Human Resource (HR) planning is imperative to an organization’s success. It serves as an analysis of the current and future needs of the organization, according to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). This process helps guide an organization in several areas, such as staffing, development, training, and benefits and compensation designs.


Staff, or personnel, planning is one of the most common activities conducted by HR departments, according to an article on It typically is comprised of using the current staff size and design to predict staffing levels for the upcoming year. HR departments may utilize a company’s strategic plan as a resource for information. For example, if an organization intends to launch a new interactive website in the following year, the HR department will budget for additional staff to build and maintain the website.

Training and Development

HR departments create training and employee development plans as well. This type of planning must be conducted in advance of the company’s needs in order to prepare for them, both from financial and resource perspectives. Training for new employees and product rollouts may be included. Teaching current employees new skills is considered an aspect of development. Organizations benefit from having streamlined and consistent training programs.

Career Development

Career development is imperative in order to prepare an organization for upcoming retirements, as well as to retain long-term employees. Companies need to have a strategic plan on how they intend to replace their management with qualified leaders. This means that current employees should have career road maps and plans that incorporate both short-term and long-term goals. For example, if an organization is grooming a top, young salesperson for the management track in five years, training should begin now. This may include time management courses, classes on how to coach others and a mentor program.


When companies foresee an upcoming need to downsize, it’s in their best interest to have their HR departments plan for it in advance to ensure that the process is smooth and orderly, and complies with all legal requirements. This type of planning also may prevent loss of knowledge and resources. Some companies begin the downsizing process by eliminating non-essential personnel. Others lay off administrative staff, but keep money-generating positions. Organizations may be hit by lawsuits and high unemployment costs if downsizing is not strategically planned.