory of the existing employees to an organisation by skill, qualifications, expertise, level, training, experience, salary and so on. It will, therefore, be possible to utilise the existing personnel more productively in relation to job requirements before going for additional manpower.

9. Spelling out both short- and long-term objectives clearly – Manpower planning spells out both short- and long-term objectives without any ambiguity to avoid any confusion.

Mello identified the following major objectives of HRP:

i. To prevent overstaffing and understaffing

ii. To ensure employee availability

iii. To ensure that the organisation is responsive to the environment

iv. To provide direction to all HR activities

v. To build line and staff partnership.

Process # 2. Business Plan:

Having determined the objectives of the organisation, the next important step in the process of HRP is to get involved in the business plan, that is, to arrive at the scale of business activity over a period of time to be able to estimate the structure and size of the organisation over a period of time. This is to be done keeping in view all the factors of internal and external environment.

Process # 3. Forecasting Future HR Requirements:

Having estimated the structure and size of the organisation over a period of time, the next exercise to be done in the HRP process is forecasting the future manpower requirement. These days, a lot of forecasting techniques, many of which are highly mathematical, statistical and sophisticated, have been developed.

But these sophisticated forecasting techniques are of greater value in the case of big organisations. In smaller organisational units, even simpler methods can serve the purpose and often may be more effective.

In order to ensure that a forecast is effective and useful, the manpower estimates should be made as follows:

i. The Functional Category:

That is, the estimates should be made category-wise depending on the tasks that have to be carried out and the special qualifications, training or experience required. It serves no purpose anticipating that the organisation will need 100 personnel during the next five years unless we know whether we need them, say in the case of a sugar factory, mechanics, foremen, engineers, pan men, chemists and so on. In other words, forecast has to be in terms of functions, departments or divisions.

ii. The Number Required:

That is, simply to know whether we shall be needing mechanics, or foremen, or engineers or all of them is not enough. We shall have to estimate the number of each category of personnel that will be required in future.

iii. The Levels at which they are Required:

Again, simply to estimate the functional categories and number of personnel required in such categories for the organisation in future is not enough. We shall have to estimate the various levels at which these will be required. Suppose, it is estimated that the organisation will need 20 engineers in the next 5 years. This alone will not do, unless we also estimate how many of them should be of junior level, middle level and senior level. Only then a fruitful action can follow.

The aforementioned estimates have to be assessed under the following heads:

A. Growth of the Establishment:

It may be due to the following reasons:

a. Increase in the demand for goods and services due to increasing population,

b. Rise in the standard of living of people causing more demand for goods and services for the existing products as also new products,

c. Rate of growth of the enterprise,

d. Competition in the market, giving rise to large-scale production for reducing the cost of production and

e. Change in production techniques/technology.

B. Turnover:

It may be of two types:

a. Predictable – It may include retirement and so on.

b. Unpredictable – It may include quits, deaths, transfers, promotions, dismissals, demotions, disabilities, accidents, resignations, lay-offs and other factors. Unpredictable turnover should be assessed on the basis of past experience and the knowledge of environment.

Techniques of Forecasting Demand for Employees:

Today, a number of techniques are available to organisations to forecast demand for manpower.

Qualitative Methods of Forecasting HR Demand:

These methods are judgemental and comprise the following:

i. The Expert Estimate:

Based on his/her experience, guts, guesses, intuition and personal assessment of available economic and labour force indicators, an expert or a penal of experts can provide the organisation with estimates of HR requirements for future.

Estimates from experts may be combined in several ways:

a. Delphi Technique:

Since an individual’s ability has limitations, the experts estimate may not be accurate. Hence, in order to overcome the limitations, organisations may use the Delphi technique which was originally developed by the RAND Corporation. As per this technique, estimates are sought from a number of individuals in an interactive manner; estimates are then revised by each individual based on the knowledge of other individuals’ estimates, and in this way, a final estimate is worked out which is expected to be more accurate as compared to a single expert estimate.

b. Nominal Group Technique (NGT):

It is another method of forecasting HR requirement. In it, after individuals have generated estimates, there is a group brainstorming session in which all the individuals who have generated estimates interact and reach a group decision. Every individual enjoys equal opportunity to express opinions, thus eliminating domination by any individual in the group decision-making.

c. Averaging:

