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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