Manpower Planning Techniques

Effective manpower planning techniques ensure a productive workforce.
Effective manpower planning techniques ensure a productive workforce. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A company that is fully staffed with capable and competent employees today cannot trust that the same will be true months or years into the future. Planning for full employment requires an ongoing assessment of internal staffing needs based on a solid understanding of the organization's goals and objectives, a review of the external hiring climate and the identification of changes that might impact the types of skills needed in the future.

Assessing Internal Staffing Needs

A solid awareness of current staffing patterns identifies staffing needs on an ongoing basis. There are a variety of inputs that HR professionals and hiring managers can review to identify areas of need. These include the number of open positions, employees nearing retirement age, turnover rates by positions or new positions identified. By developing a list of key metrics, keeping these metrics up to date and reviewing them regularly, companies identify needs as they emerge.

Understanding the Organization's Goals and Objectives

A company's strategic plan is an important input into the manpower planning process. The strategic plan gives an indication of where the company is headed. This understanding can serve as the basis for identifying future needs in terms of employee skills and capabilities. For instance, a company that presents live training programs might decide that it wishes to expand into online training. That knowledge would trigger a need for staff with experience and background in this type of program delivery.

Review of External Hiring Climate

Based on an understanding of current staffing patterns and potential needs driven by the company's strategic plan, the HR department and hiring managers will identify the need for certain types of individuals. The next step is taking a look at the external hiring climate to determine how readily available these candidates are. Availability will be based on the number of individuals with the requisite skills in the hiring area, but it also will be impacted by other organizations competing for the same skills and abilities.

Monitoring Environmental Changes

In addition to monitoring the internal environment in terms of staff capabilities and future needs for skills and talent based on the strategic plan, organizations must stay on top of external environmental changes that impact their need for talent. For instance, a slow economy might make job candidates more readily available, and at less cost. Conversely, a booming economy could make it difficult for employers to attract candidates. Industry demands for various skills, emerging technologies and shifting consumer demands also impact manpower planning efforts.

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