This method involves simple averaging of forecasts made by individual experts. The method has the advantage of taking into consideration diverse viewpoints. The main shortcoming of the method is that extreme views are marked when averaged.

ii. Sales Force Estimate:

This method is usually used when new products are introduced by the organisation. In it, sales personnel estimate the number of employees required based on their estimates of the demand of the product. The method has a plus point because the sales personnel who estimate the demand are familiar with the field. However, its major shortcomings are that the estimates are subjective and judgemental and there is always a possibility of bias.

iii. Managerial Judgement:

Initial forecasts made are likely to be impacted by factors like technological and administrative changes, causing enhanced productivity or decisions made to improve the quality of output or the decision made to penetrate into new markets and so on. As such, managerial judgement will come into power play to modify the initial forecasts.

iv. Unit-Demand Forecasting:

This is a bottom-up approach because normally it is the unit manager at the departmental level or the leader of the project team or any other group of personnel who analyses person-by-person, job-by-job needs in the present as well as the future. It is then followed by improving the estimates by an HR executive responsible for forecasting the HR requirement, in consultation with unit managers.

If there is any big difference between the forecasts made if both bottom-up and top-down approaches are made use of, the managers may reconcile by averaging the two total or by making use of the Delphi technique or NGT or simply averaging.

Quantitative Methods of Forecasting HR Demand:

These methods involve the use of mathematical or statistical techniques and are as follows:

i. Trend Analysis and Projection:

This is based on past relationship between a business factor related to employment and employment level itself.

This relationship can be used in several ways as follows:

a. Simple Long-Run Trend Projection/Analysis:

This is the second top-down technique to forecast manpower requirements. It is the study of an organisations past employment levels over a period of years, say last five years or so, to forecast future manpower requirement. For example, in many organisations, sales levels are related to employment needs.

A table or a graph showing the past relationship between sales and employment can be developed which will be indicative of a trend in the past. Thus, this method extrapolates the past relationship between the volume of the business activity and employment levels into the future.

As such, the main advantage of this method is that it recognises the linkage between employment and business activity. This trend will be valuable as an initial estimate. However, employment levels may not solely depend on the passage of time. These may be affected by a number of other factors such as productivity and type of technology used.

Thus, it ignores multiplicity of factors influencing employment levels. Hence, trend projections may have to be modified accordingly. Besides, this method assumes that the volume of business activity of the organisation for the forecast period will continue at the same rate as previous years which in the real world may not happen.

b. Regression Analysis:

Regression is a statistical tool with the help of which we are in a position to estimate (or predict) the unknown values of one variable from known values of another variable. With the help of regression analysis, we are in a position to find out the average probable change in one variable given a certain amount of change in another.

ii. Simulation Models:

Simulation models use probabilities of future events to estimate future employment levels. The models make several assumptions about the future regarding both the internal and the external environment. However, it is a complicated method and involves a lot of cost.

iii. Workload Analysis:

This method makes use of information about the actual content of work based on a job analysis of the work. In it, HR requirements are based on expected output of the organisation, and productivity changes are also looked into. However, the method is a little bit difficult to apply. Besides, job analysis may also not be accurate.

iv. Markov Analysis:

This method uses historical rates of promotions, transfers and turnovers to estimate future availabilities in the workforce. Based on past probabilities, one can estimate the number of employees who will be in various positions with the organisation in future. The model gives good results in a stable environment, but normally the environment does not remain stable. Besides, the assumption of the model that the nature of jobs has not changed over time also appears to be unrealistic in the real world.

v. Ratio Analysis:

Ratio analysis is a forecasting technique for determining future manpower needs by using ratios between some causal factors (e.g., sales volume) and number of employees required. For example, suppose in an organisation a salesperson usually generates Rs.400,000 in sales and that in each of the last two years, eight salespersons were required to generate Rs.3,200,000 in sales.

