Is your HR Planning strategic enough?

The HR Planning should be strategic, and it should reflect dramatic or mild changes in the business. It should reflect all modern trends in the industry, and it should allow the organization to focus resources on the most promising areas of the future growth. In reality, we usually take the current status of the workforce, and we just make small adjustments to keep everyone in the business happy. We do not plan strategically; we just maintain the status-quo. We construct the plan this way every year till the external environment does not push us to change our approach dramatically.

We have lost our predictable and long-term stability due the increased globalization and international competition. The external business environment changes rapidly, and it has to be reflected in the organization. No company can afford to avoid changes; it is just a beginning of a slow corporate death. All competitors will start grabbing the market share; they will introduce better products and services. They will start winning all battles. The role of Human Resources is in provoking the leadership team to take the full ownership of the urgent need to change. The HR Planning is just one small step and action point in the effort.

The workforce planning procedure needs to follow several stages. No leader has a clear idea where the organization has to focus its energy. She is not able to recognize which functions need strengthening and which managers have the overcapacity. Managers will not speak about savings when they are not directly asked to deliver workforce reduction plan. This is a key reason why the leadership team needs to go through the entire planning process. They cannot just receive and accept results prepared by the HR director.

Strategic HR Planning
Strategic HR Planning

Each strategic HR planning has to begin with the SWOT analysis of the current status of the workforce in the organization. Human Resources needs to facilitate the procedure, and the evaluation of the business has to be as accurate as possible. Everyone needs to be challenged; no one should base assumptions just on the past development. The SWOT Analysis offers a real picture of workforce allocation in the company. This is also the moment when the predictive analytics can help most. It can confirm or reject many myths in the business.

The leadership team has to explore how the HR plan fits with the requirements coming in the future. It has to make sure that all required skills and competencies will be onboard at the moment when the business needs them. The team has to make sure that all employees are at right spots and capacities are allocated to departments where they will generate the greatest value added for the company and shareholders.

The strategic HR plan needs to be confronted with the approved HR strategy. The vision of the business should not be abandoned during the first or second business planning cycle. It can be slightly adjusted, but it should not be canceled. The leadership team is the right place to have a deep-dive discussion. It is the team that forms and influences the corporate culture most. This body has to make a final decision to update the HR strategy. However, they have to provide the explanation why the update of the primary HR document is necessary.

When all previous HR planning stages are over Human Resources can prepare the tactical, operational plan for the year. It is about recruitment needs, promotions, and new training courses. This is the last step in the process, not the first one.