Human resource planning is the process of evaluating the composition and content of the current workforce and forecasting future requirements. This involves analyzing internal and external factors that impact the organization’s human resources. It also requires responding to issues and taking action to close the gap between its current and future needs.

Staffing Requirements

By identifying its short-term and long-term goals and the corresponding work activities, the company can project its future human resource requirements. This includes identifying the skills, abilities and knowledge required to meet its goals. If there is an identified gap, then the organization can create action plans to recruit and retain talent. The company can implement strategies such as recruitment, training or retraining, organizational restructuring, outsourcing or succession planning.

Response to Workforce Issues

Effective HR planning allows the organization to respond to environmental factors such as legislation, changing demographics, globalization, world economy and technology. Through environmental scanning, the company can anticipate changes that will affect its workforce and plan accordingly. For example, an aging population and older workforce might lead to possible skill shortages, and a greater demand for health-care benefits and work/life balance. Failure to prepare for these challenges can impact business operations.

Continuous Evaluation

The human resource plan has measurable and assessable outcomes that make it possible to monitor progress. It usually includes milestones or benchmarks to gauge success at different stages. Metrics are essential as a form of assessment. If the future turns out to be different than anticipated, the plan must be flexible enough for the company to manage change. Ongoing and regular evaluation allows the organization to make adjustments to address immediate and long-term issues.


The human resource plan links HR management to the company’s strategic plan. It becomes the foundation not only for recruitment but also for other human resource functions such as training, leadership development, succession planning and performance management. Retention is a major issue that the organization must address by reviewing its compensation, benefits, retirement, work/life balance and wellness programs. The company must view its HR management practices in relation to operational decisions.