If it is expected that the sales volume of the organisation in that year (i.e., third year), will be increased by 1,600,000, additional four salesperson will be needed to generate the extra sales volume. The technique works when we assume that other things like productivity will remain the same. If other factor(s) does/do not remain the same, then the estimate will have to be modified accordingly.

vi. Scatter Plot:

A scatter plot is a graphical method which is used to identify the relationship between two variables. For example, a 1,000-student school expects to become a 2,600-student school over the next four years. The principal of the school, in order to forecast the requirement of non-teaching staff for 2,600-student school, contacts the four similar schools of various sizes and gets the following figures –

Having fitted the line (see Figure 3.2), one can project how many people will be needed, given the projected volume of the organisation.

vii. Stochastic Method:

A significant statistical method as the stochastic method is, it refers to a process which develops in time, thereby suggesting that the future cannot be predicted with certainty. Only probabilities can be worked out because while projecting workforce requirements, two types of variables are present – (a) which are initiated by organisations and are usually certain and (b) which are initiated by individuals and are normally unpredictable (e.g., resignation by current employees). The stochastic method can handle both the certain and the unpredictable variables.

viii. Computerised Systems:

Computerised systems are also used to forecast manpower requirements through which the information required to develop a computerised forecast of manpower requirements is compiled by an HR specialist.

Based on typical data like labour hours to produce one unit of product and three sales projections minimum, maximum and probable for the product line in question, a typical programme generates a figure on ‘average staff levels required to meet product demands’ as well as separate forecasts for direct labour (such as assembly workers), indirect staff (such as secretaries) and exempt staff (such as secretaries). The estimate of projected productivity and sales levels so generated can be quickly translated into forecasts of manpower needs.

Factors in HR Forecasting:

The future requirements of human resources depend upon a number of factors.

The forecast of man­power depends upon the following factors:

As a matter of fact, the quantity of personnel is workforce analysis and quality of personnel is work­load analysis.

A. Workforce Analysis:

The job and manpower requirements must be quantified as well as described. In many companies, steps are taken to find replacements only after vacancies occur or are likely to occur. This method of estimat­ing a future manpower requirement is very simple and easy.

However, its use aggravates interruptions to production and tends to result in hurry and hence poorly evaluated selection of replacements. The effec­tiveness of hiring can be increased by forecasting manpower requirements of different categories of personnel—operative, technical and executives—based on the following factors –

i. The Economic Factors:

The economic forecasts relating to national economy, international economic scenario and future perspectives must be made thoroughly in order to determine future manpower requirements. If prospects of future economic situation are good, then the future sales and production prospects will also be good, resulting into more hands to obtain that level of activities.

Inflation, deflation and increases in costs of inputs and raw materials are a few examples of such economic contingencies having their influence on the short-term and long-range plans of all business organisations.

ii. Production Estimates:

Manpower requirements in some cases vary closely with fluctuations in production. Hence, forecasts of the latter are basic to estimates of the former. Production forecasts depend upon sales forecasts. Hence, sales forecasts are the basis upon which the estimates of manpower requirements are built.

Thus, how much manpower is needed in a given department of a company depends upon factory schedules which, in turn, are worked out from sales forecasts and storage policies. Most companies do not produce strictly to the sales curve. Instead, a production schedule is prepared which levels out somewhat the peaks and valleys of sales estimates.

The degree to which the production schedule is stabilised in comparison with sales curve is largely dependent upon the storability of the products and their non-susceptibility to the style factor. After factory schedules are computed, department workloads can be established. These departmental schedules provide the basis for determining future manpower needs of each department.

iii. Expansion Programmes:

If expansion programmes are on hand, then it will create more needs of different types of personnel. Therefore, such possibilities should also be taken into account while calculating future manpower requirements.

iv. Work Standards:

A change in work standards due to a negotiation between trade unions and management may also create demand for labour. For example, if standard production of 50 units per worker per day at present is reduced to 40 per worker under a settlement, then it will require proportionately more workforce than at present in order to maintain the same level of production.

v. Existing Manpower Inventory:

After making economic forecasts and production estimates, total manpower requirements may be determined keeping in view the work standards also. Now, it is necessary to ascertain how much manpower of various kinds is available to produce the output scheduled for the period of time in question. These two classes of information can be compared to compute the manpower to be added to or removed from the payroll.

It can also be put as follows:

Total manpower requirements less existing or available manpower = Manpower to be added (or to be removed from the payroll, if economic forecast is gloomy).

vi. Labour Turnover Rate:

One of the oldest devices of estimating future manpower requirements in any company is through the computation of labour turnover ratio. In as much as vacancies are created by employees leaving the company, it is wise to estimate statistically how many are likely to leave.

