HR Planning in a Changing Business Environment


Human resources planning is a growing area of strategy for many larger businesses in the United States. It refers to training and managing employees in a changing workplace, developing strategies that allow for adaptability. The key goals of HR remain the same -- employee retention, satisfaction, efficiency and retraining. However, HR planning seeks to analyze new, unrecognized challenges and meet them with advanced human resource management techniques to leverage their workforce. Several challenges in the constantly changing business environment require these new methods.

Changing Generations and Labor Force

The employees that HR departments work with are changing as a demographic. More and more employees are aging, leading to a shift in incentive plans with a greater focus on wellness plans and local benefits. Fewer employees will be entering the workforce, which means a shortage of employees for entry-level jobs and a greater focus on providing benefits for these jobs to attract new workers. New workers also are requiring different training methods than the traditional text- and audio-based training used by previous generations.

Technology Shifts

Technology also frequently changes, leading to a need for a flexible HR strategy that must frequently adopt new kinds of communication. The rapid rise of social media has lead to employee communication via social websites, blogs and other online tools. HR departments also must operate in this communication arena to effectively train employees and pass along information. The workforce also is becoming much more mobile, with key systems now accessible from mobile phones. This gives employees greater flexibility in where they work from.

Changing Organizational Structure

Modern management strategies are focusing on flatter organizations with relatively few layers of management. This means that both managers and employees wear different hats based on the requirements of their positions. Jobs are becoming less rigidly defined, and the culture of many companies is becoming less formal and more focused on creativity and growing employee's innate skills. HR planning keeps these changes natural and smooth as businesses work on the transition.

HR Strategy Combination

HR planning also must deal with wider business strategies. As strategic planning becomes more and more complex, HR planning tends to join even larger plans, connected through the business. A change in production, a change in staffing and a change in the company culture may all be part of the same management system. HR departments must become used to the idea of working with other areas of the business to make these meta-strategies function correctly.

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