Thus, it may be possible to learn about the number of job vacancies, even though who specifically is/are to leave cannot be ascertained. Such estimates are best made in terms of past turnover. Such turnover rates may be calculated either by separation method, replacement approach or flux method.

But, however, knowing trends of turnover is an excellent means of approaching how many vacancies are likely to occur in the future.

vii. Retirement and Resignations:

In estimating future manpower requirement, the expected losses which are likely to occur through retirements, deaths, transfers, promotions, demotions, dismissals, disability, resignations, lay-offs and other separations should also be taken into account.

Changes in the human quality resulting from the experience gained in the jobs during the period and the training undergone also need to be considered. After making adjustments for wastages, anticipated and expected losses and separations, the real shortage or surplus may be found out.

viii. Changes in Management:

Changes in management philosophy and leadership styles and the use of mechanical technology (such as the introduction of automatic controls or the mechanisation of materials handling functions) necessitate changes in the skills of workers as well as changes in the number of employees needed. Very often, changes in the quality or quantity of productive services also require a change in the organisation structure.

B. Workload Analysis:

Workload analysis is a technical aspect of HRP. It involves the study of nature and composition of exist­ing workforce that is, auditing of human resources, study of work standards, demand analysis and so on. Auditing of existing manpower requires and initiates the preparation of a skill inventory.

A skill inven­tory contains data about each employee’s skills, abilities, work preferences and other items of informa­tion. It assists us in examining the nature and composition of existing workforce and estimating the future type of requirements of different categories of personnel.

Some organisations prepare organisation charts for it, while others compile and maintain employee information card for this purpose. For deter­mining the quality and type of personnel required, the study of work standards is essential. It is necessary to prepare a job analysis which records details of training, skills, qualifications, norms, abilities, experi­ence, responsibilities and so on, which are needed for a job.

Job analysis includes the preparation of job descriptions and job specifications. The study of work standards also removes the possibilities of under­estimation of the quality and number of employees required leading to shortfalls in performance.

As an example of factors in forecasting personnel needs, Dessler has pointed out that in a manufac­turing firm, in addition to production or sale demand, the following factors will also have to be considered –

i. Projected turnover

ii. Quality and nature of employees of the organisation

iii. Decision to upgrade the quality of products or services or to enter into new markets

iv. Technological and administrative changes

v. The financial resources available to the department

Among factors in HRP, Saiyadain has included governmental factors, social factors, economic factors and technological changes.

Process # 4. HR Audit and Forecasting the HR Supply:

Having determined the HR needs of the organisation over a period of time, the next step in the process of HRP is to audit the existing HR in the organisation. (The primary objective of auditing the existing HR is to come to know the full details of what exists in the stock and what is needed to be added to that stock.)

In other words, it gives an indication of the gap that needs to be filled in through external sources. It is, therefore, very essential that human resource information system (HRIS), which is one of the most important ingredients of the HRP process, should be very effective so that every bit of information about the manpower could be gathered.

However, for cost consideration, we can do only with selective infor­mation. For this purpose, we can prepare ‘skill inventory’ or ‘organisation charts’.

A skill inventory may contain information about each employee such as personal factors (name, age, sex, place of birth), educa­tion and training (institutions/universities attended, examinations passed with years period, type and duration of training and so on), experience and skills (job areas, job titles, field of specialisation, any other expertise, knowledge of foreign languages and so on) and any other information (existing total emoluments, scale of pay, action taken in the past, integrity, behaviour towards colleagues and boss, confidential report or performance appraisal and so on).

From the information thus collected, we should prepare a ‘manning table’, clearly indicating- (a) the number of the employees in each category in the organisation and (b) each employee’s information card or a ‘personal inventory’ classifying personnel into different groups and also relevant information about each individual worker, which can be computerised, and necessary results, especially fitness for promo­tion, obtained to be utilised at the appropriate time.

Forecasting the Supply of Human Resources:

Having forecast the HR requirements and conducting manpower audit, the next step in the process of planning is to forecast the supply of human resources.

The forecast of the supply of human resources can be discussed under following two heads:

A. Forecasting the Supply of Inside Candidates:

It is usually possible to meet, at least, a part of the demand predicted for HR requirements from internal sources. In this regard, qualifications or skill inventory can facilitate forecasting the supply of inside candidates.

Qualifications/Skills Inventories:

Many organisations maintain such inventories separately for manage­rial and non-managerial personnel. The maintenance of such inventories tell us what kinds of abilities, skills, qualifications, experience and training the employees currently have. It helps in determining if a particular skill or ability will be available when it is needed by the organisation.

Such inventories are also instrumental in helping the organisation identify the employees who need training and what type of training or who needs grooming and of what type(s) of skills need to be developed.

Skill inventories also help an organisation identify what type of skills would be needed by the current employees to replace who stand retired or fired or have resigned or if any one or more than one has/have to be relocated, whether in their home country or abroad.

The contents of the skill inventories may differ from organisa­tion to organisation and are usually tailored according to the requirements of the organisation con­cerned. Still, most such inventories contain details such as the name and designation of the employee, employee number, date of birth, date of joining, present location, job classification, educational qualifica­tions, professional qualifications, expertise, foreign language(s) known, publications including research- oriented ones, patents, performance appraisal reports, career goals and objectives, geographical preferences, if any.

The contents of the skill inventory can be categorised under relevant heads such as the summary of the skills the employee possesses at present, summary of the potential of the employee which can be tapped for future requirements and so on. However, today’s skill inventories are highly sophisticated and include information on issues such as – ‘Do workers have necessary skills for developing and introducing new and innovative products?’ or ‘Who is available to become mentor for other employ­ees?’ and so on.

The information to be included in the skill inventories can be collected through either getting the relevant ‘questionnaire’ filled in or ‘interviewing’ the personnel. The data so collected must be maintained in a planned manner and be updated monthly, bi-annually or annually according to the relevance of the same.

According to the size, status and complexity of the organisation, the data can be maintained through any of the following systems:

i. Manual Systems:

Any of the several types of manual system can be used to store data with regard to the employees’ qualifications, training undergone at the present company level, language the employee can speak and write, career preferences and so on, which can be made use of while determining the availability of current employees for filling projected openings.

ii. Personnel Replacement Charts:

These charts display the performance record of the employees and their promotability for each potential replacement for vital positions. They reflect clearly which internal employee can be promoted for which position.

iii. Position Replacement Cards:

Some companies develop position replacement cards. In this system, a card is developed for each position displaying possible replacements, current performances, potential for performance and whether any training will be required by each probable employee.

iv. Computerised Information Systems:

In case the size of the organisation is big employing hundreds or thousands of personnel, it is not possible to do with manual systems. In such cases, the data with regard to employees’ work experience, codes, formal education, foreign languages, expertise, training undergone, product knowledge, industry experiences, career and development interests, performance appraisals, relocation limits, if any, and so on are stored on disk and are utilised whenever needed.

There is no fixed limit of the data elements in HRIS which can be 100 or even more. It depends on the size and complexity of the organisation. However, adequate steps should be taken to ensure employees’ right to privacy and identity thefts. Promotions, job posting and succession planning are some of the internal sources of candidates.

B. Forecasting the Supply of External Candidates:

It is usually not always possible to get candidates through internal sources to fill up adequately the gap between the demand for and supply of human resources. Hence, the organisations have to look forward to outside candidates.

In order to forecast the supply of outside candidates, the organisations have to anticipate local market conditions, that is, what the status of local labour market and general economic conditions will be including the rate of unemployment as the later may affect the rate of supply of labour.

A lot of secondary data with regard to economic conditions are available through both government and private publications. Occupational market conditions will also have to be anticipated while making fore­casts with regard to supply of outside candidates. At times, there is shortage of certain types of technical skills, while certain skills may be available in abundance. In this regard also, forecasts are available in various publications.

Process # 5. Job Analysis:

Once manpower auditing is done and forecasting of supply of human resources has been made, the list of future vacancies over a period of time is prepared, and sources of manpower supply are identified. It is essential to prepare a job analysis. Job analysis provides information about the nature of the job (job description) and the characteristics and qualifications that-are desirable in the job holder (job specification).

The job description is a source of basic information for the HRP.

The information provided by the job description and job specification—the two ingredients of job analysis—is essential for selection, training, workload, incentives and salary administration. Job analysis has been dealt with in detail separately.

Process # 6. Development of Plans for Action:

Having analysed the demand for and supply of human capital in the stipulated future period, it is time to choose a course of action to fill up the gap between demand for and supply of human resources.

Here, there are two possibilities:

A. In Case of Shortage of Employees:

There are several options to meet the shortage of employees:

a. Regularising the part-time workers

b. Making the workers work overtime, of course, against payment and within the framework of current legislation

c. Recalling the laid-off employees

d. Using sub-contractors

e. Imparting the desired training

f. Promoting the deserving current employees

g. Using independent professionals in recruiting less skilled employees.

B. In Case Employees are in Surplus:

It has often been observed that in times of economic recession or because of economical or technological constraints, it may be unavoidable not to do away with surplus manpower.

Here also, several options are available to the employers, which are as follows:

a. Early retirement/voluntary retirement schemes

b. Lay-offs

c. Retrenchments/terminations

d. Demotions

e. Not filling positions falling vacant due to resignations, retirements and so on.

However, in our country, there are legal constraints in retrenching and laying off the employees. The employer will, therefore, have to observe necessary formalities before taking any such step. Trade unions resist retrenchment and lay-off tooth and nail. Hence, there should be proper HRP so as to enable the organisation to run smoothly.

Experience has revealed that it is always better, if it is feasible, to procure the desired manpower from within the organisation even if it involves some expenditure on the training and development of person­nel. It creates a sense of belongingness towards the organisation among the workers, and promotional opportunities serve the purpose of potential incentives and make the personnel feel involved in the affairs of the organisation.

Internal promotions are especially recommended for jobs of higher level involving great responsibilities. However, in the case of jobs of lower level, we can tap external sources as well.

Therefore, a thorough knowledge of and close liaison with the labour market are necessary requirements on the part of the HR manager because the labour market, especially in developing coun­tries like India, is usually unorganised and highly unstructured, mostly dealing in illiterate, immobile and ignorant workers, varied rate of wages for the same job, various methods of recruitment of labour and so on.

Human Resource Planning Process – Stages of Human Resource Planning

HRP requires to pass through different stages/processes. There is no specific / hard and fast HRP process that every organization needs to follow while preparing manpower planning. But, some stages are definitely common to all organizations. HRP process/ stage variances occur due to influence of some factors like nature of product produced / services rendered, financial health of the organization, consumer’s market, international relations, global conflicts, legislation etc.

The possible stages of HRP are discussed herein below:

Stage # 1. Analysing Company’s Mission, Objectives:

This is a vital step of human resource planning. What the organization is thinking about its expansion, diversification, contraction / reduction of business, what strategic approach it intends to activate, what mission it holds for growth and development- all these are basic to the ascertainment of human resource requirement, as these factors influence HRP to a great extent.

When the company decides its mission, objectives, it takes into account some external environment (viz., country’s economic policy, foreign policy, relationship with foreign countries, global economy, market conditions and potentials etc.) and also internal environment like company’s culture, milieu etc.

So, top management gives stress on PEST factors (that is assessment of political, economic, social and technological environment) and also response factors to look how the organization responds and the corporate magnets ensure through SWOT analysis (revelation of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to organization) that the mission, objectives have pragmatic relevance / approach to achievement.

Stage # 2. Studying and Analysing of Corporate Plan:

After coming to know organizational strategic objective, mission of the company HR planer studies corporate plan and starts with analysing it into segmental plans like production plan, sales plan, technological plan, financial plan etc. This analysis helps the HR planner to make effective estimate of HR requirement for different departments, sections of an organization.

Stage # 3. Forecasting HR Requirement:

In terms of corporate goals, planning process starts to find out the HR requirement at unit levels and accordingly programmes are formulated to ascertain present strength of human resources skill wise, job wise, experience wise. Job analysis is made to assess the scope of designing / redesigning the job.

In this process workload study is undertaken to see whether, services of the existing human resources are best utilized. If, they are underutilized workload ascertainment is made a fresh. Forecasting is made looking to both qualitative and quantitative aspects of human resources. So, for preparation of HR requirement estimation (demand forecasting) careful study / examination of the following areas/aspects is required to be made.

i. Annual budget

ii. Organizational plan including segmental plans

iii. In respect of different departments/sections.

iv. Number of workers-direct, indirect (skill wise, experience wise)

v. Standard hours for production of a unit

vi. Productivity

vii. Introduction of technology

viii. Product market development

ix. Production methods.

The following techniques are used to estimate demand for human resources in the organizations:

i. Managerial judgement

ii. Delphi technique

iii. Work study work load method

iv. Ratio analysis

v. Scatter plot.

Stage # 4. Supply Forecasting:

This process ascertains the sources-internal and external-to supply human resources as per requirement. For supply of skilled / experienced workforce from internal sources technique like job rotation, intra region / inter region transfer, inter departmental transfer, promotion, constant training are initiated.

The planner studies the cases of superannuation, absenteeism, sabbaticals, layoff, dismissal, resignation, death etc., while forecasting supply. If, internal supply strength is not adequate or it meets the demand for higher position, the company needs to hire at the lower level.

The supply of human resources through internal and external sources is affected by several factors. Migratory situations, number of voluntary retirees, ex- servicemen, laid off, retrenched employees, local unemployed youths, influence external labour market. HR skill inventory, employee profile, succession planning chart, gives the position of internal source of human resources.

Stage # 5. Finding out Shortage/Excess of Human Resources:

This process forecasts the balance of human resources that is, whether supply of human resources is more than the demand for human resources or vice versa. The supply and demand forecasting of human resources is considered both from qualitative and quantitative point of view that means, skill wise/grade wise human resource requirement is decided.

Stage # 6. Preparing Action Plan to Deal with Surplus/Shortage of Human Resources:

If surplus human resources are available, the planner requires to draw up a scheme to deal with the issue. It happens when some departments have excess staff / workers while other departments suffer due to understaff. In such a case, excess staff is redeployed through transfer (inter­departmental) process, but where such possibility is not present or only to some extent redeployment is possible, then problem of dealing with the remaining staff exists.

Hence, action plan is prepared to deal with the excess human resource in the following manner.

i. Staff reduction activities –

a. Identification of surplus human resources for lay off, retrenchment.

b. Introduction of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) with the offer of attractive gratuity package and other benefits so that the people at work specially surplus human resources accept VR.

ii. Granting of sabbatical leave for a specific period during which no salary/wages and other allowances can be given to sabbatical leave optees.

iii. Formulating programme for job sharing between two employees.

iv. Outplacement service – Formulation of programme for providing service to the redundant employees through the career counselling, training, guidance, enrichment of knowledge to help them in getting employment.

v. Formulating scheme for reduction of working hours and payment of wages as per reduced hours of work.

vi. Preparation of detailed procedure for banning fresh appointment in place of vacant posts arising out of retirement, resignation, dismissal, retrenchment, lay off, superannuation.

HR planner needs to prepare action plan to provide human resources where deficit is forecasted. In such eventuality, it is examined whether deficit of human resources of one department can be met up through supply from surplus departments, and if such possibility arises then suitable programme is prepared in respect of transfer, promotion, training, OD intervention and above all human resource development.

However, if HR supply from internal sources is not possible in future then fresh appointment is needed. In such case, external source for supply of right kind of people is explored, suitable measure is chosen for the job in the organization. That means recruitment process is programmed, steps for selecting the candidates are identified.

Such steps include:

i. Process for collecting information about candidates

ii. Application of Test techniques

iii. Use of experiential technique to find out the level/ extent of knowledge, competence the candidates possess.

iv. Application of behavioural techniques to measure technical skill, human skill, decision-making ability as also the perceptible areas / mind set about the prospective job, organization and their own expectation desire, need, willingness, intentions etc.

After selection process is completed measures are chosen for induction and orientation programmes.

In case of deficit or shortage of human resources Michael Armstrong (2000) has suggested that action plan should be made in the following areas:

i. An overall plan as required to deal with shortage arising if there are demographic pressures

ii. A human resource development plan

iii. A recruitment plan

iv. A retention plan

v. A plan to achieve greater flexibility

vi. A productivity plan.

Stage # 7. Alteration/Modification of Corporate Plan, Strategic Approach:

After the action plan is implemented it becomes essential to review, examine, and control such plans.

Sometime, it happens that future supply of human resources from external sources falls short of demand as forecasted by planner. HR planner suggests the organization if such eventuality arises.

i. To alter or modify the organizational plan for some period till the required manpower is available.

ii. To continue the activities in the affected department/s without taking cognizance of the forecasted man power requirement temporary.